|A sunny, cold morning greeted nearly seven hundred of the finest runners in the area as they gathered in Strawberry Plains for KTC's annual half marathon/10k.|
|As they have been for many years, the fine folks at Rush Strong School provided a warm, secure staging area for the race.|
|A quarter mile into the race, a bunch of familiar faces in red pushed the pace, led by Andy Baksa, Alan Horton, and Stewart Ellington, who, not coincidentally, finished in that order in the superfast 10k race.|
||Not far behind was a quick chase pack.|
Molly Allen (#1) grabbed an early lead in the women's half marathon event.
|On and on came the hard charging racers.|
|The crowd swelled to engulf both lanes of the two-lane road.|
||Some smiled, some grimaced, as they warmed to their task.|
|A quintet of tawny equines gazed longingly at the runners speeding down the blacktop, wishing they could join in the fun.|
|By the five mile mark of the 10k, former UT star Andy Baksa had staked himself to a working lead. He went on to claim the victory.|
|Stalking him just a short distance back was Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Alan Horton.|
A few paces behind the two leaders was two-time Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon winner Stewart Ellington.
Chattanooga's Tim Ensign was top masters runner.
| ||Incognito Greg Johnson outlegged all grandmasters runners for the top spot.|
| ||Molly Allen held her lead the entire race to earn the half marathon victory.|
|The youngsters in the cheering section just past the 10k turnaround thoroughly enjoyed the race and look forward to running it next year.|
And as the frost finally burned off in the bright rays of the sun, everyone went home to refuel, rehydrate, and recover from another great Knoxville Track Club event.
We want to congratulate everyone who participated, as well as extend an invitation to join us in the next event in the KTC's Winter Long Distance Series, the Whitestone 30k and Team Relay on February 28.
See you there!
webpage layout, and text by Michael deLisle
photos by Michael deLisle and Steve Zimo