Autumnfest 8K
November 22, 2001

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As the sun peeks over the ridge above the Tennessee River, another glorious fall morning begins.  But not just any fall morning... it's Thanksgiving Day!
The 17th annual Autumnfest 8K, a KTC tradition, was held once again on Thanksgiving morning on the University of Tennessee campus, courtesy of title sponsor Tennessee Sports Medicine Group.
A record turnout of over 600 runners gathered under the start banner to await the beginning of the race.
Veteran race director Bob Winter gave prerace instructions, flanked by sponsor John Kruzenklaus (holding the gun) and finish line coordinator Brint Adams (holding the equally lethal chronomix).
KTC's soundmaster Richard French held aloft the Stars and Stripes while the Star Spangled Banner resounded throughout the courtyard.
John Kruz fired the gun standing next to KTC secretary and co-founder Hal Canfield.  Hal later passed out while working the finish line and was taken to the hospital.  He will stay at UT hospital over the weekend but feels fine and will be released early next week.
With the sound of the gun still echoing, the huge crowd burst into motion, hopes of personal bests and glory in mind, turkey and stuffing forgotten for the moment.
One of the early front runners was Bill Role, who went on to finish sixth overall and win the men's 30-34 age group with an excellent 29:00 clocking.
Colorfully bedecked Kevin "Skippy" Carraher races smoothly along Neyland Drive, wearing either a grimace or a grin.
A closely bunched chase pack was led by John Plummer.
Concentration is evident on the face of eventual female winner Leah Moore, whose time of 30:00 was twelfth overall.  Leah also won this race in 1999 and was runner-up in 1998.
Apparently a believer in Breathe-Right strips, Bruce Blankenship finished first in the men's 40-44 age group, running a good 31:13, 22nd overall.
Hard at work in the 2nd mile, Knoxville's Cindy Caldwell, who finished 2nd in the female 25-29 category with a strong 34:01 holds off her challenger for the moment, although yellow-shirted James Godfrey, a masters runners from Rutherfordton, NC, ran strong negative splits to register a 32:51 time.
Like a true thoroughbred, Donnie Madgett (red & white singlet) speeds up along the rail to pass a few runners, including Eric Tadlock (black shirt) and Bob Bailey (19), although Bob came back to edge both men by the end.
James Strelow (497) maintains a slight lead as the two strong challengers match each other step for step in the long straightaway paralleling the Tennessee River.
A couple good grandmasters runners, Ken Childs (gray pants) and Allan Grossman (blue tights) battle it out with Marty Sandefur.  All three men finished in the top ten in their age groups.
Young Jimmy Waters and Vol fan Ken Coover cruise along as the morning sun continues to burn off the mists still hanging over the river.  Jimmy went on to run 35:29, while Ken finished in 36:11.
Oak Ridge's Dick Ziegler (far right) leads a large pack of runners approaching the bridge over Third Creek.
Check out the logo on J.M. Clark's shirt.
Former UT baseball pitcher Kendall Stiles has a grin and a wave for the camera.
On the far right, Ken "Smiley" Smith and former KTC social chairperson Susan Madix laugh it up as they ease on down the road.
Ever notice how a runner's form gets better as he sees the camera?  Scott Ratarsky strides out as he runs smoothly along Neyland Drive.
William Blount High School coach Chris Frary (#465) claimed to be running nine minute pace at this point.
Former No Frills Chills race director Luke Cooper apparently approves thoroughly of this morning's events.  Luke will be co-director of the Strawberry Plains events on February 9th.
One of the best eighty-plus runners around, Ed Nicholson, waves as he cruises by.
The stream of runners continued for a long time as the record crowd made its way along the race course.
All alone at three and a half miles, speedster Bill Kabasenche powers away from his competition.  Bill went on to win with a time of 25:52.
Runner-up Martin Lyons blazes along en route to a 26:28 clocking.
The man in black, Jamie Dockery, begins to pull away from the bandit behind him.  Jamie would go on to finish third with a time of 27:30.
Former West High School standout Carl Goins raced very well and finished fourth overall, timed at 28:05.
The elusive finish line, 4.97 miles from the start.  Actually, it's only about thirty yards from the start.....
John Hood showed a strong kick as he powered into the chute at 29:35, seventh overall and second in the men's 30-34 category.
Kevin Morton continued his recent excellent racing, clocking 30:16 to finish 14th overall and win the men's 20-24 age group.
Tom Smallwood ran 30:46 and finished strong to cop third place in the men's 35-39 group.
Georgian Emily O'Bryant ran a fine 31:10 to earn second overall female.
Former Knoxvillian Mary Jo Schmalz, who was third at Autumnfest in 1997, was fourth today, running 31:34.
Gritty grandmaster Glen Farr blasts through the finish line in 32:16 to take the men's 50-54 age group crown.
Melanie Cox congratulates sixteen year old Anna Giles, whose 32:29 edged Melanie by nine seconds.  Both women won their age group.
Mountains of bananas and bagels were consumed by hungry runners immediately after the race, as well as hundeds of bottles of delicious English Mountain Spring Water.
The Kabasenche crew awaits the arrival of their fourth family member in a few months.  Bill, winner of today's race, is coming back strong from a bout of sciatica which led to a several week layoff this past summer.  He feels strong now and hopes to return to the record breaking racing he was doing a while back.
Dutifully doing what most runners sadly neglect, this young runner gives her hamstrings a good stretch.
Another new sponsor for the Knoxville Track Club is Knox New Balance. Owner Sharon Alley's store will be involved with sponsorship of several upcoming KTC events.
Due to the large turnout, race officials ran out of numbers, causing a delay in the award ceremony.  Most runners didn't mind much and mingled about, munching and quaffing treats, and soaking up a bit of elusive sunshine to stave off the chill.
The cool morning didn't bother these three, as Farris Jordan, Marsha Morton (third overall female) and Mike Marchant yuk it up together.
And the waters of Fort Loudon Lake flow on, oblivious to the efforts of 620 runners just a bit earlier.  Please join us next year for the annual Thanksgiving Day race, the Autumnfest 8K.

photos by Michael deLisle