FIREBALL MOONLITE CLASSIC 5K

JULY 3, 2001

Under the rockets' red glare, the 2001 Knoxville Track Club's Fireball Moonlite Classic got off to a rollicking start on an evening that had earlier threatened fireworks of its own, but mellowed into a pleasant summer night.
Over a thousand runners milled about in the hour before the race, hoping that the rains would  be gentle or nonexistent.
The mascot for English Mountain Spring Water was once again in attendance, adding his cheers to those of the teeming throngs who were there to encourage the runners on to excellence.
A familiar face at KTC races, George Captain, proprietor of Sam and Andy's West, is making his way back from a tenacious hamstring injury.  George ran 23:07 to capture 2nd place in the men's 60-64 age group.
Wheelchair racer Matthew Porterfield is all business as he prepares for the grueling 3.1 mile trial he faces.
Perennial front runners Benny Jordan (985), Patrick Materna (7) and Bobby Holcombe (581) look intently at the challenging mile and a half of pavement staring them in the face just before the start of the race.
More fireworks heralded the impending start of the contest, as "The Star Spangled Banner" played loudly and proudly in the background.
As the gun sounds, more than a thousand racers burst forth into a frenzied sprint.  Many will reel themselves in after a short fury; others will burn themselves out long before the end of the race.
Under the waving Stars and Stripes, the best runners in East Tennessee rise in unison and test themselves against each other, against the clock, and, most importantly, against themselves.
As the road racers hurl themselves forward, KTC"s stalwart finish line crew readies themselves for the onslaught of humanity less than fifteen minutes away.
Blatantly ignoring the illuminated stop sign, overall second place finisher Bobby Holcombe begins his final sprint.
Kevin Morton, who finished 10th overall but only 3rd in his age group at 17:19, followed  a bit behind Bobby, while the main group of challengers is still back on Neyland Drive.
Ignoring Satchel Paige's time-worn admonishment "Don't Look Back" is a hard charging speedster, Jim Ailshie, at the three mile mark.  Jim finished 7th overall, winning his age group in a time of 17:01.
24-year old Erika Van Reenan rounds the last turn leading veteran masters competitor Bobby Sumpter by a footstep.  Though the wily Sumpter overtook Erika en route to his overall masters title, Erika claimed the second place finish among females, running an outstanding 17:43
Third place woman Patrice Carroll almost outran the shutter of the camera, as she ran a strong 18:03.
Burke Pendleton, the man with the red, white and blue running shorts ran a very good race, finishing first in the superpatriot group and second in the 30-34 age group, running 18:19.
25-year old Richie Walls of Knoxville ran the 5K at 5:57 pace to capture first in the 25-29 age group.
Carter Mill race director Richard Dodson hands out entry forms for the next race on the KTC calendar.  The July 14 event is a 10K race which finishes at the Carter Community Pool in East Knoxville, a splendid way to cap a six-mile jaunt in the country.
Even the prospect of being captured on disc for the Internet couldn't dissuade these two young race fans from focusing proper attention on the business at hand: sweet cool watermelon, courtesy of a KTC sponsor.
Race director Greg Johnson, celebrating his 43rd birthday on this night, did an outstanding job coordinating all the volunteers and activities at KTC's second largest race.
Overall Fireball champion Martin Lyons celebrates with his ladyfriend, Sandra, as the festivities wound far into the evening.
Although choosing not to exhibit Marty's effusiveness at the microphone upon receiving her overall champion's award, Jasmin Keller is all smiles as she returns to husband Andy and son Cameron, whose patience with the late hours was beginning to wear thin.
Masters female winner Lynn Sims poses with her dish of Atomic Fireballs.  Lynn, along with husband Jeff and Martin Coleman, were recently overall masters champions at an adventure race in Atlanta.
Clydesdale champion Larry Brede ran a time of which most overall competitors would be proud (18:07).  Larry recently had the good fortune and the temerity to compete in the Sahara Marathon.  An account of his adventure will be published in an upcoming issue of the Knoxville Track Club magazine, Footnotes.
By this late hour, the full moon, which had hidden stealthily behind a sheath of clouds, decided to make a fashionably late appearance.  KTC very much appreciates your participation in one of our greatest events, and wishes you cordially to once again be a part next year.