Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
5
(1 Ratings)(1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
5
An urban ultra to start spring off with a bang! The Pistol Ultra Run near Knoxville, TN, has quickly become very popular, always filling before registration closes. With distances from 13.1 to 150 miles, there’s something for everyone! Runners score some great swag, can enjoy an optional pre-race pasta dinner, … MORE
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Recent reviews

    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '19

    The Pistol was my first 100k and I chose it based on reviews and word of mouth enthusiasm for the event. It did not disappoint and I would say the … MORE

    The Pistol was my first 100k and I chose it based on reviews and word of mouth enthusiasm for the event. It did not disappoint and I would say the best thing about it is in fact the people. It was a whirlwind but here are my thoughts:

    Organization: top notch. Everything you need to know is on the website in orderly runners’ manuals, including lodging, course, aid stations, expo, parking, awards, and more. If you still had a question, there was a lot of discussion and help from prior pistol runners and organizers in the Facebook group. The entire race seemed to go off without a hitch but I know that’s because they were running around behind the scenes to make everything seamless.

    Expo: It was more of a packet pickup than expo, which was fine by me. The start/finish, race meetings, packet pickup, etc all took place in the Pistol Corral, which was the common area of the very nice high school. It was comfortable, had lots of seating, and indoor bathrooms. Packet pickup was simple. I got my bib, t-shirt, sweatshirt (which I pre-ordered), free Injinji socks (awesome!), water bottle, and various other swag. Everything went in the nice clear Pistol tote bag (way better than a drawstring backpack). I also bought the awesome Pistol trucker hat. You could buy shirts, mugs, cups, glasses, shirts, etc. on site and see the awards displayed on a table. There was a pre-race meeting at 5pm and then I went off to eat my night-before-steak at nearby Sullivan’s in Marysville. They had a pasta dinner at the school I believe.

    Race morning: Our hotel was only a couple of miles from the high school. We got coffee and went to get our parking spot. 100k and 100 miler runners got a parking pass which let us park basically right next to the start/finish area and high school entrance, meaning you could crew out of your car. Some people set up tents and canopies on the grass too. My husband was my crew and this worked out wonderfully. I didn’t need much but I could call him when I was getting close to the school again and if I needed something, I could meet him at the car on my way back out. The weather for us was spectacular (I got sun burned!) – cool and clear, but had it been rainy or frigid, or if I had been running through the night, I would have been very happy to have such easy access to my supplies. Super convenient. Additionally, he was able to hang out inside the school in relative comfort. The one thing I’d suggest is they grill some burgers or something so crew/spectators can have some decent food during the day/night (what a good fundraiser!). But lesson learned, bring food if you’re supporting a runner.

    Course: The route is a 10 mile loop basically, running by the creek/river, through the park, and all along the greenway. It really is a very pretty park and place to run. It’s still open to the public but I didn’t have any problems with having other people around. It definitely is not a flat course, there are hills, some steep, some not, but nothing that is super long and arduous. Though the more laps you do, the bigger they seem. Additionally, this whole course is paved – either on a path or road/sidewalk. It’s very well marked so pretty hard to get lost but the surface takes a toll. My hat’s off to the 100mile runners, my feet/legs felt thrashed after 100k!

    You get to see runners frequently, and everyone is SO supportive of each other. Friendly, encouraging, funny. Aid stations were fantastic. Because it’s essentially a big loop, you pass by the main aid station, Lucky’s, and Woody’s several times and the volunteers there were TOP NOTCH. Great food options, lots of beverage choices (I was a huge fan of the ginger ale). The people were so helpful, getting you whatever you wanted, helping to fill bladders and bottles. Fantastic!

    Finish etc.: The downside of the course is that the little turnaround loop takes you past the school finish area, down a hill, around a cone, and then back up the hill – I grew to hate that little loop! But, crossing the finish line, hearing my name, was such a thrill. I almost broke down in tears when I stopped and got to hug my husband right after the finish. It was truly an amazing mix of absolute delight at being done and the feeling of being emotionally and physically exhausted. Post-finish, I went inside the school (gotta keep the legs moving), checked my results and learned I was the 4th woman across the line which meant first in my age group. I got my boxed up Pistol 100k trophy (so cool), my age place award Pistol mug (very pretty ceramic mug), got my picture taken, and then picked up some chocolate milk (there were food options but I wasn’t hungry). Then it was back to the hotel to clean up and rest!

    Overall, if you’re a first time 100k, 50k, 50 miler (which starts at 8pm, by the way, the 100k and 100 mile started at 8am, 50k started at 7:55am), 100 miler, or whatever, this is a great race to give it a shot. The cutoff is generous, 32 hours, so lots of time to get it done. The people – volunteers, organizers, aid station workers, spectators, and other runners – make it even better. The scenic course and great swag are worth it too. I highly recommend any of the distances to any aspiring or veteran ultra runners.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
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