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.

QR Codes Invade Downtown Knoxville

Urban Toddler and Urban Woman with “Day at the Beach”

I haven’t found the proper time to explore the various sculptures placed downtown this Spring as part of the Art in Public Spaces. In a very cool move, the Dogwood Arts Committee decided the sculptures would be placed for a year only to be replaced, presumably by next year’s works. I love this because it keeps art downtown while keeping it fresh. My favorite sculpture from last year, “Flow Mojo” did survive (at the transportation center), but most were moved out after a few months.

This year’s sculptures have been given a bit of an upgrade in another way: QR codes have been added to markers beside each one. If you download a simple app to your smart phone, you can read the code and get a cool description of the work of art along with other information about the artist’s concept, pricing and contact information. It includes the option of voting for the “Best in Show,” though I believe that voting ended a few months ago. If you want to try it out, you can click the picture below to enlarge it, download the app to your phone and scan the code in the picture.


QR Code for “Day at the Beach,” Downtown Knoxville

 Also included is a “map” link which shows you how to navigate to the other works downtown. This portion is fascinating because it makes me think of the new signage being planned for the city. It would be so simple to include these codes on signs labeled “Where Can I Eat?” or “How Do I Get to the River?” or “What Live Music is Available Tonight in the City?” which would be so useful for our out-of-town guests and for some residents, as well. It seems like a no-brainer.

Imagine QR codes applied to the various walking tours downtown. The History of Country Music Walking Tour could include the standard information along with links to recordings of the actual music being discussed. What if we had QR codes on the corners of buildings giving the history of the building? Maybe we would grow to love our buildings enough that we wouldn’t want to tear them down. Not that we would consider that anymore, of course, but you get my drift.


“Day at the Beach” by Wayne Trapp, Krutch Park, Knoxville

I spotted another cool use, as well. I found a downtown building which is for sale and wondered what it might look like inside. I noticed a realty flier in the window and stepped up to have a look. In addition to the information you might expect, it contained a QR code which, when scanned, takes the smart phone to a website that offers a tour of the inside.
I’m not usually an early adopter of various bits of technology, though I’m not particularly technology averse and I realize this is not new technology to those of you who are into it to a greater degree, but this could really be an amazing technology.

What other uses can you imagine in the city? Leave a comment with your ideas. In the meantime, get out into Krutch Park or onto Gay Street or the World’s Fair Park and begin exploring some great works of art aided by a cool new technology.

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