This past weekend, almost 100 runners toed the line for the XTERRA Panther Creek Half Marathon in Morristown, Tennessee.
Nestled around a finger of Cherokee Lake, Panther Creek State Park presents a rural playground for mountain bikers and trail runners alike. Winding through the State Park, trail runners encountered plenty of rocks, roots, and climbing to test their grit. Pioneers from North Carolina and the older Watauga Settlement in East Tennessee arrived in this area around 1785. Prior to this time, the Cherokee Indians were the most prominent Native American tribe in the area. Today, the park has 17 different hiking trails covering more than 30 miles of terrain at all levels of difficulty.
David McDaniel was the overall XTERRA Panther Creek Champ and won the half marathon in 1:48:47. Fourteen-year-old Noah Kilgore was second just a minute behind him in 1:49:57, and Bond Almand III was third in 1:53:56.
Kilgore is the reigning XTERRA Trail Run National Champ in the 10-14 age-division. This year, Kilgore won his age group at XTERRA Thrill in the Hills 21K, the XTERRA Little Mulberry Park Trail Run, and the XTERRA Battle at Big Creek Trail Run. He finished in the top 20 overall at these races.
Kilgore’s brother also runs but is recovering from a stress fracture. Both boys will be at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah this September.
In the women’s division, Katie Taylor was first over the line in 2:12:58. Constance Bailey was second in 2:15:28, and Leah McDaniel was third in 2:17:38.
Almost 50 more athletes competed in the XTERRA Panther Creek four-mile race. Bond Alaband IV followed in his father’s footsteps and won the whole thing in 30:26 while Mark Washburn was second in 31:08. Jacob Houser was third in 31:19.
For the women, Kendell McGill won in 38:55. Maria Nia was second in 44:31, and Stephanie Hull was third in 46:10.