Running enthusiasts of all ages can get a step ahead of Farragut Independence Day Parade by participating in the inaugural Freedom Run 1-mile and 2-mile races.
Fleet Feet Knoxville Running Club, which annually holds Tur-key Trot on Thanksgiving, will present the race Monday, July 4, in conjunction with the parade. With the parade starting at 9:30 a.m., the 2-mile run will begin at 9 a.m. and the 1-mile run will begin at 9:05 a.m.
“[The parade] will be behind us and the walkers will be right in front of the parade, Katlyn Gagnier, Fleet Feet Sports marketing coordinator, said.
Roads affected by the race are, for the most part, the same roads that will be closed for the parade, Gagnier said. [See Page 1A]
“The only difference, for the parade route and us, is we are on Campbell Station at the very beginning, “ she said.
“From Municipal Center Drive to where Concord and Campbell Station meet is supposed to be open, and beyond that — up to Kingston Pike — is closed for the parade,” Cheryl Hadian, Fleet Feet Sports co-owner with Shahin Hadian, said. The Town will temporarily close part of Campbell Station for the start of the race. She estimated it would be closed for about 10 minutes.
“That will happen around 9 a.m., but there will not be much traffic anyway,” she said.
The races start at Town Hall and continue to Campbell Station and Kingston Pike then finish at Ingles’ parking lot, she said.
A portion of the proceeds from the race will go to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.
“It’s a great organization. They do everything at no cost to the veterans,” Gagnier said.
“Whenever the running club puts on a race, we usually try to designate a charity. We like to donate a portion of the proceeds to that [charity], Hadian said.
“The rest [of the proceeds] goes back to the running club to get equipment, like cones and other equipment for races.”
“With the 1-mile and 2-mile, almost anyone can do it and walk that far,” Gagnier said. “And, we have extra age group award brackets to encourage those younger runners and older runners to come out, see if they can win first place in their age group.”
Hadian said the race is a good way to get children to exercise ahead of time and then watch the parade.
The cost to enter the race is $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 10 and under, Gagnier said.
“The price does go up for all participants $5 during our packet pick-up dates on July 2 and July 3 at Fleet Feet Sports,” she said.
“The biggest reason for having the runs is we have watched the parade, and we see this is the only time Kingston Pike is going to be closed. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to run in front of it.’
“It’s really hard to have a city close the roads. And, the road is flat, so competitive folks have an opportunity to set a Tennessee record.
“There are a lot of open spaces in the 2-mile run [of the event],”
Choosing Smoky Mountain Service Dogs as the selected charity came about because a woman who trains with the club thought it would be an awesome way to tie in showing appreciation to veterans with Indepen-dence Day.
“We do have an active military category as well,” Jason McLeod, co-race director, said.
For more information about Freedom Run, visit the event website online at fleetfeetknox-ville.com/events/smoky-mountain-service-dogs-meet-and-greet.