Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012 Starting Line

This weekend saw the biggest and best Knoxville Marathon in its history. Race weekend actually included a child’s race on Saturday and a marathon, half-marathon, marathon-relay and 5K on Sunday. It’s a large task to take care of that many races at once and the city was made proud with a beautifully executed effort. This year’s race boasted 7,500 runners, up from 6,700 last year.

Alison and Urban Son-in-Law before 26.2 miles

This race held a more personal interest for our family as Urban-Son-in-Law and his good friend Alison registered for the full marathon. It made for a very interesting day and it made the entire affair different for our family, this year.

For downtown, it was clear on Friday that runners had taken to the streets of downtown. I’m betting they liked what they saw and we’ll get some civic mileage from the event. I can’t imagine why we would not make this event as much a national event as possible. It has to generate significant dollars and draw an audience we would love to have vacation in our city.

Race morning for us started at 5:45 AM when Urban Son-in-Law, Urban Daughter and Urban Toddler Arrived. They were accompanied by Urban Son-in-Law’s parents and we were soon joined by Alison, her father and family friend, Shaft.

Knoxville Marathon 2012, Fog at the Starting Line

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Very Cool Vintage World’s Fair Shirt

Knoxville Marathon 2012, Pre-race stretching

Sunsphere in the Fog, Knoxville Marathon 2012

Around 7:00, the entourage walked to the starting line and while two in our party were pretty nervous, the rest of us enjoyed the great festive atmosphere with the music playing and 7,000 athletes preparing to either test themselves or go for a routine run. We saw both. My favorite find was a gentleman from Michigan, I believe, who had selected an original World’s Fair shirt he’d saved all these years for his race shirt. The entire crowd was engulfed in a pretty serious fog that would burn off soon enough.

They did the work – we ate the lard

After the starting gun, the slackers among us returned to our downtown home where we enjoyed cage-free eggs, homemade biscuits and Three Bears Coffee from Just Ripe, Benton’s bacon and ribbon cane syrup from Mobile, Alabama. Mix in some delightful eclairs and you have a recipe for a mid-morning nap. We made sure to balance out the healthy living on display elsewhere in the city.

Moxley-Carmichael Party – Hey Gay!

Amazing Arm-racer, Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012, Entertainment was placed throughout the course

With no time for a nap, we walked to Gay Street where we saw the first two runners to reach the 25 mile mark. I’m not sure they were the first and second place finishers, but they were running a faster pace after twenty-five miles than I could run a hundred yards.

Alison, Mile 12, Knoxville Marathon

Urban Son-in-Law, Mile 12, Knoxville Marathon

From there we rushed to the northern exit of the World’s Fair site and caught Urban Son-in-Law and Alison as they emerged onto Broadway. Next, it was a  walk down Jackson to the Old City where we waited for nearly an hour and enjoyed watching and cheering other runners as they passed.

Shy sign-holder pulling for Mom, Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Knoxville Marathon 2012

Urban Toddler was a great encourager, but eventually got bored and shadow-danced. Shaft couldn’t resist and we lost them both for a while.

Urban Toddler and Urban Woman Cheer

Uh Oh, Shadow Dancing Time

Urban Toddler and Shaft do the Urban Shadow Dance

Eventually our duo arrived, looking a bit more worn, but trudging forward nonetheless. Urban Daughter and Urban Toddler paced Urban Son-in-Law for a  bit and we sent the two ahead with a little boost. Apparently, what our boost gave them, they lost as they crossed the South Knoxville Bridge and approached mile twenty. The last six were the hardest.

The Urban Family that Runs together . . .

No time for a high-five, Dad, I’m pacing, here

Alison smiles at 18 miles!

After seeing them through the Old City, we walked to Neyland Stadium where we waited for a long time under a, thankfully, slightly cloudy sky. It wasn’t a cool day for the runners, but it certainly could have been much hotter. As runners crossed the finish line some headed straight for medical attention, some did a cartwheel and others acted as if it was no big deal. We learned some had run well over a hundred and a couple of participants are closing in on 1000 marathons. I’d personally need another Just Ripe biscuit just to consider that task.

Knoxville Marathon 2012, Finish Line in Neyland Stadium

Knoxville Marathon 2012, Finish Line, Neyland Stadium

Urban Son-in-Law and Alison finish the race!

Still smiling after all these miles!

Our party crossed the finish line just after six hours. They didn’t win the event, but they accomplished something most of us never come close to accomplishing. These are all people to be admired and this is an event that I hope will only grow for our city. Alison made it clear she had been there, got the t-shirt and retired. Nathan mumbled something about an iron-man event, but I think he may have been delirious.