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Yarrington gives back to Lake Junaluska


 Dr. Eric Yarrington is no stranger to giving back. As the co-founder and president of a charity run himself, Yarrington knows how rewarding participating in a worthwhile event can be. This knowledge drives him as he prepares to compete in the Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk at Lake Junaluska on March 26.

Yarrington has run in and been a sponsor of the Friends of the Lake 5K since it began. Not only has the Friends of the Lake 5K allowed him to support Lake Junaluska’s grounds and recreation opportunities, the race has provided time for Yarrington and his oldest daughter, Isabelle, to run together.

“Last year, we were almost to the walking bridge when she started to get a stomach cramp, so we were taking it slow,” Yarrington recalled with a chuckle. “But once the finish line came into view, she took off. I had trouble keeping up with her.”

Having lived in the area since 1997, Yarrington and his family have explored the grounds of Lake Junaluska for almost two decades. Even after moving from their home at Lake Junaluska to the Crabtree area, they continue to bring their family to walk the trail and enjoy the playground.

“It was an easy decision to participate in and sponsor the race because both are simple ways to give back. I love running around the lake, and the fact that we can do that as a member of the public here is unique,” said Yarrington. “In my opinion, there’s not a nicer place to run a 5K in the area. It is a well-run event, and it’s special knowing that the money raised goes directly to support the lake.”

Lake Junaluska’s Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk will be Saturday, March 26 at 9 a.m. The course begins at the Nanci Weldon Gym and will take participants on a route that showcases the beauty of Lake Junaluska’s grounds.

Register by March 11 to receive a free t-shirt and discounted registration online at, at the Bethea Welcome Center, or by calling 828-454-6680.

All proceeds go toward the annual maintenance and improvement of the walking trail and other recreation opportunities at Lake Junaluska. The annual cost of maintaining the grounds and recreation facilities is more than $250,000. For more information about the Friends of the Lake visit

Sponsors of The Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk include The Smoky Mountain News, The Mountaineer, Sheppard Insurance Group, Wells Fargo, Champion Supply, RCF Construction Company, Clark & Leatherwood, Inc., Haywood Builders Supply, Haywood Ace Hardware, Melrose Law PLLC, Yarrington Physical Therapy, Champion Credit Union, Mountain Awards, US Foods, Coffee Cup Café, Cogburn, Teague, Van Praag, and Deaton, DDS, and Forte Photography.

The Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk kicks off Lake Junaluska’s Easter weekend activities. Following the race, the Kids Fun Run will be held at 10 a.m. Easter egg hunts for children ages 1-12 will begin at 11:30 a.m. near Stuart Auditorium. Lake Junaluska’s Easter sunrise service will be held Sunday, March 27 at 7 a.m. at the Amphitheater near the Cross, followed by breakfast at the Lambuth Inn. Weekend activities will conclude with Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church’s annual Easter service at 10:30 a.m. in Stuart Auditorium, followed by Lake Junaluska’s Easter buffet in The Terrace. For a full schedule of Easter activities, visit

Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through the renewal of soul, mind and body. To learn more about Lake Junaluska, visit .


Stephanie Drum
Lake Junaluska