Running a flat course in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in the dark of night pushed the Pigeon Forge Midnight 8K to national recognition in “The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races To Run Before You Die.”
Author Denise Malan, an avid runner from Kansas City, Mo., highlights a wide variety of races – some serious, some quirky – in the new book.
The Pigeon Forge Midnight 8K is on the Parkway through the heart of Pigeon Forge on the night of Aug. 1. The start is at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, meaning that everyone finishes the next day.
Some runners finish extremely early the next day. The 2014 winner, Patrick Cheptoek from Bowling Green, Ky., covered the course with a time of 24:21.
“This is one of our favorite events of the year,” said Kristy Altman, executive director of the Knoxville Track Club, which organizes the race. “Running on the Parkway is a thrill for every participant. The route is flat and very fast, allowing participants to do well.”
The Pigeon Forge event began in 1991 as the Pigeon Forge Twilight Road Race and had an 8 p.m. start. It later expanded to an 8K with a midnight start.
It was dormant for a few years and was revived in 2009. Last year, it attracted more than 500 runners. Most were from Tennessee and adjacent states, but some were from as far away as Florida, Ohio and California.
Online registration for the Pigeon Forge Midnight 8K remains open for this year’s race through July 29 at KTC.org. The fee is $30. On-site registration is $40.
Among the other races in “The Runner’s Bucket List” are the Slacker Half Marathon (largely downhill) in Georgetown, Colo., the Cincinnati Gorilla Run (yes, in costume), the Elvis Presley 5K in Memphis (thank you very much) and the Great Kilted Run (with kilts a-flapping) in Seattle.