I have a question for all of you die-hard readers of the Williamson Daily News’s sports section; who wants to wake up bright and early Saturday morning and run from Williamson, up through Hardy, over the mountain, down through Buskirk, through Matewan, up towards the golf course at Sprigg and all the way up Aflex to end once again in downtown Williamson?
Not many takers? I completely understand.
The 17th annual Hatfield and McCoy Marathon is at the door and runners from all over the world are packing their bags to travel to Williamson. The event has earned itself enough recognition on the interweb that it stretches page to page for 26.2 miles. See what I did there,? wink, wink.
The event does a lot more than panic drivers as they head up Hardy Mountain. Beneath the glistening sweat and bright colored headbands there is a lot to thank this race for. The town of Williamson is nationally recognized in big-time publications because of the race, the racers don’t usually travel alone which helps local businesses, and the story of our beloved Hatfield and McCoys lives on for another year in the hands of the community where it happened, not Dolly Parton and her Pigeon Forger dinner show. Yeah, I said it.
Everyone likes to make a dollar on the Hatfields and McCoys so why shouldn’t we be first in line for that dollar?At this time of year, we completely are first in line for that dollar.
At this point, maybe you’re thinking that the marathon has nothing to do with you; after all you can’t run 26 miles, 13 miles, heck you probably can’t even run five miles. You’re right, you can’t run 26 miles and I suggest you speak to your physician before trying to run up Hardy Mountain anyway but you’re wrong that the race has nothing to do with you. Did you know that apart from the marathon and the half marathon there is also a 5k race? Apparently, you did not because after speaking with one of the events organizers, I found out that the 5k race has way fewer participants signed up than expected at this time.
Hold the phone! Yes, I am telling you that we have a 5k race for the Hatfield and McCoy Marathon. It begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning to be accurate. If anyone is unlocking their phones to ask Google how long a 5k is I can help you out with that right now; it’s 3.5 miles long. That’s not so bad is it?
The immediate question was why are local people not signing up for the 5k? Are they holding onto some type of personal prejudice against a way the event has been set up? Are they not sure what day it starts? Do the Hatfields not want to run beside the McCoys and vice versa? Instead of jumping into drama that is none of my business, I’m going to lean toward maybe not many people know about the 5k portion of the race.
The 5k is 3.5 miles. You will run, walk, or jog from downtown Williamson to the mouth of Aflex and back to downtown again, that is it. Once you cross the finish line, you will be handed a custom event t-shirt, a custom event mason jar with little hillbilly characters on it, and a custom event medal to announce to the world that you have ran in the Hatfield and McCoy marathon, even if it was the last section. You can rub elbows with the smaller Ethiopian fellow as he blows by and say you ran with true athletes, even if you are just a beginner.
Shawn Cool, one of the events organizers, had this to say about the 5k, “We want people to know that there is more than just the marathon, the 5k is for everyone, especially beginners. If you’re thinking about getting in better shape and changing your lifestyle then 5ks are a great place to start. Anyone can run, walk, or jog the event.”
I happen to support Mr. Cool’s point of view. The event is very much a good stepping stone to a healthier life, you seem to get sucked into a group of people who promote healthy eating and fitness, which makes it easier to stay on a diet instead of your friends eating cheese fries and ice cream in front of you. I see Mr. Cool’s fitness stance and raise him a position of pride. You don’t have to listen to us in the newsroom to see time are hard; the less you have the more you cherish the little you do have. It doesn’t matter to me what rules the city council impedes on how the race is run or who gets what share. The Hatfield and McCoy brand is ours and we should be the most enthused of everyone about it. Many people claim it, it’s been slapped on bottles of moonshine, it’s headlined Saturday night television, it’s been placed on hometown football jerseys, and it’s even gave Kevin Costner his acting career back. I know I enjoyed the absolute heck out of the three-part mini series on the History Channel.
Maybe I have swayed you slightly to sign up for the race, maybe I haven’t. If I did, there are a few ways you can still sign up before the race this weekend. You can sign up on the website www.hatfieldmccoymarathon.net or you can sign up at two separate locations. There will be all sorts of events at the registration at Belfry High School on Friday evening, you can sign up there or if you’re an early bird you can sign up at Food City on Saturday morning starting at 5:30 a.m., the reason for the early registration is so people can sign up for the marathon before it begins at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
There is always a huge pasta dinner for the runners held the night before to promote tourism to the area. At the registration on Friday evening you can also enjoy a wide variety of vendors who will setup in the mezzanine of Belfry’s gymnasium, there you can purchase running equipment, apparel, and Hatfield-McCoy memorabilia.
This year, instead of being the driver who is aggravated because you may get to your destination ten seconds later than you normally would, you can be the runner, walker, or jogger enjoying a nice trip through our beautiful scenery on a morning jog.