Niswonger Bluegrass Half Marathon raises funds in the chord of fun

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Calling all runners: come join one of the area’s largest — and most fun — running events while helping raise money for a children’s hospital.
The fifth annual Bluegrass Half Marathon is coming up Sept. 21 as a benefit for Niswonger Children’s Hospital, and this year’s run will feature a redesigned route.
“We’ve changed the course a little and we think improved it,” said Karen Hubbs, race coordinator. “I think it’ll actually be a little flatter than before because we’ve taken the longest hill out of the course.”
The 13.1-mile event starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Millennium Centre near East Tennessee State University and will finish at Thomas Stadium, the ETSU baseball facility.
Hubbs said the highlight will be having the finish line inside Thomas Stadium, about 100 feet from the big screen.
“The runners will be on the big screen as they come in, and that’ll be a nice touch,” Hubbs said, adding the route passes by Niswonger Children’s Hospital twice — at the beginning and the end of the run.
A post-race party will take place in the stadium parking lot, which Hubbs said will provide a tailgating environment as the runners end their race in the stadium.
Last year’s race had more than 800 finishers, counting individual and relay team participants.
Register online at by 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19. Packet pickup will be Sept. 20 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Thomas Stadium.
Pre-registration for the event is required as there will be no race-day registration or packet pickup.
Participants can also register in the event as individuals or as part of a four-person relay team in family, corporate or open categories. Relay teams must have at least one female participant, and team members will pass the baton at designated relay points located at 3.5 miles, 6.5 miles and 9.5 miles through the course.
The event will also feature a wheelchair/hand-cycle division.
The race has earned a reputation as a fun experience, with live bluegrass music provided by the ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Department at the start, the finish and at each relay handoff area.
There will also be vendors, refreshments and awards after the race.
As a prize, the top three overall male, female, masters (age 40-49) and grandmasters (age 50 and up) finishers will each receive a miniature guitar.
Registration is $50 for individuals and $120 per relay team if registered by Sept. 15. After that, costs are $60 for the individuals and $140 per team until registration closes on Sept. 19.
For more information, visit or contact Hubbs at 946-0519 or

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