Blount Schools administrator wins 100-mile race
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
A Blount County system-level administrator won a 100-mile race on her second attempt.
Kathy Smith, extended school program coordinator, recently won the Georgia Jewel race held in Dalton, Ga. She was named the race’s overall and ladies winner.
Smith finished in 24:24:29, more than two hours ahead of the second-place runner. She finished more than 4½ hours ahead of the second-place female runner.
Competitors ran on the Georgia Pinhoti trail, starting and ending at the Northwest Georgia Trade & Convention Center. The course is about 70 miles of single track trail, 21.5 miles of terrain suited for off-road vehicles and 8.5 miles of paved road.
The course runs across five mountains, as well as several ridges of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The course’s lowest elevation is 770 feet and highest elevation is 1,788 feet atop Dug Mountain.
Runners experienced a rocky trail with a lot of roots and several stream crossings. They also climbed 16,053 feet due to the course’s out and back nature.
Smith was impressed with course. “The trail was easy to follow, and everyone was very knowledgeable at the aid stations. The race went really smooth for me. I was able to set a consistent pace.
“When I got to the turnaround, there was only one guy ahead of me,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking about winning at that time. I was focused on maintaining my pace and putting together a good race. My pacer, Leah Jones, was able to help me maintain pace, and we were able to put some distance between us.”
Smith said she didn’t encounter any challenges, fatigue or otherwise, until the final miles. “As long as I’m moving, I just don’t get tired. When it got dark, I was able to find my way with the head lamp. I didn’t have any problems until I came upon the rock garden near the end. I had to cautiously hop and skip over them, because I didn’t want to get hurt at the end. After getting through the rock garden, I started to feel tired and my feet were sore. I just wanted the race to be over, so I had to stay focused.”
After completing the race, the administrator took a nap in her family car until friend Tony Owens completed the race. Owens finished in 28:25:23.
Smith, 48, started running in high school and competed two years on the boys cross- country team. She traditionally ran as the team’s fourth or fifth boy at varsity meets.
The administrator competed in numerous road marathons before switching to trail races in recent years. She has run in races across the Southeast, including Oak and Pine mountains.
Smith also competes in the Knoxville Track Club’s Treadin’ Trodden Trail Series.
Prior to the Georgia Jewel, Smith had only participated in one other 100-mile race. She competed last year in the DoubleTop 100, which goes across the Cohutta Mountains in northern Georgia.
The administrator finished in slightly less than 28 hours.