Hatfield – McCoy Marathon
Williamson, West Virginia
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I race walked the Hatfield – McCoy Marathon on Saturday, June 14, 2008 in Williamson, West Virginia. The race started with the firing of a shotgun in Goody, Kentucky at 7:00 AM. The course was very challenging as it was almost all hills with a three mile climb over Black Berry Mountain near mile 7.5. The course passed most of the sites from the famous Hatfield – McCoy feud and crossed back and forth several times across the Tug River, making entries and departures between Kentucky and West Virginia. In fact the event is held in conjunction with both the Hatfield and the McCoy family reunions. Everybody in the field is assigned to be a family member. I was a Hatfield. I am not sure which family won the feud this year. There were only 411 participants in the marathon and the associated half marathon
This event is well organized with a free pre-race pasta dinner that featured a costumed member from each family tracing the history and events of the feud. There were water stations every mile that had water and sports drink. There was no traffic control except during the first two miles and there was no shoulder to most of the roads. Traffic was minimal and the cars drove slow and respected the runners. The people were extremely friendly and most porches had rocking chairs, many of which were occupied by people watching and saying howdy.
The first half of the course had the mountain and finished in Matewan, West Virginia; however, the second half had very steep short hills on a gravel road with poor footing. Since it rained for about half the race with the temperature in the 70’s, some of the course was muddy and slippery. We also crossed as wet wooden swinging bridge. The last five miles were on a paved road and contained two challenging hills.
The finish line was in Williamson, West Virginia with a shotgun holding Hatfield and a shotgun holding McCoy, one on each side of the line. The rain put a damper on the finish celebration. Overall, I enjoyed the race. It was a unique experience.