Where to Start? Knoxville Marathon!

Starting line for the Knoxville Marathon at the World’s Fair Park, April 2011

It was a jam-packed weekend in downtown Knoxville. A weekend like this one makes blogging difficult in a good way: Where to start? Chronologically, it would be First Friday – and I’ve got some stories there. Typically I might cut right to the music: Rhythm and Blooms ran all weekend. Instead, I’ll defer those and start with the Knoxville Marathon.

Some folks were all about the style, Knoxville Marathon, April 2011

“Am I crazy? What have I done?”

I caught little bits of it as the morning passed and the runners wound their way through downtown and surrounding areas. The starting line was filled with excitement as the runners anticipated the big moment. Some runners clearly felt the adrenaline flow, while others seemed worried that they might throw up before they started. Some were dressed festively for the shorter runs, but mostly it was about the business. The national anthem was sung beautifully and the starting gun sounded, first for the hand cyclists and next for the runners.

Jynocel Basweti, Second Place Finisher Knoxville Marathon, April 2011

Knoxville’s Stewart Ellington, Fourth Place Finisher, Knoxville Marathon

I checked back in a while later, but I just missed the eventual winner, David Kellum. I did get a photograph of Jynocel Basweti who took second and Knoxville’s own Stewart Ellington who finished fourth.

Runners passing through Market Square, Encouragement Girl on left

I have no idea what the sign meant, but she was enthusiastic.

There were a few encouragers along the way. A certain group of downtowners held a marathon party in a building at the corner of Church and Market. By the second time I passed them I had to encourage them to encourage the runners as the party beverages seemed to be taking most of their concentration by that time. I suspect you can read about their delightful party on Blue Streak.

This musician performed for runners as they passed the Market Square Stage

Water Volunteers, ready and waiting at Market Square

From there I took various pictures of the runners on Market, in Market Square and on Gay Street. The lovely encourager on Market Square had planned to run, but was forced by injury to cheer the others. It was striking how many volunteers are required to make something this large work. From the directors down to the people at corners telling runners where to turn, police officers, emergency medical professionals, people at the water tables and on it goes.

They mugged it up and then said, “Wait, that’s not him!”

Having fun later in the morning, Knoxville Marathon, April 2011

Inspiration filled the air. I saw an old friend who ran the marathon with her husband. I talked to a family waiting on their mother to complete the marathon. As the morning wore on, the later finishers seemed to be having more fun than the competitive early finishers. It made me consider: Should I lace up the old sneakers and see what this tired old body could do? Back at the condo a cup of coffee or two later better judgement settled in and I decided it’s probably best that I leave the heavy lifting to the truly dedicated. Here’s to you guys!

Marathoners cross Market Square, Knoxville Marathon 2011