We selected this race for four reasons:
1. Justin’s weekend off rotates and this was one race that fit into his schedule.
2. The course was flat… for eastern Tennessee.
3. We were able to drive to the race rather than plunk down $1000 to get us across the country to a half marathon in the Northwest for just two days.
4. Justin has decided that he’d like to run a half marathon in all 50 states and this race would mark Tennessee off the list.
Holiday Inn was a good choice for a hotel and we recommend it to anyone staying in the area. It was conveniently located to our event, in addition to being just off I-75. Even with the typical restless race night of sleep, we didn’t hear any barking dogs, slamming doors, or noisy guests as we have at other hotels. We slept a little easier as a result.
We woke up at 5:45 am on race morning to give ourselves enough time to get ready for and arrive at the race for its 7 am start time. Parking was easy as volunteers directed us into a grassy area designated for cars on race weekend. Having left the hotel and arrived at the start so late, neither of us had any need to inspect the two port-o-lets available to runners (where there was no line), or to use the flushing toilets (also no line) open to runners and spectators. We walked about 100 meters to the start where other runners were already gathered and ready to go. The race director shocked some of us when he announced 1 minute before the race that headphones were not allowed on the course, and anyone caught wearing them would be immediately disqualified. With not enough time to return to our cars, many runners left their headphones with him, while I received permission to leave my new wireless headphones draped around my neck, as long as they weren't in my ears. With that, the air horn signaled the start of the race and we were off.
Final Verdict: For a small race we had lots of fun. Tellico was well worth running as it was easier to receive an award, either age group, or overall. Other runners at the race were super friendly and willing to talk before, during, and after the race. Only one person seemed mildly disgruntled, and that was the race director, who must have been having a stressful day. The course was relatively easy and scenic, making for an enjoyable 13.1 miles.
Tips for a Successful Tellico Summer Solstice Half Marathon
1. Don't plan on running with headphones...unless you don't care if you get disqualified.
2. This might be a good race to train well for and run a PR. Your odds of winning an age group award are good since the field of runners is so small (about 100).
3. Make sure your training includes some hills or intervals. Get your heart and lungs used to working a little bit harder than they do on flat terrain.
4. Be ready for some heat. We were warned that there was no shade on the course, but this year got lucky with the overcast weather. Future runners should be prepared for some full sun.
5. Some volunteers were very quiet. If you don't know where you are going, ask as you approach a volunteer on the course. If you want Gatorade vs. water at one of the fueling stations, yell out what you want as you approach.