Knoxville Marathon 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

It’s hard to know at the end of this week whether I should continue recounting last weekend or move the focus to the upcoming weekend. I’ll go with last weekend, but I must mention that this weekend is likely the biggest of the Dogwood Arts Festival, with the Arts and Crafts Festival on Market Square and throughout Krutch Park. The artisan works are phenomenal and the food tent, in which chefs prepare dishes with wine pairings, is one of my favorite single events of the year.

Mayor Rogero, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Mayor Rogero, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

American Flag on Clinch Avenue, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

American Flag on Clinch Avenue, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Arm Cyclists, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Arm Cyclists, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Still, I must give a nod to last weekend’s Knoxville Marathon which drew several thousand people. The race has grown to include a 5K, Half-Marathon, Marathon and Marathon Relay. Urban Son-in-Law backed off to the half-marathon this year and many Urban Friends ran various other races. I think one reason for the massive crowds last weekend was the marathon, as a number of people came in from out of town or simply stayed downtown to enjoy the other events going on.

Health and Fitness Expo, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Health and Fitness Expo, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Health and Fitness Expo, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Health and Fitness Expo, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Arm Cyclists2, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Arm Cyclists, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Arm Cyclists3, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Arm Cyclists, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

I love the fact that a fitness-based event has become so big in the city. It also works beautifully to have so many great activities downtown to greet any out-of-town visitors. There is no way someone visited the city last weekend, encountered the beautiful weather, pianos on the square, Chalk Walk, First Friday, Rhythm and Blooms and came away with anything other than a very positive impression of what is happening here. They also spent time and money in the Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday.

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Runner, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Runner, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

Knoxville Marathon Start, April 2013

The starting line and staging area always attract me. Nerves jangle about at every turn, runners giddy with excitement warm up maybe a bit too much. Proud families wish their loved ones well. The mayor spoke at this year’s opening and the national anthem makes any sporting fan’s blood reach a quick boil of anticipation. Some are there to win, others to have fun and others simply to finish. Music pounds from a PA system as it will throughout the race as live bands play for the runners.

Entertainment on Market Square, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Entertainment on Market Square, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

John D. Cable and the Empty Bottle Band, Clinch and Locust, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

John D. Cable and the Empty Bottle Band, Clinch and Locust, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

I photographed eventual winner Wojciech Kopec (2:22:15) as he left the start line (red jersey above, number 2), but missed him at the twenty-five mile mark. I did catch Edward Tabut passing the UT Conference Center, heading into the final stretch. He was about three minutes behind first place. He also nearly left the course by not turning onto Locust, but a policeman yelled, pointed and Edward corrected his course.

Second Place Runner (No. 4), Mile Tweny-five, Knoxville Marathon 2013

Second Place Runner (No. 4), Edward Tabut, Mile Tweny-five, Knoxville Marathon 2013

Third Place Runner, Mile Twenty-four, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Third Place Runner, Bryan Morseman, Mile Twenty-four, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Fourth Place Runner, Mile Twenty-Three, Knoxville Marathon 2013

Fourth Place Runner, Stewart Ellington, Mile Twenty-Three, Knoxville Marathon 2013

Fifth Place Runner, Mile Twenty-four, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Fifth Place Runner, Abraham Kogo, Mile Twenty-four, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

About four minutes behind him was Bryan Moresman in third and I really felt for the next two guys as I photographed them leaving Market Square. They ran within steps of each other around the twenty-four mile mark and clearly, they would battle to the finish line. In the end, while Stewart Ellington (No. 6) lead by a few yards at that point, Abraham Kogo (No. 3) would pass him in the end to win fourth place. Two seconds separated them at the finish line. You can find complete results here.

Half-Marathon Medal, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Half-Marathon Medal, Knoxville Marathon, April 2013

Others would pass through downtown on into the afternoon. In fact, Urban Son-in-Law spotted a couple going through around 4:00, well after the official times have stopped. It reminds me of Cake’s awesome song, “The Distance.” All that matters at that point is finishing. And whether anyone else knows or acknowledges the fact, you know. It has to feel good. I never made it to the complete marathon and I admire those who do.

Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern coming to 409 Gay Street!

Matt and Anne outside the future site of Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern

Husband and wife team Matt Pacetti and Anne Ford are ready to announce something that has been in the works for quite some time: They will manage and co-own (with several other investors) Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern at 409 S. Gay Street, which is next door to Downtown Wine. That makes it a short move for Matt who has been a well-informed and welcoming face at Downtown Wine since its inception. Anne, who was featured on this blog recently, will move from her long-term post at Bliss Home.

Plans are still taking shape, but some things are well in focus and preparations are being made for a spot unlike any other downtown. Matt says the name of the tavern will likely be the only tip of the hat to Cormac McCarthy, with the inside being “rustic,” Matt said, “but with lean modern lines.” The bar is being lovingly built by John Phillips, who works at Morelock Music, from boards which had to be removed from the floor to build out the restroom. It promises to be beautiful.

409 Gay Street: Interior space under construction 

As for the beer plans, Matt said, the tavern will serve, “craft beers with a focus on high gravity beers.” Readers of this blog know I’m no expert on hops, so I asked what that meant. It means the beer has a higher alcohol content than other beers and most places in Knoxville are not allowed to serve it as it requires a different license. The emphasis will be on enjoying a quiet brew with friends who appreciate specialty beers. A great block that also includes Yee Haw Wine and Morelock Music has just gotten better.

The bar, in addition to a great variety of specialty beers, will  be fully stocked and also will offer wines, which one might suspect will also  be excellent given Matt’s knowledge and association with Downtown Wine. Helping out with plans for the beer and perhaps serving some of it up will be one of the most knowledgeable people in Knoxville as far as specialty beers go: Ratchet. He has a post up on his blog Ratchet Brews about the plans.

Matt and Anne

Also offered will be light foods and, while the menu is far from set, hummus, cheese plates, meat plates and soups are all possibilities. Smoking will not be allowed inside, but outside may have a spot for those who need to step out for a minute. Up to ninety patrons will be able to enjoy the inside seating and Matt noted that the tavern will include, “as much outdoor seating as possible.”

Plans call for an opening the last weekend of April or soon thereafter, assuming all goes well. Sounds like a great bet for a stop on First Friday in May. And like I said in the previous post about Anne – It’s the people who make a place and these are two of the warmest human beings in the city. Stop by and see for yourself.

The quote in yesterday’s tease blog was, of course, from Suttee by Cormac McCarthy. If you haven’t read it, stop by Union Avenue Books and buy a copy. It’s possibly the best book ever written with Knoxville as a setting. Reading it will give you a spring in your step every time you enter Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, just to know you won’t have to drink quite like old Sut:

     “Where’s the whiskey?
     Here ye go. Get ye a drink, Bud.
     What is it?
     Early Times. Best little old drink in the world. Get ye a drink, Sut.
     Suttree held it to the light. Small twigs, debris, matter coiled in the oily liquid. He shook it. Smoke rose from the yellow floor of the bottle. Shit almighty, he said.
     Best little old drink in the world, sang out J-Bone. Have a drink, Bud.
     He unthreaded the drink, sniffed, shivered and drank.”