Monday, June 15, 2009

Once In a Lifetime

Living in Knoxville we had the opportunity of a lifetime last week. The primary East-West interstate running through town has been closed for over a year while MAJOR revamping occurred. Although having I-40 closed has been a moderate inconvenience for us, it has been an interesting project to watch evolve. Last week the project was complete.

As part of the celebration prior to the opening of the new interstate on Friday afternoon the highway department teamed up with the Knoxville Track Club (, as well as a number of local businesses, to host the Fast40Dash, a 1.21 mile race on the new interstate prior to cars being allowed to drive on it. Having a small runner in the house this was not an event we could miss.

The organizers were surprised with the turnout of over 1600 people. Although we arrived too late to get C registered for the actual run we were issued numbers to be included in the Walker Wave. No one was allowed on the interstate without a number. Spectators were required to watch from the Hall Of Fame Bridge running over I-40.

The energy was amazing. Having waited so long and watched the demolition and reconstruction of a portion one of the major transcontinental highways created an excitement I have never experienced before. Each time an announcement was made the crowd perked up waiting for instruction. When the National Anthem was sung the electricity was prominent.

The races were run in six waves: wheelchair, males 39 and under, females 39 and under, males forty and over, females forty and over, and then the Walkers. Although the wait was long for our turn, it was incredibly cool to watch standouts in each wave, both for speed and determination. One of the 39 and under female runners actually moved me to tears upon her finish; despite being extremely overweight and relatively out of shape she ran the race start to finish in a bit over fifteen minutes. She exhibited a courage I did not have seeing as I wouldn’t have even considered running this race.

Once we got our turn we started out together. It didn’t take long for C to decide he was going to run whether we were in the walker group or not. I volunteered to run with him, but couldn’t keep up for long. I smiled, slowed to a walk and told him to get to the timing tent and wait for us. Although I turn him loose at times like this with some trepidation, I remind myself of my calling to give him strong wings to fly on his own…this will be just one of many time I must let him go it alone.

E was less enthusiastic to be participating in this momentous event. Although she wanted to be there she assured us she did not need to run, or walk for that matter, as she would ride in the“strowller.” Lucky for her Barry is wrapped around her finger and ensured she completed the course in true princess style.

It was awesome to partake in such a momentous event knowing it is unlikely I will ever have such an opportunity again. And how many people actually get to take a picture of their children doing what they were told after saying, “Kids, go sit on the freeway.”


  1. That is one of my favorite things about races and things like this~ feeling the excitement of the rest of the crowd and everyone! So cool that you got to be part of this!

  2. Great coverage of the event! Wish I could have been there. It really is a once in a lifetime thing and I am so glad you got to participate. The kids will look fondly on the experience, I am sure.