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Tom Sell, Rock/Creek Race Team


Age: 46
Number of years running: 28
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Occupation: Teacher/Coach

Favorite trail race(s):
Rock/Creek StumpJump, Rock/Creek River Gorge

Favorite trails to train on:
Raccoon Mountain, Prentice Cooper, Lookout Mountain Big Daddy

Favorite trail running shoe(s):
Salomon XT Wings 2 for training, La Sportiva Crosslite for racing

Lifelong running goals:
I plan to take good care of my body in general so that I am running 30+ years from now. This includes good nutrition, weight training, and sensible cross-training approach to prolong the life of my joints. I also will give back to the sport through writing of articles, volunteering, coaching cross-country and helping other with training plans and goal setting.

I moved to Chattanooga in the fall of 1985 from Ohio as a freshman UTC wrestler. I wrestled four straight years (no red shirt year) and took a fifth year to finish my degree in Health and PE. During my years wrestling at UTC I was a 4X Southern Conference finalist (2x Champion) a 2X Southern Open Champion, a 2X NCAA qualifier and the Outstanding Wrestler in the Southern Conference and the Southern Open and Team MVP as a junior. I was nationally ranked as high as #6 in the nation and spent my junior and senior year ranked most of the time. I ended my career with 90 wins which is still #8 on the UTC all time wins list. I also was the #12 seed in the NCAA division I tournament and came away one match away from gaining All American status (top 8 in the country).

While at UTC I became interested in running and endurance athletics. I found myself competing in the off season in road races, triathlons, and any kind of endurance test.

Following UTC graduation in 1990 I landed a job teaching and coaching high school wrestling, football and track in North Georgia. After my first year out I returned to UTC while teaching and got my Masters in Health Education in 1992.

I have taught and coached for the past 20 years. After 10 years of coaching high school wrestling (2000) I stepped down because of the time constraints of raising two small kids.

I continued to coach middle school sports and in 2006 got back into high school coaching this time as Head boys and girls Cross-Country Coach at Northwest Whitfield. During the past 6 years I have been named as Chattanooga News Free Press Best of Preps Boys Coach of the year (2007) and Region 7AAAA Boys Coach of the Year (2008). I have continued to compete in almost every type of endurance race there is which included mountain biking, off road running, triathlons, adventure racing, off road triathlons, marathoning and ultra marathoning. I am currently a PE teacher at New Hope Middle School and continue to coach high school cross-country and middle school track.

2012 season summary:
2011 Rock Creek Lookout 10k – 7th Overall, 1st Masters
2012 Valentine 8K – 4th Overall, 1st Masters
Southern 6K – 15th Overall, 1st Masters
Scenic City Half Marathon – 10th Overall, 1st Age Group
Rock Creek River Gorge 10 mile – 7th Overall, 1st Masters
Oak Barrel Half Marathon – 10th Overall, 3rd Masters
Country Music Half Marathon – 56th Overall, 2nd Age group (out of 837)
Xterra Lock 4 Blast Triathlon – 21st Overall, 3rd Age Group
Xterra Panther Creek – 13th Overall, 2nd Age Group
Rock Creek Still Hollow Half – 11th Overall, 2nd Masters
Rock Creek Stump Jump 11 Mile – 5th Overall, 1st Masters
Rock Creek Lookout 10k – 7th Overall, 1st Masters

I volunteered at 5 Rock/Creek events last year.

Proudest running accomplishments:
I guess winning the Chattanooga Overall Runner of the Year twice, winning the inaugural Stump Jump 50K, winning the Stump Jump 11 mile race as well, finishing the Ironman 2x, finishing Mount Mitchell Challenge 40 mile race twice (7th overall my second time) and staying healthy and somewhat competitive over the span of 27 years makes me proud.

Planned races for 2013:
I am starting out my race season with the Mount Mitchell Challenge 40 mile race on February 23rd. I am planning on doing all the races on the Rock Creek Series and my focus this year is on the longer distances. I also plan to throw in a few Xterra off-road triathlons, a couple of road half marathons and whatever else looks like a fun race and event.