A local man decided last week to run Sunday's Chattanooga Marathon and won the fourth annual event.
Hixson resident Adam Veron wasn't sure he would race but decided to run to test his fitness ahead of next month's Boston Marathon. He finished with a personal record of 2 hours 48 minutes and 15 seconds to claim the overall victory in the city-backed event.
"I signed up impulsively just to see where I was physically," he said. "I wasn't full of aches and pains, so I decided to give it a shot."
The goal was to be done in 2:50:00, a pace of about 6 minutes and 30 second per mile. The time would have been 8 minutes faster than last year's race in which he finished second to local runner Christian Thompson. Thompson is training for the 2020 U.S Olympic Team Trials and was competing in another event this weekend, Veron said.
Veron finished the race to little fanfare in a herd of runners finishing the half marathon.
A full marathon runner had already crossed the finish line, so Veron had happily settled with a personal best time, another second place finish and bragging rights as the top local runner.
However, the Collierville, Tennessee-runner who finished minutes ahead was quickly disqualified. He had gotten off course and partially ran the wrong route, which was short of the full 26.2 miles.
The mistake meant Veron, who has competed in each of the Chattanooga Marathons, was the winner.
In the women's event, McDonald, Tennessee, resident Elizabeth Perry won for the first time. She beat Andrea Zmaj and Monica Joyce, who placed second and third, respectively.
The marathon was also this year's Roadrunner Club of America state championship for Tennessee, making Perry and Veron state champions.
"The weather held nicely, and you couldn't have asked for a better day," Veron said. "The energy out here is pretty incredible. We have a great city."
Heavy rain held off for most of the morning. Most half-marathon participants as well as the fastest marathon runners were able to finish under cloudy skies and drizzle before heavy rain drenched the course shortly after 11 a.m.
Still on the course were Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Danna Vaughn and Elizabeth Simon, who was completing her 50th marathon in 50 states.
Vaughn was running with a group participating in honor of fallen veterans. The movement is led by Nashville area-based organization Memories of Honor.
Each of the couple hundred participants drew a race bib from several large piles with names of fallen veterans. The local officer unlikely found the name of U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith. Smith was killed during a terrorist attack at the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015.
A Marine Corpse veteran and colleague of Vaughn's had recommended she participate in the tribute. She agreed and wanted to honor a Navy veteran since her father had been in the Navy.
"I picked up a pile and started flipping through it, and the first Navy name I came to was Randall Smith," Vaughn said. "I'm a spiritual person, so I think it was a God thing I felt very humbled and privileged."
Vaughn's race medal will be donated to Smith's family.
Just ahead of Vaughn was Simon running alongside her family. The Chattanooga race completed her 11-year journey to run a marathon in every state.
About 25 family, friends and colleagues watched the Cox Communications director and mother of four complete the race in her specially-made No. 50 race bib with her husband, Rob.
Three of her kids and her husband ran the marathon relay alongside her as she completed the full race.
"I loved running with my kids. That was probably my favorite part of this whole thing They're the most special people in my life," she said, hugging her daughter.