KINGSPORT ‚¬ Eastman Road Race organizers are pleased to announce new additions to the event line-up for 2014. Events kick off tonight, Friday, September 5th, as athletes of all ages and abilities gear up for the friendly competition.

The fact that the community continues to be excited about this event after 35 years shows us that its truly worthwhile, said Brenda Fox, race coordinator. None of this would be possible without continued support from our sponsors, volunteers, and race participants.

In addition to the usual 10K, 3K runs and 3K walk, this years Race will feature a new Rolling 10K event.‚  In 2013, Race organizers and sponsor, Tele-Optics, introduced a handcycling race.‚  Handcycling is a sport that provides individuals with lower-body disabilities a way to participate in recreational cycling and racing events. Handcycles are typically built with three wheels, gears and pedals that are worked by hand.‚  This year, the team has expanded the event to include both handcycles and racing wheelchairs.

There is a real need in our region to provide sporting events for those with disabilities, said Daniel Smith.‚  Smith, who works for Tele-Optics, began racing with a handcycle after an accident that paralyzed him from the waist down.‚  The nearest events are still hours away, says Smith.‚  Its very encouraging that Eastman and Tele-Optics understand this need and are supporting this event.

In addition to adding a new event, Eastman also welcomes Blake Leeper, five-time world champion, Paralympic medalist and member of Team USA for the 2016 Paralympic Games as he kicks off the pre-race activities on Friday, Sept. 5 with the Eastman Health Fitness Youth Runs. Tagged as the American Blade Runner, Leeper is a shining example of commitment. His mantra, The only disability in life is a bad attitude, reflects his dedication to focusing on the positive.‚  Leeper is currently focusing on training for the Paralympics and will speak about his path to overcome obstacles and on the importance of physical activity and education.

Events will be held for children ages 2 through 14 years at the V.O. Dobbins field. Registration is from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and youth runs begin at 6:00 p.m..

Food City will sponsor the 10K Run, Tele-Optics will sponsor the Rolling 10K, Day & Zimmermann will sponsor the 3K Run and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will sponsor the 3K Fitness Walk.

The CIGNA Fitness Expo will also be open to the public beginning at 11:00 am on Friday and will continue to noon on Saturday.

Eastman Credit Union offers road race Community Participation Awards to encourage group participation in race events. Groups with the most participants within these four categories: schools, churches, and youth and senior organizations are awarded $5 per person, up to $500 max for their organization.

Additionally, the School Rebate Program returns to a school $1 for each student who enters the 3K Walk, 3K Run or 10K Run, with a minimum of ten participants. Last year, nearly $1,500 was awarded to local organizations and schools through the Community Participation Awards and School Rebates.

All events start and finish at the Eastman Toy F. Reid Employee Center, 400 South Wilcox Drive. No race day registration is available on Saturday. More information is available at www.eastmanroadrace.com.