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The Big South Fork.
||A record turnout of nearly 250 runners assembled at the Bandy Creek staging area for the eighth annual Big South Fork 17.5 Mile Trail Race.|
||Running specialty store entrepreneur Mike Allen of Huntsville AL, who has placed highly in this race on several occasions, made the trip up on a cloudy mild October morning.|
|Another running shoe guru, Anne Riddle from Asheville NC, is full of smiles as the prerace moments wind down toward the start of the big event.|
|Veteran race director Bobby Glenn gave some last minute instructions to the crowd before hopping in his vehicle to lead the runners through the first section of the course. He was not overtaken this year.|
|After a confusing false start, the sound of "GO!" echoes through the field, as the highly trained assemblage flashed into action.|
|Ready for a long morning on the trail, most runners toted their own water and were content to settle into their own pace.|
|A long and winding road awaited...........|
|David Smith of Knoxville was the first to reach the five mile mark and accept the beverages and greetings from perennial aid station mogul, Monte Lowe. Dave went on to win the race, covering the distance in 1:58:36, a fine time considering all the unexpected obstacles found along the way: dozens of trees strewn across the path, courtesy of the remnants of Hurricane Lili.|
|Speedster Jamie Dockery of Maryville gave KTC a 1-2 finish by pushing Smith all the way. Dockery, who won the Wears Valley 15K a few weeks ago, was timed in 2:02 on this day.|
|Anne Riddle put her specialty Saucony X-Terra shoes to work and collected the overall female title, finishing sixth overall with a splendid 2:17.|
|Female masters winner was Sally Brooking from Marietta GA, who ran a solid 2:32.|
|KTC's Jerry Schohl was the top grandmasters male runner, with a 2:28 time.|
|Jerry's wife, Betty (blue singlet), was top female 45-49 competitor, running 2:45:43, only to be edged out by 64-year old Bob Cunningham (white T-shirt), who eventually passed Betty to claim the Veterans title by running 2:45:34.|
|Valerie Connaughton of Mooresville AL was fourth overall female with an excellent 2:29 clocking.|
|An unusual type of blue wildflower was seen at a few points along the trail........|
Janet Lowe was a ray of sunshine in the mists of the Big South Fork, handing out Powerade and GU with a cheery smile and words of encouragement.
The Army presence was invaluable, as the troops in the Humvee trucked water and other supplies all over the course.
|And the river flows ever on.....
Thanks for being a part of one of KTC's favorite events. We cordially invite everyone to return next October for the Big South Fork 17.5 Mile Trail Race. Bring a friend and come ready to hit the trails with the toughest trail runners from the southeastern United States.