Who’s Idea Was This Anyway?

Jim Brendle – Race Director 

Jim grew up running in the woods of North Carolina, and he quickly fell in love with the wild places he explored as a kid. After running the Hood to Coast in Oregon, he was inspired to create a relay that would share the places that meant so much to him growing up. The first Smoky Mountain Relay happened in April of 2009, and it has been faithfully produced ever since.
Jim is the owner of Sourwood Running which created The Smoky Mountain Relay in Western North Carolina and currently manages The Wild Rogue Relay in Southern Oregon. Jim has participated in numerous marathons and relays across the country and has a real passion for the overnight relay. Jim moved to the Rogue Valley in 1988 to work as a Pharmaceutical Representative.

The Kick It Events Team

In 2019, Kick It Event Management, owned by Leslie and Tim Grotenhuis, took over some aspects of the Smoky Mountain Relay and are thrilled to be working with Jim Brendle and Sourwood running for the next few years to ensure a smooth transition into owning this event. 
Kick It Events is an Asheville, NC based event management company which owns classic area events such at the Thomas Wolfe 8k, the Asheville Independence Day 5k and the Bold Rock Half Marathon.  We also race direct the Asheville Hot Chocolate Races, Catawba White Zombie 5k and the Super Hero 5k/ Super Villain 10k.
Rhianna Scott joined our team in 2018 and has helped us grow.


Counting down the minutes until we see you again!

Big planning for 2022!



“This was my first (of hopefully many) years running the SMR. It was fantastic! It was a breathtakingly gorgeous course, well marked and well organized. What a great weekend – spending time running and hanging out with awesome folks!!” – Emily J.

“This is a super fun relay through some of the most beautiful areas in the Southeast.

You like hills? you’ll love the SMR!!” – John D.

“This race is one that I HAVE to run every year! Beautiful scenery, tough course, wonderful atmosphere. Our team starts talking about the next one as soon as we finish!” – Matt R.

“From marathons to Ironman triathlons, SMR was the most fun endurance event I’ve ever done – and the hardest.  Run the steepest, longest hill you can find. They run it 10 more times. This will be fair training.

To the race director – BRAVO on creating the course. I can’t begin to imagine how you put this crucible together but it provide some incredible views during a majority of the race. Such a well organize and well run event.” ~ Jeremiah C

“Fantastic event. If you have a cool team to run this with it will be worth the training and time you put in. There are some super tough legs on it. The smokies are no joke.” ~ Ethan S

“SMR newbies with a team comprised of members from three states! Truly an epic adventure.

Just one tip, run lots of uphill training miles, and then run some more. Amazing!!!” ~ Ian M

“This race is absolutely amazing.

The course takes you through some of the most beautiful areas in western NC and will test even your strongest runners!

The spirit of friendship and community will keep you going.” ~ Caroline L

Follow us on Facebook