Cantrell finishes 2nd in Knoxville Marathon

Cantrell finishes 2nd in Knoxville Marathon

By Concord United Communications Team

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rev. Wil Cantrell, senior associate pastor at Concord United Methodist Church, finished second overall in the Knoxville Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 3, with a time of 2 hours, 57 minutes.
 
Warm, wet weather and hilly course made for a challenging day for runners with most finishers running 10-20 minutes slower than their personal best. Cantrell credits his coach, Bobby Holcombe, and the Knoxville Endurance team for helping him prepare and coming up with a race plan which fit his strengths and his mindset.
 
“Bobby, help me figure out the perfect strategy for staying slow during the first half of the race and trusting that I was fit enough to pick up the pace in the later miles and pass most of the runners near me,” said Cantrell. “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go slow at the beginning when other runners were flying by me and I would have crashed and burned in the final miles.” 
 
Fellow runners and church members often ask Cantrell if he writes his sermons in his head while running.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Cantrell, who preaches weekly and oversees communications at Concord. “When I am running I literally just think about my pace, my heart rate, my stride and the pavement. No deep thoughts at all. I do think, however, that having a sport like running which forces you to focus completely on a physical task helps me focus better when it’s time to tackle spiritual tasks like sermon preparation or pastoral care.”
 
“I also love the people I meet running and the way running breaks down barriers,” says Cantrell. “In every day life, age and professional status can sometimes make it hard for people to know how to relate authentically to each other. But when you’ve just done a tough workout and everyone is in some stage of recovering oxygen debt, it’s amazing how suddenly it is so easy to relate to everyone as equals.”
 
When asked immediately after the race about his future race plans, Cantrell responded, “I’ve got no idea. But ask me tomorrow and I bet I’ll have ten different ideas. Then I’ll sit down with my family and then my coach to figure out the right ones. I’ve run enough to learn that if your family and your coach are all about it, you can probably do it. And if they are not, you shouldn’t even try.”