Whitestone 30K
February 24, 2002

A spectacular early spring morning found the KTC faithful gathering at a luxurious country estate on the shores of Watts Bar Lake for the inaugural running of the Whitestone 30K.
The morning mists were burning off as the sun began its ascent, while the frostline was still visible in the shade of a tall stand of cedars and pines.
KTC Vice President Ron Fuller (left) and President Elizabeth Corbett, along with veteran KTC runner and volunteer Felon Wilson are all smiles as they await the start of the race.
Standing in the sun atop the hill, a hundred and fifty strong souls share a few relaxing moments before the starter's gun would send them off to do battle with the hills of Roane County.
Just seconds into the race, Jon Lawler and David Smith are separating from the chase pack, with Larry Brede running strongly in third.
The long steep downhill start propelled the leaders, while pounding the quads of every contestant, no matter their speed. 
Several KTC regulars try to avoid their feet being turned into jelly by the long downgrade.  Al Gassell (white hat), Royce Sayer (green shirt), Cindy Messler (red singlet left) and Donnie Madgett (red singlet right) all finished the race strongly, with Royce dominating the 60+ category once again.
A trio of masters runners charge down the winding country road.  Bobby Sumpter (middle) finished third overall, while Mike Marchant (red shirt) and Gary Sperl (white shirt) duelled in the hills and valleys all morning, Marchant ending up in front.
Time and time again, the road racers would round a bend to behold wonderful scenery, sometimes spectacular, sometimes subtle, as in this small creek winding its way along the race course.
Jon Lawler spent nearly two hours running alone in the East Tennessee countryside, winning the race with a fine time of 1:51.
Clydesdale king Larry Brede is still having a fine old time as he cruises along near the seven mile mark.  He finished fourth overall in 2:04:10..
Martin Bailey (left) and John Plummer ran smoothly past the third water stop.  Martin won overall masters, sixth overall (2:09:14), while Jon was right behind him in seventh (2:10:15).
Oblivious to all the human effort out on the race course, many waterfowl took advantage of the delightful February weather to splash about in one of several roadside ponds.
Marsha Morton holds a slight lead over Melanie Cox, while Jim Whitaker tries not to spill his drink on his shirt as the three head for the second major loop of the course.
Still less than an hour into the race, Dave Buck has a smile for the camera.  The runners would pass this spot yet again an hour later, and many appeared in less good humor by that point.  Dave ran 2:20, good for 3rd in the men's 30-34 age group.
Running close to her home turf, Kelley Bell had a very good run, finishing third overall (2:24:21) on the very hilly course.
So intent were most of the runners on the race itself that many did not see the gigantic hogs near the third water stop, even though they passed them three times.
Mike Parton ran smoothly past the "Y", en route to a good finish, fourth in the men's 35-39, just seconds behind third place winner, Wes Pectol of Greeneville.
Spirits were still high as runners peeled away onto the seven mile second loop.
Daniel Hollenbach and Meg Guy run under the canopy of trees welcoming them to the back seven.  Meg finished in 2:34, winning the women's 20-24 age group.
It must be true what they say about musicians, as Paul Barrette has three women chasing him at this juncture in the race.  Paul finished second in the men's 60-64 age group.
Tunesmith Jay Bachmann took time out from his own racing to monitor the "Y", offering encouragement to the runners and spinning a variety of CD's from Dylan to the Boss.
Debbie Smith outran many women ten years her junior as she picked up another masters win, finishing the 18.6 miles in 2:44:27.
Rick Long has some spring in his step as he jaunts down the narrow country lane.  The Knoxvillian ran a 2:39.
Lori Batman and Danny Mitchell work together to conquer the hilly terrain.  Lori's 2:52 was good for second place in the women's 40-44 category.
Many KTC volunteers spent their Sunday morning on the sidelines.  Here several people make a contribution handing out drinks to thirsty runners.
After fourteen miles, it began to feel like work, and David Smith wasn't one to back down.  Also running alone most of the way, Dave followed Jon Lawler, adding a second place overall finish here to his third place at Straw Plains, running 1:58:08 today.
Mark Mobley and George Haggard run strongly together with just four miles to go.  Unfortunately, Mark's leg tightened up and he had to slow down a bit, while George moved ahead for an earlier shot at the breakfast buffet.
Greg Birk runs smoothly past a well kept farm about three miles from the finish.  Greg ran 2:16:30 to finish 17th overall and second in the men's 45-49 group.
Still together after all these miles, Marsha Morton and Melanie Cox lengthen their stride, passing several runners in the last few miles en route to a virtual tie for the women's crown, both women timed in 2:14:57.
The long and winding road at the end of the thirty kilometers must've been designed by some sadist with an eye for scenic splendor.  Here Bob Adams treks up the trail to finish fifth overall with a fine time of 2:04:45.
Finally! The end of the journey is in sight with the digital numbers telling only part of the story, as KTC execs Ron Fuller and Elizabeth Corbett wait to congratulate all the finishers.
Billy Jolley of Nashville finished eighth overall, running a strong 2:11:23 to cop first place in the men's 30-34 category.
Proud papa John Iskra also had a fine race, finishing 13th overall, second in men's 35-39 with a 2:15:30.
There probably should've been a dozen photos taken inside, because it would've taken that many to do justice to the incredible buffet served up by the fine folks at the Whitestone Inn.  Fresh fruit, bagels, croissants, pastries, quiche, grits and some of the tastiest home fried potatoes anywhere were just some of the treats atop the long banquet tables.
Our hosts at the Whitestone Inn, Paul and Jean Cowell, were most gracious and friendly.  We hope that KTCers consider returning to the Whitestone for more extended visits in the future, taking advantage of the splendid accommodations and gorgeous natural beauty.
Thanks to all who participated in the first annual running of the Whitestone 30K.  We hope everyone will be back next year!

photos by Michael deLisle