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The Thermal Belt Rail Trail’s First Ever Amazing Race

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

A Family-Friendly, Team-Building Competition is Coming to the TBRT this September

Rutherford County, NC - July 15, 2023: An exciting new event is coming to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail on September 9th, 2023. The Rutherford Railroad Development Corporation (RRDC) is hosting the first ever TBRT Amazing Race, a team-based competition and fundraiser open to the public. This event is in celebration of North Carolina’s Year of the Trail and will occur alongside Forest City’s annual health and wellness focused Movement Fest. Participants local and visiting are encouraged to participate and celebrate the wonderful community asset that is the TBRT.

“On behalf of Rutherford Railroad Development Corporation, we are very excited to host the TRBT Amazing Race to showcase the Thermal Belt as we celebrate the Year of the Trail. The TBRT Amazing Race will provide an opportunity for families and teams to explore more of this wonderful trail and learn from our wonderful community partners,” says Doug Barrick, President of the RRDC.

The race will take place along an eight-mile section of the rail trail, beginning and ending at Forest City’s Park Square trail access point. Teams of four will be challenged throughout a variety of stations, each with a different sponsoring organization. The participating sponsors are North Carolina State Parks, RHI Legacy Foundation, Rutherford Bound, Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority, Rutherford Outdoor Coalition, and the Town of Spindale’s Centennial Celebration Committee. Each station’s challenge is themed to be relevant to their organization’s mission. These challenges will remain top secret until the day of the race.

Teams of four will race from station to station, only receiving their next clue once they have completed a challenge. The competition will test competitors' wits, know-how and team-building skills, all while providing a good workout. Ages 10 and up are eligible to participate.

The North Carolina House of Representatives declared 2023 as the Year of the Trail with House Bill 554. The intention is to encourage North Carolinians to use their local and regional trail networks and to celebrate all of the wonderful trails in the Great Trails State. The TBRT Amazing Race was created in honor and celebration of the Year of the Trail.

The TBRT is a beloved local resource that represents a sense of community pride and connection. The 12-ft-wide, now paved corridor was once a railway during the era of Rutherford County’s booming textile industry. The corridor has now come back to life as the rail trail, threading through the towns of Gilkey, Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City and sewing together a larger community. Locals can be seen on the rail trail bicycling, running, walking their dogs and even using the rail trail as a way to commute. The TBRT also attracts tourists from all over the country, bringing more customers to local shops. The Amazing Race is intended to celebrate not only the TBRT itself, but the surrounding area and community.

The TBRT Amazing Race is also a fundraiser, and sponsorships are still needed. All funds raised will go to service, maintain, and expand the rail trail. If you are interested in supporting the TBRT Amazing Race and the rail trail, visit or call 828.278.7840.

Participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt, team bandana, and a goodie bag. Registration is $25/person, or $100/team. Awards and recognition will be given at the conclusion of the event at approximately 1:30pm on Forest City’s Pavilion on Park Square stage.

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