A new foot race, honoring and remembering our veterans, will take place Saturday, Nov. 9, in a collaborative effort between Visit Farragut and Fleet Feet Knoxville.
The inaugural Veterans Salute Races will begin and end in front of the new Farragut Community Center (not yet open), at 239 Jamestowne Blvd., snaking through Village Green Subdivision in between, and will offer a full morning of running opportunities, from a 10k race beginning at 7:30 a.m., to a One Mile Fun Run at 8:15 a.m., and a 5k at 9 a.m.
“When the Knoxville Track Club decided not to have the half-marathon anymore, we started thinking about what else could be done,” said Karen Tindal, Town of Farragut’s Tourism coordinator. “Maybe there was a way to have a smaller race in Town.”
It sparked the idea of a Veterans’ Day race, and she approached Shahin Hadinan, owner of Fleet Feet Knoxville, who readily agreed to the partnership.
“He is always race minded,” Tindal said.
Indeed. Hadinan already oversees Farragut’s annual Freedom Run every July 4 and the Hot to Trot, which runs on Thanksgiving Day on Parkside Drive, in addition to the “Big Run” on National Run Day and the annual Black Bear Sprint Triathalon in Maryville.
Mixing up the Veterans Salute competition a bit will be a Rock Competition option. Runners weighing less than 150 pounds will carry 10 pounds in a rucksack, while those weighing more than 150 will carry 20 pounds.
Ruck runners are encouraged to fill their rucksacks with non-perishable food items, which ultimately will be donated to the Shepherd of Hope Food Pantry in Faith Lutheran Church, also located along Jamestown Boulevard.
Additionally, a portion of the race proceeds will go to the United Veteran’s Council of East Tennessee in support of its Wreaths Across America program.
The last section of the race path will be a “Veterans Salute Corridor” in Founders Park at Campbell Station, where signs will be placed honoring, or in memory of, specific veterans.
“We got the idea from running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.,” explained Cheryl Hadinan, Shahin’s wife and Fleet Feet co-owner. “They have a Blue Mile in honor of service members, and they have signs of fallen service members along the way.
“It is a very moving point in the race, to think of their sacrifice, and we thought it might be good for this race, too, in memory and honor of our vets,” she added.
Organizers are inviting the community to come with their sign in support of our veterans and are also working on recruiting local Boy Scout Groups and Reserve Officer Training Corps branches to help pass out American Flags and support the racers.
“Even if they don’t run, they could cheer on the runners,” said Tindal, who is a runner herself. “I know it makes people feel awesome.”
Entry fees are $15 for the Fun Run, $25 each for the 5K and 10Ks, or $35 if runners choose to combine the two races.
Awards for top finishers will be presented in a variety of age- and gender-specific categories.
For more information, or to register, visit https://runsignup.com/veteranssaluteraces.