The Tom King Half Marathon

marathon running

On Saturday March 5th I ran the Tom King half marathon here in Nashville. It has been several years since I have done this race. This year it fell at a great time during my training for Boston, so I decided to do it. Running a half marathon during a training plan for a full marathon is helpful because it is great practice for pacing and it also helps me gauge where I am as far as my fitness level. Running this was a last minute decision because I had to wait for basketball tournament schedules to come out for my kids, and it ended up working out perfectly. However, due to last minute decision I wasn’t able to recruit any friends to join me.

This race was named after one of the founders of the Nashville Striders. (Tom King obviously!) The Nashville Striders was founded in 1970 and there were 17 members. Tom King was the first president and he held that title until 1977. The race was started in 1995 in Percy Warner park to honor Tom King. In 2001 it was moved to the Titans Stadium and they added a 5K. Tom King ran it this year, as he does every year, in his custom shirt that reads “I am Tom King”.

The race starts and ends at the a Titans stadium. It is pretty much an out and back race, and it is very flat. The flat part is nice because it is easy to get into a good pace and hold it. The bad part is that it is a very boring race. It goes through Shelby Park, so there is very little to look at. The most fun part is when you start to pass the other runners after the turn around. There really isn’t any spectators, so at least the other runners give you something to look at! There are no time clocks at the mile markers and at many points there wasn’t even a mile marker. The good thing is that I use my Nike App and my Apple Watch to keep up with my own time. Normally the race ends inside the stadium but there was a last minute change due to a women’s soccer tournament, and we had to finish outside of the stadium this year.

The weather was perfect! It was in the mid thirties at the start, but the sun came out and it warmed up a little. For my liking, it was ideal marathon weather. I ended up running a 1:34:09 and placing 3rd in my age group. It was in my top three best times. I felt great the whole time, although my legs did get tired during th last three miles. As far as holding a fairly even pace, I did better than usual. I definitely feel like it was good good practice for Boston.

I decided to wear my Mizuno Wave Creations, over my Saucony Triumphs. Normally I race in either the Triumphs or the Brooks Glycerin, both are outstanding shoes. I have to say though, I have really become a believer in Mizunos and their energy loss theory. (Stay tuned for my next blog!) I just got my second pair and I do think they are contributing to faster paced runs. As of now I plan to wear them for Boston as well.

When I finished there was water, juice, and bagels at the finish line. Then much to my surprise, when I went inside to check on my official time, I see a whole breakfast spread! It was on the club level of the Titans Stadium. There was a hot breakfast, pastries, and just a very nice setup. There was a great view of the city and tons of tables to sit at. Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay long, I had basketball games and birthday parties to get to! However next year I think I will plan ahead, invite friends, and stay for a while. 🙂

running marathon food

marathon food

marathon food

The race shirt was a nice long sleeve dry fit shirt. I have already worn it a few times. Overall I enjoyed the race and it was a good training run for me. If you like the high energy of a race like the Country Music, this may not be the race for you. It’s smaller, low key, and not very scenic. However, if you want a fast time, flat courses are the place to do it. If you live in Nashville and are training for the Nashville marathon (or any spring marathon) in April, it falls at a great time for many training plans. So I will definitely be back next year, this time with friends, more time to hang out, and big appetite!


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