WILLIAMSON – The weather was perfect for the 14th annual Hatfield-McCoy Marathon on Saturday morning with temperatures in the low 60s and fog draped across the hills of the Tug Valley.
Crossing the finish line first in downtown Williamson with an unofficial time of 2:51 was Grant Stieglitz or Fort Wayne, Indiana, who became the overall winner of the 26.2 mile race.
“This is a challenging course,” Stieglitz said after finishing the race. “It was a good experience. That first hill (Blackberry Mountain) is tough. I drove the route on Friday to check out the course. I’m glad I did.”
This is the sixth marathon Stieglitz has won. He has ran in 20 marathons so far.
Brent Bethianune, of Tucson Arizona, was technically the first to finish the full marathon. He finished the 26.2 miles in his wheelchair. He and two buddies are participating in 50 marathons in 50 states.
A record number of runners participated in the full marathon, two half marathons and the 5-K race held in the Tug Valley as part of the annual festival. There were over 900 runners that registered for the five different races. About every state in the union was represented.
The weather was good for runners as they started at 7 a.m. from the parking lot of Food City in Goody, Ky. The sun started burning throughout the valley around 10 a.m. and the temperatures eventually rose into the low 80s.
Cort Basham of Bowling Green, Ky. won the River Road portion of the half marathon finishing with an unofficial time of 1:27:40.
Local runner Erik Rash easily outdistanced the other runners in the 5-K race with a time of 20 minutes and 28 seconds.
Courtney Lee of Alabama was the first female to finish in the 5-K.
Running is becoming very popular in the area thanks to the Tug Valley Road Runners Club, who organizes the H & M Marathon. They have also been holding monthly 5-K races. Several area runners participated in the 5-K race, which began at Aflex, Ky. and ended in downtown Williamson.
The Williamson Daily News will run a list of the top finishers in each race later this week.