On Feb.18, the Hendersonville Running Club conducted a special tribute to long time member Charlie Taylor. He had struggled with cancer and the earlier in the week, he had been placed in hospice care.
Our club sent out invitations to 'Run for Charlie.' Later that day, he passed away. He was a local business man, owning Charlie Taylor Homes in Gallatin. Others knew him as a musician, church choir member and mini-farmer.
Among the running community, he was a legend. So many times he did outrageous challenges in running events that many others would not tackle - The Big Dog - a four-mile route that must be completed within an hour, and continue every hour until he was unable to toe the line the following hour, and The Barkley - a 100-mile trail ultra that covered mountains, valleys and rough terrain of the Frozen Head State Park, Charlie attempted it several times.
Another race was the Last Annual Vol State 500K - a 314-mile race that begins at the Mo.-Tenn. state line and finishes near Chattanooga. It took Charlie about six days to complete.
He also competed in the 24- hour 'Run for Water' race with the proceeds going to supply fresh water in third world countries. He finished in 2nd place with 106 miles. He ran multiple other races with distances of 3.1 miles to 50 miles.
His running career was rooted in high school, participating and helping to win a state title in cross country. He came back to running when he was nearing 50.
To promote the 'Walk across Sumner' he ran across Sumner County, a 34-mile route from north of Westmoreland to Goodlettsville, then ran back to Volunteer State Community College. Even after several operations that included removing part of a kidney and half of his colon, he still made himself finish the Flying Monkey marathon that is held in Warner Parks. He also competed in the Country Music marathon several times.
He had a very large collection of finisher medals, and received the Hendersonville Memorial Day Classic 'Inspiration award'; the HRC 'Forrest Award' and the HRC 'Yayhoo Award.'
Our communities and running communities, as well as his church, have lost a valuable member and inspiration to all that will never be forgotten.