CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The 24th running of the BlueCross Riverbend Run & Walk will be held Saturday, June 17, 2006, and for the first time will include a 10K run and 5K walk, as well as the traditional 5K run and 1-mile fun walk. The additions seek to lure serious athletes for the 10K run and also casual fitness walkers for the 5K walk.

“The BlueCross Riverbend Run & Walk gets better every year. Adding the 10K race really appeals to a new caliber of runner,” said Donna Dravland, Chattanooga Track Club president.

“The Chattanooga Track Club is very pleased to present this event along with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Friends of the Festival. Both are excellent partners and help make the event fun for everyone,” Dravland said.

All of the races will start and end near the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Building, known as the Gold Building, at 801 Pine Street, in downtown Chattanooga. The races begin at 8 a.m.

“Runners and walkers really seem to enjoy the scenic downtown course. The expanded 10K race gives runners the opportunity to run along the Riverwalk, which is a beautiful addition to Chattanooga and our event,” said Rita Fanning, race director. Both the 5K and the 10K race are certified by USA Track and Field and coordinated by the Chattanooga Track Club.

“BlueCross has been the title sponsor of the BlueCross Riverbend Run & Walk since it first began 24 years ago. Our company is committed to helping Tennessean’s improve their health, and this event is one that almost everyone - no matter their age or fitness level - can participate in, “said Emily Dockery, project manager for sponsorships at BlueCross.

“Runners come back year after year and now we have something to offer fitness walkers with the addition of the 5K walk. The 1-mile fun run and walk appeals to families with small children, and those just starting a running routine,” Dockery said.

The 10K and 5K runs offer cash awards ($100 first place overall male and female, $50 first place Masters--40 & over--overall male and female). There are also awards for age category winners.

Runners can register at the BlueCross tent during the Riverbend Festival on the Aquarium plaza. Registrants do not have to enter the Riverbend Festival to access the tent. Entrants may register the morning of the race at the Gold Building downtown starting at 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.