October 25

The Course

9  comments

The course for the Great Smoky Mountains Half is a beautiful run through the woods just outside the majestic Smoky Mountains. The course begins at the high school in Maryville and ends in Townsend, just under a mile from the National Park boundary. The finish line is in a field with a beautiful view of the mountains.

We originally planned a course that went along E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, occasionally going off the road into the woods for some scenic stretches. After talking with some locals and going over the course, we have decided to have the majority of the course be off the main road and through the beautiful back woods areas along the Old Walland Hwy. This is a gorgeous course. We will be running through the woods, past old cemeteries and churches, and along the river.

Miles 9 – 12 will be even further away from the main road, and this is where some of the hills come in. There is a 364 foot elevation gain on this course. It is a subtle and steady gain. Along these last few miles you have a few ups and downs, but nothing too bad.

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We will post a few photos and videos from the course soon.

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Hard Questions

Hard Questions
  • The “Training” page and “FAQ” state that it’s a downhill race, but this is showing slow, steady uphill. Just wondering which one is accurate?

    • Sorry for the confusion. The profile is correct, the other pages had bad info that I just corrected. The references to the downhill were to an alternate course we were pursuing. The race is a very gradual uphill.

  • I’ve ridden and run on the this route many times and have encounter very little issues with the local yocals. I have done the Summer Soltice after you make the left turn yes the residence in that area are somewhat not happy with us blocking the road. Please come to this run, it’s beautiful along the river.

    • Thanks for your comment Sharon. All the locals we have worked with have been great so far. Every community has some bad apples I guess. :)

      The run next to the river is going to be SO PRETTY! We can’t wait!

  • My wife and several friends also did the Summer Solstice in Walland. Obscenities were yelled at them and they also noted that the water tables had been tipped over. You need to be very adamant with local law enforcement about being visible in that area of the race. There are decent people living there, but the bad apples really pop out if they see someone on foot or bicycle. Perhaps a large group of volunteers equipped with video equipment might be a deterrent.

  • I have volunteered and run races in that area and Walland is not race friendly. While volunteering for the Summer Solstice race, a Knoxville Track Club race this past June, the local were extremely un friendly, the items left for the water station was pushed into a ditch, the drivers tried to run off runners of the course and we got shouts of go back to Knoxville and leave country folks and their roads alone. I ran the Parker Realty Wears Valley 15k which starts and finishes away from Walland and that route was friendly andsafe.

    • Thanks for the heads up Nina. We are working with local law enforcement to make sure everyone is safe. We’ll do some community outreach as well to try and get everyone on board.

  • […] The course starts in Maryville and ends in Townsend. We will also have shuttles worked out though we don’t have much information on them right now. So your obvious two choices are Maryville and Townsend. Both towns offer a variety of hotels, cabins, bed & breakfasts, etc. These are the two options closest to the race start and finish and to the entrance to the park. […]

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