Race #326 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, Tennessee – 04/03/16

2016-knoxville-half-STARTThis was my sixth year in a row at the Knoxville Half Marathon, and sadly, it will probably be the last time I’ll be running it. It’s a great race and I’ve come to enjoy it, but next year I’m already making plans to run the Cooper River Bridge Run 10k instead, which always falls on the same weekend.

 
As much as I like the Knoxville race, the only reason I’ve made it out there for six straight years is to run with my grandson Ryan, who’s now 28. We did what we called “The Annual Grandfather/Grandson Half Marathon Challenge” (or something like that) and every year it has given us a chance to do something together. We managed to string together five years of half marathons, which I think is quite an accomplishment, especially given the fact that I’m an old man and Ryan’s not a long distance runner. He’s a great athlete — All-State football player in high school, college baseball player, weightlifter, and bodybuilder — but being a long distance runner was never on his to-do list. Having Ryan run a half marathon every year was a little like having me enter a weightlifting contest, and I have the upper body strength of a third grade girl.

ryan-kennedy-2016
Although Ryan inherited my biceps, he’s been less enthusiastic about running long distances.

 

So we decided that we wouldn’t do the grandfather/grandson half marathon thing this year. Ryan said his doctor advised him that long distance running wouldn’t be good for some particular aches and pains he’s been having, and I found that out after I had already registered for the race and paid for a hotel room, so I figured since it was already paid for I may as well go.

 

This was the first year I stayed at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn where the expo was held and where the race started. In previous years we had stayed a few miles outside of Knoxville to save some bucks on the hotel, then drove into the city on race day. The convenience of staying in the hotel room until 15 minutes before the race and not having to stand in the porta-potty line more than made up for the extra cost. Kind of odd that it took me 326 races to figure that out.

 

One thing I like about this race is that they have a special “Senior Grand Masters” award that’s given to the fastest runner over 60 years old. I’ve been fortunate to win it for the past three years (2013, 2014, and 2015) so one reason I wanted to run this year was to see if I might be able to squeak out one more year before being overtaken. I’ve slowed down quite a bit over the past year so I didn’t have any big expectations, and I wasn’t surprised (although there was just a tinge of disappointment) when I didn’t win it this year. Instead it was won by 61-year-old Ernie Brooks, a great runner who works with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.

 

A great thing about the Senior Grand Masters award is that even if you don’t win it, if the person who does win is in your age group it bumps you up a spot, so I was happy to get bumped up to 1st place in the 60-64 age group.

 

2016-knoxville-half-60-64-results

 

Race Number:  326

 

Race Name:  Knoxville Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k

 

Location:  Knoxville, Tennessee

 

Date:  April 3, 2016

 

Race Rating:  118 (one of the highest ever… a lot of things done right! See detail below)

 

2016-knoxville-half-MAPCourse: Lots of rolling hills through city streets, neighborhoods, and along the greenway. There’s one humongous hill in the 7th mile that many runners seem to take pride in running the whole way without walking. I think I walked 3 times on that one.

 

Elevation:

2016-knoxville-half-elevation

 

Weather at Start:  39 degrees, 44% humidity, NE wind 3 mph, sunny.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Official Race Photos from SportPhoto

 

Click Here for FREE Race Photos on Flickr

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

 

  • Time:  1:45:50
  • Pace: 8:05
  • Age Group:  1 of 53
  • Overall:  193 of  2183
  • Average Heart Rate:  162
  • Maximum Heart Race: 171
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:23:19 (70.08%)

 

2016-knoxville-half-bobblehead

 

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
6 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  118

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Race #289 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, TN – 03/29/15

0330_KCLO_marathonThis was the 5th year in a row of running with my now 27-year-old grandson Ryan at the Knoxville Half Marathon! Each year it gives us a chance to spend a little time together in something we can both do. I’m not sure how long we can keep going but the more years we can string together, the better I’ll like it. I told him that 25 sounded like a good number (I’d be around 85 then), but only time will tell if that will be a possibility.

2015-knoxville-ryan-and-me
Me and Ryan after the race…

 

This is a big event with more than 8,000 participants combined in the full marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, and 5k (although I’m just including stats for the half marathon since that’s the race I ran). Knoxville is a hilly town and the race seems to include most of those hills so it’s a challenge. Every year so far has been cold, and this one was colder than most. Getting to the start was easy since I was able to park nearby, but after the race I thought I’d freeze to death walking about a mile back to the car from where the race ended in Neyland Stadium.

2015-knoxville-pro-pic-richard--640
Hundreds of Hi-Res photos are freely available for download on the Knoxville Track Club Flickr page (see link below).

 

I was happy to finish the tough course at just over an hour and forty minutes and I decided to go back to the hotel and pick up Linda and check out and then return to the awards ceremony at 11 o’clock in hopes that I placed in the top 3 in my age group. Getting out of the parking lot was easy but every way I turned the roads were blocked because of the race, so after 20 minutes or so of driving around in circles I decided to just return to the race site. It worked out fine because I was able to park right next to the gate where the awards were held and I was able to find Ryan and his friend Laura and we stayed in the warm car until it was time for the awards.

 

2015-knoxville-SGM-award
It was a pleasant surprise to learn that not only had I won the 60-64 age group but I also won the Senior Grand Masters award (all runners 60 and over) for the third year in a row!

 

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for FREE Race Photos on Flickr (Knoxville Track Club)

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  1:40:44 (chip)
Pace:  7:37
Age Group:  1 of  79  (of Senior Grand Masters)
Overall:  123 of  2219
Average Heart Rate: 163
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:12  (74.76%)

2015-knoxville-my-stats1

2015-knoxville-garmin-stats-splits

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
9 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes  (20+ bands along route)
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes (*eventually)

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
5 – Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
5 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  121

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Race #248 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, TN – 03/30/14

Pros:

  • Almost 10,000 runners competed in the three races (full marathon, half marathon, and 5k)
  • It was the 4th annual Grandfather-Grandson Knoxville Half Marathon for me and my now 26-year-old grandson Ryan.
  • Great finish on the 50-yard-line of Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers.
  • Very good expo at the Convention Center adjoining the World’s Fair Park.
  • Spectacular start with band playing Rocky Top and a large crowd cheering runners.
  • 24 bands and musical acts playing along the course.
  • Nice course along the Tennessee River, through upscale neighborhoods, and along the Knoxville greenway.
  • Lots of good post-race food including pizza and chocolate milk. I wish the pizza could have been kept warmer on this cold day, but cold pizza is better than no pizza.
  • Beautiful finisher medal with a rotating Sunsphere.

Cons:

  • No race-day packet pickup.
  • You can park close to the start OR close to the finish, but not both. It’s not a huge distance if you’re familiar with the area, but good luck if you don’t know where you are.
  • For the first two years we ran this race the post-race activities were held in the nearby basketball arena. This year and last year it remained in the football stadium. That would be fine if the weather was warm, but with temperature only about 40 degrees after the race I was ready to get out of there. 
  • Race results not posted after the race. I won the Senior Grand Masters but didn’t find out until I got home that night since I was unable to get a late checkout at our hotel.

Click Here for Half Marathon Results

Click Here for Full Marathon Results

Click Here for 5k Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos from SportPhoto

My Stats:

Time:  1:40:33 (chip)
Pace:  7:41
Age Group:  1 of  46
Overall:  143 of  2488 (5.7%)
Average Heart Rate:  164
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:50 (74.18%)

With my grandson Ryan Kennedy after the race.
It was the fourth year of our annual Grandfather-Grandson half marathon!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
0 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

TOTAL:  109

It’s a fantastic finish on the 50-yard line of Neyland Stadium.
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Race #210 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, Tennessee – 04/07/13

It was the third annual Grandfather-Grandson Half Marathon for Ryan and me this past weekend at the Knoxville Half Marathon. It’s amazing how fast three years go by, especially compared to how long three years seemed when I was young. It was a lot of fun as always, and I’m hoping we can continue this for many more years and possibly even be joined by some of the rest of the family over time. Ryan is a great athlete — football and baseball in school, but mainly power lifting now. The power lifting doesn’t exactly complement long distance running, so it’s a bit of a stretch for him to go out and run a half marathon, but he says he feels like it’s a good challenge for him each year, and I suspect he knows that I really appreciate that we’re able to share this event. I’d love to be able to do it for the next ten years, and twenty would be even better!

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that I’ve been recording my races recently with video sunglasses. I wish that I had them for this race but unfortunately I had left something else in the hotel room and went back to get it, and in the process I set the glasses down and forgot them. That kind of stinks because there’s plenty to see along the way in this race including great scenery along the course, many bands (at least one every mile I’d say), and a spectacular finish in Neyland Stadium (home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers).

The Knoxville Marathon/Half Marathon is a great race and I’m pretty sure it’s the largest racing event in Eastern Tennessee, this year with 2434 finishers in the half marathon, another 700 completing the marathon, and 1546 running the 5k, plus the marathon relay runners and wheelchair competitors.

I run a lot of races and tend to forget how many hills there are on different courses. For some reason I never seem to remember just how hilly this race is. There are plenty of small hills but several huge hills as well, and a number of roller coaster hills along the greenway portion that is several miles long. I don’t like to walk in races if I can help it, but when I’m going up a big hill that I can walk just about as fast as I can run, I give my running muscles a break and switch to walking, usually for about 50 steps (I almost always count the steps). This time around I walked six different times.

Along the course the miles are marked plainly with large flags, so that’s good, but there are no clocks at each mile like you see in many larger races. Usually I try to maintain my heart rate at between 165-168 throughout the race, but this was one of those days where my heart rate wanted to stay about 5 beats per minute slower. That happens occasionally but I don’t know why. During those races, I want to build it up but I just feel like I’m running too hard when I do so I back off a little bit. I didn’t look at my pace on my watch at all during the race and hoped I was going fast enough. There was finally a clock at the 10k point in the race (6.2 miles). It was a relief to see that I reached the 10k split at 44:07 despite having already walked a time or two, so I felt okay sticking with the somewhat lower heart rate.

The most memorable part of the race for me came in the 9th mile. I found myself running in back of a particularly fast looking guy who appeared to be about my age. I don’t remember whether he had passed me to get ahead or if I just caught up with him, but I ran maybe 20 feet behind him for a half mile or so.  I found out later he was Walt Rider, whose reputation I was already familiar with after he broke the Tennessee state record last year as a 59-year-old by running the Germantown Half Marathon in 1:26:48. He was also USA Triathlon’s “Men’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year” in 2012 (that’s run-bike-run). He ran the Boston Marathon in 2:34 at the age of 39, and on an average day he’d stomp a mud hole in me and walk it dry, but for some reason just after we passed the 10-mile marker he just stopped. I ran past him and wondered where he was. After a few minutes I glanced back to see if I could spot his neon green singlet but it wasn’t there, and I never saw him again during the race. I saw him after the race and talked to him for a minute or two and he told me he was having problems of some sort (seems like it was his shoes but I didn’t quite catch it). Anyway, I was definitely fortunate to finish ahead of him in what was most likely his slowest half marathon ever. I’m pretty sure it’ll never happen again.

Finishing with the fastest time of everyone 60 and over in the race, I won the award as “1st Place Overall Senior Grandmasters Male,” which I nearly won last year before I was passed in the last mile by Jody Hinds, another fast guy from Tennessee. He is a friendly fella and we talked quite a bit last year and I knew he was running this year but I was unable to spot him at the starting line. I did see him after the race and he told me he saw me up ahead of him but just couldn’t close the gap, which I was glad to hear of course. He’s a fast finisher, and I’m not. He said this year he ran the 13th mile in 7:02, which was nearly 30 seconds faster than me, but lucky for me I was far enough ahead that it didn’t matter.

If you’re looking for photos of this race be sure to check out Mike Beasley’s Photos (see link below). They’re not the official race photos but are great quality. I bought a download of a photo I found of me for only 4 bucks. It’s 3456 x 5184 resolution!

Official Race Photos from Sport Photo
Photos From Mike Beasley Photo (1210 pics — Not free, but CHEAP!)

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  1:37:15
Chip Time: 1:37:02
Pace:  7:25
Age Group:  1 of  45 (1st Place Overall Senior Grandmasters)
Overall:  101 of  2,434 (4.2%)
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:17:56  (75.98%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent (Prize Money for OA Winners)
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (3)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

TOTAL:  115

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Race #169 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, TN – 04/01/12

It was the second annual grandfather-grandson reunion race for me and my now 24-year-old grandson Ryan. We’re hoping to make this a tradition and keep it going for as long as we can. This year we decided to run separately. We started out together along with Bobby Aswell, who was running his 176th full marathon (and his 6th this year). Last year when I ran with Ryan I was more concerned with him just finishing since he hadn’t trained much for it so somehow I didn’t notice the course was loaded with hills. This year, running on my own, I noticed it’s one hill after another.

This was my 3rd half marathon in the last four weeks and the 4th in the last six weeks (with another coming up in two weeks). I feel fine but it’s a little troubling that I’ve been a minute or two slower each time. Thinking about it though, each of the races has been a little tougher race than the previous one so maybe I’m not too far off track. The marathon and half marathon started together and stayed together until the 12th mile so there was a crowd up ahead of me and I wasn’t sure where I was in my age division.

I hit the 10k split at 44:30 and felt pretty good although throughout the race I had a hard time keeping my heart rate in the 166-168 range where I like to stay in a half marathon. It seems that every time I looked at my watch I had dropped to around 162. When that happens I try to tell my legs to move faster, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Still, I felt okay but around the 12-mile mark all of a sudden I was caught by a runner who looked like he might have been in my age group. I asked him in my not-so-subtle way, “What age group are you in?” and he said “sixty,” to which I replied “Uh-oh.” I turned it up a notch but he seemed to have more in the tank than me at that point. I thought about trying to stay with him until the end but that would have taken me out of my comfort zone, and that’s a place I don’t like to be. There’s no doubt that I’m competitive, but it’s really just up to a certain point. I have no trouble running my own race and letting everybody else run theirs, and if they beat me, then good for them. We’re all just doing our best. For me, once I start leaving my comfort zone to go faster it’s more than I really want to do. I feel like one of the reasons I don’t get injured is that I don’t push it too hard. I think there are times that I could do more and possibly finish a little faster in some races, but at what cost? I’m happy doing pretty well in my division and staying healthy.

When I reached the finish line I was met by 61-year-old Jody Hinds, who beat me by 42 seconds. He shook my hand and thanked me for pushing him that last mile, telling me he wasn’t sure where I was so he gave it all he had. Of course, he was way ahead of me by then but it’s nice that I had him worried a little bit. Things worked out well for both of us as Jody ended up winning the Senior Grand Masters award, which bumped me up to 1st place in the 60-64 age division. Checking out Jody’s stats on Athlinks, (beat me and I’ll stalk your stats!) I saw that in all of his races listed, he hadn’t finished lower than 2nd place in his age division since 2005, so he’s a tough guy to beat, and I have a feeling even if I had turned it on in that last mile I might have had a hard time catching him.

Click Here for Race Results


Click Here for Official Race Photos from Brightroom





My Stats:

Time:  1:37:42
Pace:  7:28
Age Group:  2 of  42  (bumped up to 1st place AG)
Overall:  101 of 2,613

**************************************
* RACE RATING  (100 Possible Points) *
**************************************

Note: With my new rating system (started in December 2011) there’s not a chance of any race scoring near 100. If it’s important to you, look at each individual category to see how points were earned (or not). Just trying to be more objective with the details. I generally like all of the races I run. If there’s something that really rubs me the wrong way I’ll mention it in the summary above.

RACE COURSE  (20 possible points)
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (at least 1 for 5k, 2 for 10k, 4 for half marathon) (2 points)
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
1 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
2 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)pretty good to excellent
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION  (6 possible points)
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS  (3 possible points)
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS  (13 possible points)
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
1 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (1)top 3 or better
1 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (1)yes

AWARDS  (9 possible points)
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (1)yes  (2)excellent
2 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (1)yes  (3)really cool medals

POST RACE  (7 possible points)
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (2)adequate  (5)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS  (4 possible points)
1 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS  (8 possible points)
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice
2 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY  (12 possible points)
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
2 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes

PARKING  (8 possible points)
0 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE  (5 possible points)
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
x – No dedicated site but separate page on other site (organization, running store, etc):  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER  (5 possible points)
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (1)yes, some  (2)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (1)yes

TOTAL:  81

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Race #120 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, TN – 04/03/11

This was my 21st half marathon, and surely my most memorable. I met my 23-year-old grandson, Ryan Joelee Kennedy, for the first time. I know what you’re thinking, so before you get out pencil and paper and start figuring out how I’m old enough to have a 23-year-old grandson, suffice it to say that it’s definitely mathematically possible. Ryan contacted my now 43-year-old son Everette just a few months ago and informed him that he (Ryan) was his son, in much the same that Everette had called me up when he was 23 years old, and that’s when we met for the first time. The whole story has more twists and turns than a barrel full of snakes, so I’ll leave it at that for now, and if you’d like more details you’ll need to wait for the TV movie.

The initial plan was for all three of us — Everette, Ryan, and me — to get together and run the half marathon. Everette’s training never quite get off the ground, and since he would have had to fly all the way across the country from Las Vegas just to cheer us on, he dropped out, but Ryan and I decided we’d stick with the plan.

We met at the Crowne Plaza on Saturday night and we had a great time just getting to know Ryan and of course making plans for the race. Linda and I were amazed at how much Ryan’s looks and mannerisms were similar to different family members even though he had never met any of us. When I asked him if he was ready for half marathon I was more than a little surprised that he hadn’t spent much time training for it at all. He said he ran seven miles once a couple months ago, and last week he went out one day and ran “about five miles.” I was a little worried about his prospects in a half marathon.

Having said that, Ryan’s a great natural athlete. He was a 1st team All State wide receiver and had more catches than anybody in the state of Tennessee in his senior year of high school, and he was a starter for four years on the baseball team at King College (Division II) in Bristol, Tennessee, and batted .370 last year as a senior.

All of that athleticism of course makes me proud, but running a half marathon is an entirely different animal and I was a little afraid that he might crash and burn along the way. My intention at the outset, as always, was for us to just run at our own speed and then meet up at the finish line. The more I thought about it though, it made sense for us to just stick together in the race and run together. I told him that if he felt like it and could zoom on up ahead, to just take off and wait for me at the finish line. Otherwise I’d go his pace for the entire race, and that’s what we did. We actually started off pretty well, hitting the 5k mark in about 24 minutes. By the time we hit the 10k mark we had run almost as far as his longest run ever, and we hit 10k at about 52 minutes. Several times along the way he tried to get me to run on ahead if I wanted to, but I was determined to stay with him. I looked at my watch when we crossed the 9-mile mark and we were at 1:15. I told him we had 45 minutes to run the final 4 miles and finish under 2 hours and that became our goal. I’m pretty sure those last four miles for him felt about like the last four miles of the couple of full marathons I’ve run — agonizing — but we managed to finish together in just under 2 hours at 1:59:08. I was a little afraid he might never want to run again, but just before bedtime on the night of the race I got a note from him on Facebook saying he’s already got another race scheduled for next week — this time a 5k. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a long running career for Ryan, and with some actual training he’ll soon be running circles around me and quite a few others.

Click Here for Half Marathon Results


Click Here for Full Marathon Results


Click Here for Race Photos from Action Sports International


Race Rating:

7 – 1-10  Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
7 – 1-10  Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10  Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10  Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10  T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6   Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5   Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6   Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7   Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
7 – 1-10  Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10  Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10  Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10  Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5   Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
5 – 1-10  Bathroom Facilities
0-10  Other

TOTAL – 99

My Stats:

Time:  1:59:08
Pace:  9:05
Age Group:  ?
Overall:  657 of 2,272 (28.9%)

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