Amid the estimated 1,500 runners, the crisp autumn morning offered a majestic sunrise to all who attended the Go Commando Half-Marathon & 5k race on Saturday, Oct. 20.
As the crowd swelled in front of Mag’s Coffee Shop at the intersection of Commerce Street and Riverside Drive, each contestant was given a number to wear during the race.
“Running makes you feel good — it gives a sense of accomplishment,” said Tara Stokes, a participant from Hopkinsville, Ky. Stokes was accompanied by her friend, Leslie Rogers.
“I like the adrenaline rush that I get,” Rogers said. Both women said they ran in a half-marathon in Nashville last month and heard about this marathon on the radio.
The 5k was 3.1 miles with the mid-point located at APSU’s Govs Stadium, and the 13.1-mile half-marathon looped around APSU and Riverside Drive. There was an abundance of volunteers helping with the race, whether they were issuing runners’ numbers or working the many concession stands.
“We organized the race for the first time last year, when it was at Liberty Park,” said Theresa Harrington, the executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Harrington discussed the race as a stimulus in respect to both business and general health. The business angle of the race is to attract visitors who can come and spend the night in hotels and eat at Clarksville’s many restaurants, bringing revenue into the city.
“Of course, the health and fitness value of the race cannot be upstaged by the revenue it generates,” Harrington said. “A lot of people don’t know what is offered in Clarksville, as a city, and we hope people will return just to enjoy themselves.”
As the runners began to reach the finish line, they received pendants for their participation. An announcement was made that the winners’ names would be posted near the beer truck.
When asked about the crowd drinking beer so early in the morning, a volunteer indicated many of the runners enjoy a cold beer at the end of a race.
A more appetizing feature of the race was the free breakfast of doughnuts, fruit and pastries under the Pavilion at McGregor Park, where the race ended. The crowd had runners and visitors from Tennessee and Kentucky.
Winners of the race were divided into categories, including age and gender, with approximately four major age groups. The overall winner of the 5k was Brandon Dickerson, who finished in 18:13 minutes.
After a successful event Saturday, Oct. 20, another race is in the works for next year.