The Chattanooga Ironman race held on Sunday, Sept. 28, was met with excitement and support, but also road vandals who spread oil and tacks along portions of the course through Walker County.

According to Walker County fire chief Randy Camp, the oil and tacks were spread along 5947 West Cove Road and north of Tatum Road along West Cove Road.

This behavior, Camp said, is criminal and the Walker County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the matter.

Camp said the vandals spread the tacks and oil sometime prior to 7:15 a.m. Sunday, when Walker County Emergency Rescue noticed the situation and had to act fast to clean up the mess before the athletes made their way along the cove area on their bicycles, which were already on their way.

More than 200 pounds of absorbent, Camp said, was used to absorb the five gallons of black burnt motor oil that was poured along the highway and tacks were being removed from the road as well.

The sheriff’s department, Camp said, placed cones along the area to warn the bikers of the road hazard.

Vehicles traveling down the road during the race added to the spread of the road hazard and this placed those pedestrians at risk, Camp said.

“It’s mischievous,” Camp said. “It could have killed someone.”

Camp said the person(s) responsible did this act with the intent to hurt someone.

“It’s downright mean and definitely criminal,” Camp said.

Camp said the intentional road hazard could have not only caused harm to one of the bikers, but a pedestrian traveling along the highway as well.

The potential the vandalism could have caused could have been life-threatening, Camp said.

“What if it was a loved one,” Camp said. “To me, that is what is really sad.”

The Walker County Sheriff's Department is deligently investigating the case

Anyone with information is asked to contact Maj. Mike Freeman at 706-638-1909 ext. 224, or submit an anonymous tip at walkerso.com, or contact the department through its Facebook page.