The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

CTC Members Report From the Road
Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2010

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Oak Barrel Half Marathon, April 3, 2010 - Lynchburg, Tennessee

By Steve Smalling


Runners leaving cloudless Chattanooga (or Jasper, in my case) who failed to check the weather radar were surprised upon crossing Monteagle Mountain to see a dark cloud bank toward the west, apparently centered over Lynchburg, Tennessee.   Pre-race thunderstorms drifted away from the starting line just before the race, but rain, occasionally heavy, persisted on and off throughout the inaugural running of the Oak Barrel Half Marathon, presented on April 3 by the Mach Tenn Running Club of Tullahoma and Jack Daniel’s Distillery. 


The race was run mostly on rural roads in the quiet, picturesque countryside outside Lynchburg.   Starting on the Lynchburg town square, approximately half the race was run on a ridge above Lynchburg, accessed by running up Whiskey Hill, which is steep, but not overly long.  (As a point of reference, Chattanooga runners familiar with the hill between the switchyard and visitors’ center at Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant would not be intimidated.)  Once on the ridge, there are a few rolling insignificant hills, with a slight downgrade to flat the last four miles.   Every mile was marked, and the course is certified.    Gun time and chip time were recorded. There were six water stops on the course manned by plenty of volunteers.   Traffic was carefully patrolled in town, and most of the race was run on country roads with limited traffic.  The race ended directly in front of the entrance to Jack Daniel’s Distillery. 


Reviewing the results, I count 33 of 689 finishers from the Chattanooga area.  Jason McKinney of Rossville, Georgia, won the race by 11 seconds, with a time of 1:16:59.  Thomas Sell of Chattanooga was 5th (1:25:53), William Payne of Chattanooga was 29th, and Lisa Logan of Ringgold was the 4th overall female, 1st in the female 35-39 age group, and 49th overall with a 1:41:28 time.  Other Chattanooga area finishers, in order of finish, include Dwight Gardenhire, Jeffrey Cochran, Blake Pierce, Bradley Nance, Bill Brock, Angie Hughes, Jason Cooley, Howard Reager, Richard Miller, Kimberly Atkins, Rowan Johnson, Bill Puckett, Claude Hager, Kevin Law, Mark Taylor, Treeva Walshe, Kimberly Durham, Stephanie Law, Karen Zatkulak, Catherine Griffin, Steve Rogers, Voreata Waddell, Andrew Bender, Steve Smalling, Kenneth Garland, Jeniffer Jensen, Tess Madeya, Matt Richardson, and Kristen Smith.  If I missed anyone, I apologize.


For more information, ask one of the Chattanooga runners listed above, or see the website  Lynchburg is 96 miles from downtown Chattanooga, with 70 miles of the route travelled on Interstate 24.  April 2, 2011 is tentatively set as the date for next year’s race.  The 2010 race was limited to 800 runners, each of whom received a long sleeve technical race shirt and finisher’s medal.   Anyone with remaining energy could take the free tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery until 4:30 p.m.    Finally, no matter what the weather looks like in Chattanooga, always pack a change of clothes!



Purity’s Moosic City Dairy Dash Run 5K / 10K-Nashville, Tennessee at Metro Center

April 10, 2010   by Steve Smalling


The Moosic City Dairy Dash is a good race to consider for a runner looking for a fast, certified course, and the early April date provided nearly perfect temperature and humidity.   The race course begins and ends at the same location, in Metro Center, just north of downtown Nashville, about ½ mile from Exit 85 on I-65.  Although the starting area was somewhat congested, with nearly 1500 runners (851 5K and 627 10K) starting simultaneously, time is not lost, since runners wear timing chips which record the time when the runner crosses the starting line.   The course is very flat, because most of the race is run on a levee adjacent to the Cumberland River.   The only elevation change is the slight uphill to reach the top of the levee and the slight downhill several miles later to leave the levee.   The trail on the levee is an asphalt biking / walking path, except for less than half a mile which is unpaved.  5K and 10K runners separate after about two miles and come back together and run on parallel tracks for about half a mile before crossing separate finish lines.


What have I missed?  There is plenty of parking at the start surrounding the office complexes in Metro Center. All miles were marked, though I cannot remember if a split time was announced at each.   All runners received a long sleeve, technical training shirt which the race web site proudly described in detail as “100% Microfiber featuring Syntrel Extreme Moisture Transport Technology with a smooth silky feel and drape.”  Since Purity Dairy sponsors the race, plenty of ice cream is available for runners at the finish!  I left immediately after the run, but I understand that door prizes were distributed after the race.   The Maxwell House Hotel is almost within walking distance of the start, and I was able to get an inexpensive room there by bidding on   The $25/$30 pre-race 5k/10k registration fee ($30 or $35 on day of race) was a bit high, but most of the proceeds are contributed to a charity each year (Ronald McDonald House in 2009 and the American Cancer Society in 2010).   Race results are posted at   Also see



The Boston Marathon, April 19, 2010

by Brad Harvey


            As I was riding on the bus out to Hopkinton, I asked myself why I put myself through the time commitment and the stress that comes with marathons.  Why not act my age, take it easy and relax on the couch, maybe try to work my golf score down to double-digits?  As I ran into Boston several hours later, my questions were answered.

            The marathon, itself, is a unique event.  It’s tough enough to test even the world’s best athletes and an accomplishment for anyone to finish.  After struggling to break three hours, Lance Armstrong said, “For the level of condition that I have now, that was without a doubt the hardest physical thing I have ever done.”  At the same time, the marathon is an Everyman (or Everywoman) event.  Oprah has done it.  Al Gore has done it.  It doesn’t require a great athlete, just persistence and dedication. 

            The marathon also is a unifying event.  After months of training, I realize that all these other people have been putting themselves through the same thing.  I want them all to PR, even if it means that they beat me.  As Americans, we cheer for Ryan and Meg, but if someone else wins, they are revered, not reviled.  At the same time, the marathon is a very individual event.  I may finish over an hour behind the champion, but I still can feel like I won.

            Running Boston kicks it up a notch.  For many, it is one of their best athletic accomplishments just to reach the start line.  It took me four marathons before I first qualified.  Once you make it there, you realize you are running on hallowed ground, the oldest annual marathon in the world.  The sense of history is palpable.  Riding the subway on the way back from the Expo, I saw a woman carrying a book with her own face on the jacket.  It was none other than Kathrine Switzer, the pioneer who broke the rules, eluded Race Director Jock Semple, and became the first woman ever to run the Boston Marathon.  I will never get to play a game at Fenway Park or the old Boston Garden, but it is possible to run in the footsteps of the best in the world from Hopkinton to Boston.

            Finally, the Boston community embraces the event to the point where they aren’t just spectators, but have become a vital part of the action.  Hundreds of children along the way handed out water and orange slices or stuck their hands out and counted high fives.  An elderly woman had her wheel chair pushed up to the edge of the curb so she too could give high fives.  As I turned the corner onto Boylston Street in Boston, the crowd was electric and I could see the precious sight of the finish line.  My early morning questions had been answered.  So much for my golf game.


Country Music Marathon, Nashville, TN  April 24, 2010

By Sherilyn Johnson


On Friday, April 23, my husband Steve and I drove to Nashville to run the Country Music Marathon on Saturday, April 24.  I was excited and a little nervous since it has been over 2 years since I had run a marathon due to knee problems, but I felt I had trained enough to complete the distance.  My longest training run was 23 miles 3 weeks earlier with the 6:30 a.m. Saturday running group.  I was ready to break 5 hours and if it was a perfect race, I might be able to do 4:45. 


While traveling to Nashville on Friday, my brother, whom we were staying with in Nashville, called and said the weather contingency plan had been activated which limited the runners to a 4:30 marathon.  Marathoners must reach the marathon/half-marathon split (11.2 miles) at a 10:20 pace or be redirected to the half-marathon finish.  Weather predictions for race day were heavy rain, lighting, hail and tornados.


With the new time limit, I decided to modify my plan to maintain a 10:10 pace until the split and then slow down a bit.  I knew I could do this but I would be drained for the rest of the race.  I would try to make the cutoff times and hang on to the finish.  My main goal was to finish the marathon. 


On Saturday morning, we got up at 4:40 and were at the race site by 5:45.  The race was scheduled to start at 7:00.   It was around 60 degrees and the sky was clear with no sign of a storm or rain.  By 6:40, we were in our coral.  There were 32 corals of 1000 participants each and we were in #16.  Lucky for us, we were early, as the race started 15 minutes early.  There was a 1 to 2 minute delay between releasing each coral to avoid runners bunching up at the start.  Steve and I crossed the start line at 7:00 a.m.


Steve and I split up and each ran our own race.  During the race, I did not know if he was in front or behind me.  Our plans were to meet at the reunion area at the finish.  The race was crowded and I started out too fast.  My first mile was a 9:20 pace.  I use the Galloway method when running marathons by running a mile and walking a minute.  I do this through mile 20 and then run the rest of the way.  I realized this was too fast and slowed down a bit.  The weather was clear and even turned warm.  I was glad that it wasn’t raining but I knew I was still running too fast and getting too hot.  My mind was on finishing before the cutoff.  At mile 9 or so, the clouds started rolling in.  I was able to hold on to a 10:00 pace at 11.2 miles and was thrilled when I made the cutoff.  I waited until I was well past the split to take my 1 minute walk break because I didn’t want them to see me walking and direct me to the half.  I slowed my pace a bit in hopes of saving some energy to for the next 15 miles.


By mile 15, I was getting tired.  At mile 18.5, a policeman made the announcement to the runners that severe weather would be there in 10 minutes and advised us to take shelter immediately.  By this time it was raining but not too bad so no one took cover.  He said the course would not be closed and we could run at our own risk.  We just kept running and jumping every time we heard thunder.  I only had 8 more miles.  I was not about to quit.  At 3:33:00, I reached mile 20 and noticed that they were taking up the timing mat.  I knew something was up so I did not take my last walk break.  At the bottom of the hill, after the 20 mile mark, a policeman directed us to LP field and the finish area.  We ended up joining the ½ marathoners and crossing the ½ marathon finish line.  Before I knew it, the race was over.  


We did receive a marathon metal, which was bitter sweet, since we did not get to finish and a Mylar blanket, which came in handy since it was raining pretty hard by the time we stopped running.  We were also offered cookies and anyone who knows me will understand that when offered vanilla, I asked for chocolate.  As planned, I made my way to the reunion area to meet Steve and my brother Gary, who was picking us up.  Steve showed up first.  He too was redirected to the half-marathon finish area at mile 20 and finished in 3:49:33.  Gary showed up a few minutes later and we made our way to his car.  After being stuck in traffic for over an hour, we finally made it back to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. 

After the race, I reviewed the results.  I was put in the ½ marathon finish times with a time of 3:37:20.  Needless to say I was disappointed when I realized I only missed the second cutoff time by a few minutes.  In retrospect, if I had known there was going to be a cutoff at mile 20, I would have kept up the best pace I could and not worried about the last 6 miles until I got to mile 20.   Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side for this race.  I am glad my knee held up and I’m already training for my next marathon, which is the US Air Force Marathon on September 18.   




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