Sunday, April 1, 2012
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
What fun it was to participate in today's Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. I was the first leg of a relay team, a departure from the usual half marathon I've done in years past. (Well, one year, I ran the first relay leg and the half marathon. I figured if you could get double credit for the same thing, why not? :)
I can't get over the excitement and the camaraderie you find in a race like this. The energy in the crowd of thousands was palpable as we waited for the 7:30 a.m. start near World's Fair Park.
The marathon event is like a huge reunion. I saw friends, acquaintances and old faces from past races. I ran Mile 2 and 3 with Dave Keim, my former News Sentinel editor. It was cool to catch up as we ran. He left me in the dust at the first water stop ;)
A special treat was being part of the Knoxville News Sentinel's team - the Deadline Dawdlers. Lance Coleman, who now seats in my old cubicle, was the second leg, my former editor John North was the third leg and Diana Condon, the advertising director, was the fourth leg.
Speaking of News Sentinel people, former publisher Bruce Hartmann patted me on the back as he passed me in Sequoyah Hills. Hehe.
After I did the hand-off to Lance on Cherokee Boulevard, I stayed awhile to cheer folks on. I remember how much it meant to me and what encouragement it was to have spectators rooting for me as I climbed the hills during the half marathons.
After about 45 minutes, I got hungry and drove to the Thompson-Boling Arena for the post-race party. As I stuffed myself with two slices of pizza (and bagels, oranges, banana, two bags of chips, a bottle of Powerade and a bottle of water -- hey, you work up an appetite during races), I watched on the jumbotron screen as people crossed the finish line in Neyland Stadium.
I teared up as people raised their hands in victory after crossing. There's nothing like it when you hear your name being called and you're like, "that's me! that's me! I can't believe I just finished this crazy thing!"