KNOXVILLE — Farragut was well-represented among top finishers in Covenant Health Knoxville’s first long-distance races following a two-year absence.
A full marathon (26.2 miles) and half marathon (13.1) were run early Sunday, Oct. 3, in downtown Knoxville as part of the weekend’s festivities, which also included a Kids Run and a 5K the evening before.
Four Farragut residents finished either first or second: Stewart Ellington, Amanda Martin, Wil Cantrell and Stacey Clower.
Ellington, a Farragut resident and four-time All-American distance runner as a Tennessee Vol from 1992 to 1996, was male half-marathon winner with a time of 1:23:07 — an amazing feat considering he had just recently completed a year of cancer treatment.
While he downplayed the radiation, two surgeries and chemotherapy he only completed seven weeks ago for colon cancer, Ellington said he was “thrilled it went well.
“I hadn’t trained much and didn’t feel stellar during the race …but proud of the win … looking forward to getting in better shape over the next year,” he added.
A Farragut Middle School cross country head coach of three years (following a four-year run as assistant coach), Ellington also “ran the fastest 10k time for any American college runner in 1995,” he said.
Building on those successes, he has recorded three first-place marathon finishes.
First place honors in the half marathon went to Martin, Farragut High School Class of 2015 alumnae, with a time of 1:19:06. She also was the first female to claim the overall first-place title in event history, according to organizers.
“I am honestly just thankful for the community support and the opportunity,” she said. “I’m lucky to do what I love and impact others through it.”
In the full marathon it was Cantrell, Concord United Methodist Church senior associate pastor, placing second overall with a time of 2:57:19.
Finishing his eighth marathon, “I run about one a year,” he said. “I run a number of shorter races each year, but marathons are generally my big goal for the year.”
Martin and Cantrell run for Knoxville Endurance under coach Bobby Holcombe.
“He’s been with me through it all (on and off since high school) and I credit any success to him,” Martin said.
“Bobby helped me figure out the perfect strategy for staying slow during the first half of the race and trusting that I was fit enough to pick up the pace in the later miles and pass most of the runners near me,” Cantrell said.
Clower was the second female to place in the half-marathon with a time of 3:25:20.
“I knew I could at least do an aerobic pace and cross the finish line,” she said.
“... It was pretty amazing to cross that finish line in second place.
“No one else in my family runs,” Clower added. “My high school didn’t have track, but I always wanted to run and started at 32. It’s been almost 14 years.”