April 13, 2012

Knoxville Half Marathon–Half #2

April 13, 2012

After finishing my first half marathon last fall I knew immediately I wanted to do another!  I did not think that I would be doing another five months from then, but when my girlfriend Christine said she wanted to do the Knoxville Half I knew I wanted to run it with her! 

Can you tell we were excited!?


The most appealing aspect of this event is the finish.  You run inside Neyland stadium and finish on the 50 yard line.  For a Vols fan who is also a runner anything much more exciting!

The course starts at the famous Worlds Fair Park in downtown Knoxville.  This is the location of the 1982 World’s Fair.  The start was so much fun because a band was playing “Rocky Top” right past the starting line … in unison (sorta … ha ha) the 1700+ marathon/half marathon runners sang “Good ole Rocky Top! Whoooo! Rocky Top Tennessee”.  It was an exhilarating way to start my 13.1 mile journey.

Knoxville Half Course Map

The course is known to be rough and hilly!  I was fortunate enough to run eight miles of the course about halfway through my training.  I was not super familiar with the area I ran so it was a great way to prepare for the race.  What most people consider to be the most brutal part of of the race is the crazy hill at mile seven!  My guess is the hill is close to .40 of a mile and it is super steep!  As brutal as the hill is, this was one of my favorite parts of the course.  For one I was ready for it because I had ran it once before – I sort of knew what to expect… so once I reach the bottom of the hill I was pumped – the residence of Noelton Hill were all out in full swing cheering you on with a DJ pumping music as loud as he possibly could!  I ran that entire hill without looking back!  Bam!

This was the biggest race I have eve ran.  I really enjoyed the constant company of other runners.  Listening to random conversations kept me entertained and the occasional guy in the bushes offered a good laugh.  I generally run with one ear bud in – when I need that extra ump I usually put in the second … so around mile nine I popped in the second ear bud and started really listening to my playlist … it did not last long though.  I missed hearing all the sounds of the race so I took out the second ear bud and ran totally in the moment. 

Before I knew it I was at mile 10 and my knees were not even stiff.  It was not until the NASTY hill at mile eleven that I hit a wall – I mean seriously!… who puts a hill like that at mile 11 of a 13 mile race!?  For me this was the toughest part of the race.  In no time though the opening to Neyland Stadium was in sight and a burst of energy came over me… I ran my heart out those last 50 yards.


Chris did a great job of getting pictures at the finish! 


My time was about ten minutes slower than what I wanted, but I had been sick for two weeks so by the time race day was here I was simply happy to finish.  I can say now without hesitation that this will be a race I do every year!  Hopefully next year Chris will join me!


If you live close and you love to run put the Knoxville Half (or Marathon or even 5k) on your calendar for next April.  You will not be disappointed!

Go Vols!!

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