Martinsville, Virginia


Are You Tuff Enough?

Organizers of the Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, in partnership with Activate MHC and the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA, are pleased to announce the addition of a 5K trail run to the Memorial Day weekend festival.

The Tuff Strutter 5K Trail Run will begin at 10 a.m. May 27 at Blue Mountain Festival Grounds, the site of Rooster Walk 4, a charity festival which raises money for a college scholarship fund at Martinsville High School.

The rugged 5K course will challenge runners as they compete on the wooded trails that surround the festival venue. Steep climbs and descents will be common in this race, which will begin and finish in the festival's viewing area.

"If you like running and great music, this is the race for you,"said Johnny Buck, a co-founder of Rooster Walk. "We're excited to partner with Activate MHC and the local YMCA on the Tuff Strutter. These groups already put on a variety of great races each year. We feel like the Tuff Strutter will be unique in the regional running world and another great reason to visit Martinsville and Henry County."

Cari Zimmer, Activate MHC director, said the group had been looking to add more trail running opportunities in the area. More than 600 runners registered for the recent Martinsville Half Marathon and 5K. Coming events include the Harvest Moon Run, the Helgramite Hustle Mud Run in conjunction with Smith River Fest, the Turkey Day 5K and a New Year's Day Run complete with a refreshing lake plunge.

"Activate is working to bring a variety of race opportunities to the community and visitors. We wish to engage all levels of participants, walkers and runners alike, and encourage the pursuit of outdoor activities available in our beautiful area," said Zimmer.

The Tuff Strutter will cost $25 per runner (or $30 for those who register the day of the race) and will include a festival ticket to 11 bands playing Sunday. Registrants who buy a separate ticket to the festival will pay just $15 each to compete in the Tuff Strutter (or $20 the day of the race).

All runners will receive a commemorative Rooster Walk Tuff Strutter edition Klean Kanteen steel pint cup, be treated to an aid station on the trail and post-race food.

Awards unique to Tuff Strutter will be given to the top three overall male and female participants. Prizes will also be awarded in numerous age group categories.

"The Y is very excited to work with Activate and Rooster Walk to enhance this exciting festival," said Brad Kinkema, executive director of the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA. "The addition of the trail run brings a new element to the weekend that will hopefully help it to grow even larger. The Y is committed to healthy living, and I believe this will encourage more people in the community to get active"

Activate and the YMCA have also organized a series of free, group trail runs in May to help runners prepare for the Tuff Strutter. Group runs will be offered on May 7 at the Fieldale Trail, May 14 at Beaver Creek Reservoir, May 21 at Gravely Nature Preserve and May 23 at Blue Mountain Festival Grounds. For more information, visit

Rooster Walk remembers two late Martinsville natives, Edwin "the Rooster" Penn and Walker Shank. Proceeds from the volunteer-led festival go to the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship at Martinsville High School.

In three years, the festival has donated $15,000 to the scholarship fund at MHS.

Rooster Walk 4, scheduled for May 24-27, will feature more than 30 bands playing a variety of genres including funk, rock, bluegrass, country, blues, reggae, jazz, Americana and more. The festival is being headlined by the Pimps of Joytime, a funk band from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bassett-native Josh Shilling, who will perform with friends and members of his bluegrass band, Mountain Heart, of Nashville, Tenn.
Weekend-pass tickets to the festival will increase in price Tuesday. Tickets are available locally from Woodall's Music and Sound, as well as Binding Time Cafe. Tickets also can be purchased online at