Friday, June 25, 2010

Hatfield and McCoy Marathon

What I did on my summer vacation. I ran the Hatfield and McCoy Marathon. As part of our yearly vacation to WV, I decided to add on a WV marathon. This would be 7 weeks after Boston. I wanted to see how I would feel running 2 marathons back to back. Because of nutritional errors at Boston, I didn't feel like I ran a hard Boston or that I was physically drained. I didn't feel tired or sore when I resumed running after a few days. I consulted Pftizinger's book for a guidelines to running in between the marathons. We did two 17 milers in the 7 weeks between and a 13 miler. A few short tempo sessions but no real focus on speed. The plan was to do Hatfield more as a training run and stick together given the remote area.
Williamson WV sits in southern WV along the Kentucky border and is the site of the Hatfield and McCoy famous feud. There is a great book named the Coffin Quilt that I read before the marathon that tells the story from the perspective of a McCoy child. It was a great read that described the area and locations that we would actually run by. Places like Blackberry mountain that was the steepest climb for about 1 mile. The site of the McCoy massacre and cemetery was also depicted.
My daughter, her boyfriend and Carol and Tom drove down to Williamson from Morgantown in just over 4 hours. They had a tent setup for registration and timing band pickup. There was a map of the course and Addie and Blake confirmed their volunteer water stop at mile 23 at the site of a scrap metal yard. Of note although Addie is a very experienced driver over distance, she has never driven on back narrow hilly roads and was quite concerned. She was told to go to the DQ and make a left and follow the road till she sees the scrap yard. Right on. She did nervously with us as co pilots the day before to get her courage up.
We stayed about 30 minutes from the race start because of limited lodging in the town. Amazing enough, I met Ashland Dave from the podcast Running in the center of the universe at the hotel. He had just finished a 50 mile trail run and had two banaged feet.
We arrived about thirty minutes before the start at the Food City grocery store. There were no significant lines at the porta potties. A first in any race I have attended. We took pictures and lined up with about 450 runners including the half and whole distance. 49 states and 3 countries were represented with many being from the marathon maniacs or 50 staters. Off we went to the start of a shot gun. We went up country roads weaving in and out of WV and Kentucky. As we started up Blackberry Mountain the first thunder boomer occurred followed by a torrential downpour. It didn't last that long but was rather soaking. I am now a fan on Iniji toe sox. No blisters despite 4 plus hours of wet feet. It rained on and off and was moderately humid. There were aid stations every mile with plenty of water, sports drink and friendly faces. Rosanna McCoy and her Hatfield boyfriend were at one of the stations. We ran on small side roads, gravel and even some dirt/mud trails. We ran across a beautiful golf course and swinging wooden bridge. The finish was back in Williamson with Mr. Hatfield and Mr. McCoy waiting. Our time was slow but I felt strong during the last three miles with a pace in the 10:30min/mi range when we split up when we entered into familial territory. It was great seeing Addie and Blake at their water station at mile 23. They were great sports handing out drinks and support in the pouring rain in the middle of no where.
The finish was well supported with cheering crowds and plenty of food and drink. We receive a finishers medal along with a pleasant cold towel and mason jar containing a Hatfield and McCoy Plaque.
I always thought I liked marathons because of the huge crowd sensation. Now I believe the small town scene is also quite neat. I look forward to more small marathons as well as the big city scenes.
It was very special running a marathon in my home state and introducing my friends to the wonderful people and scenery. We even had breakfast with the race director the next day at Hardee's along with everyone else in the town. He was a very humble man with great insight for the race and his town.

1 comment:

  1. great race report! and neat video as well. I agree with your comments about the race director, Dave Hatfield. I also had an opportunity to speak with him some before the race. He is a gentleman and his love for his town is evident when he speaks.