The 8th Annual Hops and Hope 5K and Octoberfest

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- It was a race where the runners lined up at the starting line and finished in the keg line.

More than 170 runners and walkers hit the road for the 8th Annual Hops and Hope Octoberfest on Sunday afternoon.

The race raised money for Knox County's Faith Based 'Fish Food Pantry."

For the runners the sweat and beer were in no short supply.

"The running is going to be grueling, said Owen Rhodes before the race started. "I haven't run in a year."

Before it was bottoms up for Rhodes, he was to endure the 5 Kilometer race along with 175 other runners while avoiding runners cramps.

Though the finish line would be enough incentive for any runner, he saw other benefits to the race.

"It's an opportunity to do something good for my community," Rhodes said, "which always feels great."

A 5K is equal to 3.1 miles, and every step mattered.

"It is run to raise money for Fish Food Pantry, which is an interdenominational pantry that provides food to those who need it in Knox County," said Allan Morgan, the race's director.

The race also provided runners with refreshment that wasn't limited to a sports drink or the old standard, H-2-O.

"The beer adds a nice flavor to it," Rhodes said.

Yes, you heard right, after runners tapped into energy for the race, they tapped into kegs for beer.

Not to mention bratwurst and baked potatoes.

But why the odd combination of physical activity and alcohol consumption?

"Just because it's the time of year," Morgan said, "and I like beer."

The race was no piece of strudel either as the runners had an up-hill finish to earn it their reward.

"The last 200 yards were torturous," said John Smartt, "there's no other way to put it."

Smartt was not the faster runner in the race, but at 88, he was the oldest.

"This is a very worthy cause that I wanted to support," he said.

As for Rhodes, he thought the combination off good beer with a good cause was great motivation. ...

" It was the only way I could keep myself going," he said.

Morgan called the race a huge success.

This year's race attracted about 40 more runners than last year.

It also raised between $3,000 and $4,000 dollars.


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