Saturday I will be running in the Oak Barrel Half Marathon for the first time. The race takes place in Lynchburg, TN, which is in Middle Tennessee and has a much more hilly terrain than here in Memphis. Lynchburg is also the home of Jack Daniels Whiskey, even though it is in a dry county. Jack Daniels is a title sponsor of the event and my trip there this weekend will include a tour of their facility after packet pickup on Friday. I will do my usual post race recap about the event, but the more I read about this race, the more anxious I get about the course. It should be challenging, beautiful, and fun. For those of you unfamiliar with the terrain, I thought I would share what I will be facing on Saturday.
The major obstacle is dubbed Whiskey Hill, which is appropriate for Lynchburg. Whiskey Hill even has its own Facebook page and is the feature of the course that separates the race from others in Middle Tennessee. The Oak Barrel website says the following about the course:
This is NOT a flat course.
There is one character building hill (Whiskey Hill) that starts at about mile 4.
Whiskey Hill is a gradual climb for about a mile. The last little bit of it however gets very steep. The steep part is very short.
There is one other hill that is very short.
There is a gradual downhill section that runs from about mile 9 to 12.
The last mile is flat.
They do not mince words there, now do they? They also warn runners that this is not a PR course, but rather enjoy the challenge and the beauty of the course. That is my plan. I have no specific time goals, but rather I want to enjoy the run and experience. This course will definitely help me mentally prepare for the Country Music Half Marathon at the end of the month.
As you can tell for the photo of the course, Whiskey Hill dominates the course. You are basically running up a ridge, and then back down. So as that steep climb begins, I will be certain to remind myself that what goes up, must come down. This will not be like your grandparents’ stories of walking to school uphill both ways. Also my current PR is on the hilliest course that I have ever run, so I will be reminding myself of that as well.
The race medals have not been advertised yet, but they are made of oak, resembling oak barrels. Apparently you can have the Jack Daniels Master Distiller sign your race medal, which if this is the case, I will certainly do that because it is different from other races.