The Sixth Annual, 26.2 mile, Mountain Man Memorial March is a tribute to the men and women that serve in our country’s armed forces. This event honors First Lieutenant Frank Walkup, a UT Alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2007 while serving our country. This event is inspired by the Bataan Memorial Death March that is staged in White Sands, NM each year. The University of Tennessee Army ROTC started the event to show its admiration and appreciation of our armed services while walking a mile, 26.2 of them in this case, in their boots. Thus the motto of the event, “Honor through actions.”
The march will begin at 9am Saturday, April 20 in downtown Gatlinburg in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and proceed up Highway 321 toward Pittman Center. Opening ceremonies commence at 8:30am.
The course ranges from highway to rural roads from rugged terrain to mountain slopes. There are three entry categories:military heavy, military light and civilian. The entry fee is $50 per person or $200 per five-person team.The entry fee covers a light breakfast, snack food and water along the route at any of the 12 water points, T-shirt, BBQ meal at the finish line and custom-made awards from the Gatlinburg area. Proceeds from the event go to the Ranger Company, devised in 1962, to provide better training for Cadets who may be deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.A portion of the events will go toward the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund in the name of First Lieutenant Walkup.
Frank B. Walkup IV followed in his father’s footsteps and chose the army for service to his country. First Lieutenant Walkup was raised in Woodbury, TN and attended the University of Tennessee. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry. Frank graduated from Airborne, Air Assault & Ranger School and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Summer of 2006 saw Frank deployed to Iraq as a platoon leader. On June 16th, 2007 he was killed in Rashaad, Iraq by an IED. Frank was survived by his family and his college sweetheart Sabita Walkup.
Come out, support the troops and give to a good cause. It is very rare that you get to see a marathon in the Smokies. It is even rarer to see it done military style with 35 pound packs.
For more information visit www.mountainmanmemorialmarch.com or call (865) 974-5371.