Dogwood Classic 5K
Saturday, April 27, 2002

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On the banks of Fort Loudon Lake, many hundreds of East Tennessee's finest runners gathered for the annual Dogwood Classic 5K.
It was a festive morning, as evidenced by this young couple doing the Lindy in the middle of Cherokee Boulevard to the strains of Sir Richard French, KTC's tunesmith.
Sgt. Monty Boone of the Knoxville Police Department did an excellent job riding the lead bike, ensuring the runners made the proper turnaround.
Sam and Kevin Pack, the queen and king of Runners Market, one of today's race sponsors, look a bit chilly in the cool cloudy prerace temps.
Allan Morgan tries to stay calm and collected as wife Frony Ward presents him with a big hug just before the race begins. 
Appearances are deceiving as leather jacketed Farris Jordan and gun-toting race director Bo Saulsbury chat moments before Farris hopped into his yellow Corvette pace car.
Nearly six hundred runners assemble at the starting line with the gun just seconds away.
The speedsters are off the line first as Eric Vandervort (blue striped singlet), Angie Long (white singlet), Glen Farr (blue headband), Carl Goins (blue singlet with white shoulder stripe), Denton Jones (white and blue KTC singlet) and Bill Kabasenche (red singlet) leading the way.
More fast runners stream past, including Bob Cunningham (gray T-shirt and yellow shorts), whose 21:49 time was almost fifteen minutes ahead of his nearest age group competitor.
On and on they came, limited only by the narrow boulevard, which strung the competitors out for a long way.
Despite the emphasis of the prohibition of race day accoutrements violating the KTC's insurance protection, a dad starts off the race pushing a youngster in a little red wagon.  Race participants are urged to leave behind the headphones, as well as the baby joggers, dogs and wagons, all of which are specifically prohibited, as well as possibly causing significant problems for fellow runners.
As the runners wind eastward on Cherokee Boulevard, KTC's finest quickly assemble the finish chute and banner, readying for the oncoming assault by the quick-footed six hundred.
Before many people realized the end was near, a red blur rocketed alone down the boulevard heading for the chute.
Absolutely flying through the final straightaway, red-shirted Bill Kabasenche burst through the invisible tape in a new course record of 14:57.
With a 23-second PR of 16:03, Carl Goins continued his recent string of startling successes, finishing second overall.
Matthew Porterfield raced to an excellent 16:36 clocking on the Boulevard.
Fifteen-year old Denton Jones of Knoxville turned in an outstanding performance, running 16:41 for fourth overall.
Kingsport's Angie Long was the top overall female, covering the 3.1 miles in a mere 17:33, ninth overall.
Nick Kirchem finished third in his age group., running a strong 18:19, 22nd overall.
Former South Doyle High School standout Brian Chambers continued his return to fitness with a well paced 18:37, fourth in the men's 20-24 category.
Lenoir City's Jeff Christian celebrated his ascension into the fifty-plus category with an overall grandmasters winning 18:45.
What a difference young legs mean!  Bearden High School coach Steve Prince is edged at the finish by hard charging sixteen-year old Jimmy Waters of Maryville.
UT Professor and grandmasters competitor extraordinaire Glen Farr ran a strong 19:39 to top the men's 50-54 age group.
Barreling toward the finish line, KTC Treasurer Mike Marchant clocked 20:02 for the 2002 Dogwood, winning the 55-59 category handily.
Rita Mehta blazed to a 20:31 time, good for first in her age group and sixth overall female.  She poses here with Bruce Fox, who ran 21:37, usually good for an award in the tough 55-59 men's group but today relegated to fifth.
Nine-year old Haley Gassel came to the race with her dad, injured Boston Marathoner Al Gassel, planning to run the one-mile.  Instead she ran the whole 5K and topped the nine and under age group with an impressive 25:45.
Gwen Baker ran 26:01 and captured the top spot in the ladies 50-54 age group.
Therese Sirles ran 26:21 and finished sixth of 24 women in the 40-44 age group.
A young speedster races toward the finish line in the one-mile run.  Unfortunately his arm covered his number and prevented his identification.  Mom or Dad, email us with your boy's name!
Fortunately, Jeff Morie and Dennis Hurst, the two KFD representatives providing medical support, had nothing to do but enjoy the cool morning in Sequoyah Hills.
Dr. Ron Dubin came down from Middlesboro KY to compete in the Dogwood.  Ron ran 27:30 on the scenic course.
As the race drew to a close, many finishers relaxed in the playground awaiting the awards ceremony.
Bill Orr, whose 20:56 was good for 2nd in 55-59, joins his fellow semi-centenarians after each collected an award at this year's Dogwood Classic.  
The long line of runners winds from atop the rise to the tent filled with gustatory delights.
The awards were ably handled by Kevin Pack of Runners Market, KTC Executive Director Allan Morgan and former KTC President Bo Saulsbury, this year's Dogwood race director.
Joe Judkins (20:35) and Ken Childs (21:52) were the third and fourth place finishers in the men's 50-54 age group.  The two men are training for the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in early May.
While all this was going on, a mountain of bagels was being devoured by a resolute group of hungry runners, whose lusty appetite was second only to their courtesy in remaining in line.
The venerable Marge McLean holds her award for being top finisher in the 70 and over women's age group.  
A talented young photographer from Big Orange Party Photographers (BOPP) snapped shots all morning long.
And, as the sun-warmed crowd finally dispersed, race organizers and volunteers packed up the equipment and readied it for the next big event, the 25th Anniversary running of the Tennessee Sports Medicine EXPO 10,000/5000 on May 25.  Don't miss it!

 

photos by Michael deLisle