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.

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.




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.





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


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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%)





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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2 Replies to “Race #326 – Knoxville Half Marathon – Knoxville, Tennessee – 04/03/16”

  1. GREAT job, looks like a very good race. Impressive picture of your Grandson.
    I’m slowly(pun attended) getting back to longer run each week since I had right knee go bad but heal and now trying to heal left knee or hip. HELL getting old. Hopefully by end of summer I can be up to 10 mile runs.
    Keep up the good work.

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