Overall Rating
Overall Rating (3 Reviews)
4.7
(3 Ratings)  (3 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.7
SCENERY
1.7
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
3.7
The Southern Harvest Marathon, 5K and 1.6 Mile Walk will take place at Southern WV Community and Technical College in Williamson, West Virginia. The route flows into both states of West Virginia and Kentucky. Very fast course…ideal for PRs! Half Marathoners will receive a hooded sweatshirt and 5ker will receive … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Nicholas Mounts
    theserialfisher FIRST-TIMER '20

    After almost 2 years of running and one marathon, the pandemic hit and pretty much every race in the world was canceled. Then the Damn You, Covid, Damn You Endurance … MORE

    After almost 2 years of running and one marathon, the pandemic hit and pretty much every race in the world was canceled. Then the Damn You, Covid, Damn You Endurance Challenge” event popped up on my Facebook feed and I wondered. Will this be canceled too? Luckily it was not and on a crisp, Saturday morning I found myself amongst a small but enthusiastic group of runners ready to dive feet first into my first ultramarathon.

    Since 2020, the race has been renamed and a 5k and a Half Marathon have been added, but on this day in November 2020, it was a small, 24 hour race around the Floodwall in West Williamson, WV: a flat, 2 mile loop around a long, monotonous, gray wall by the Tug Fork River. After a socially distant gathering at the starting line and a word from the R.D., we were off.

    The first 25 miles went well. I started at a run a lap, walk a lap pace, just a jog followed by a walk. It was around the 26 mile when I fell, ripping a hole in the knee of my pants and scraping my shoulder. To be honest, the fall wasn’t that bad but the sudden stop made me see stars for a while. I pressed on. This race was filled with peaks and valleys. After that fall, I was fine until about mile 40. That’s when the leg cramps really hit me.

    The volunteers were amazing during this race, almost like a pit crew or something. They immediately saw me limping around and brought a banana, gator-aide, salt tabs, and some energy gel. I was feeling fine again in no time. Then mile 65 smacked me in the face, and I found myself walking. I’m going to be honest, there was a lot of walking after that. So much so that the eventual winner of the race saw my struggle and suggested that I do some fartlek running. Otherwise I was not going to make it close to 100 miles. So I did that. Even though my feet were pretty much just covered in one giant blister, I did it. That was the hardest part of the race actually, the blisters. Although my Hoka Cliftons did just fine, my socks were woefully inadequate. It took a while to recover from the blistering and several toenails were sacrificed for the cause.

    Somehow, with the help of the snacks and drinks provided to me by the volunteers and my wife, I made it through the chilly, monotonous night. It really felt like some kind of fever dream after mile 60. Half the course is parallel to a busy railroad, and the coal train activity really picks up after dark. The rushing train cars howl and echo off the river. They flicker like a strobe-light as they pass, creating gusts of cold wind. At some point in the middle of the night, I was completely alone out there with just my cheap, headlamp to light the way. It actually gets a little spooky, especially when your mind and body are exhausted.

    When the morning light finally broke, I was somewhere around 94 miles. It was too late to hope for 100 miles. It just wasn’t going to happen. This realization was heartbreaking and for the second time in the race (the first time was a brief pause to eat some Wendy’s my wife had brought me), I sat down. After a little moping, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could stagger around the loop one more time. So I did. I dragged myself around that floodwall one more time, stopping at my car long enough to pull out a folding chair and crash a few minutes before the official end of the race.

    This was sort of the beta version of this event, as since then the entire thing has gotten bigger. More races have been added and the entire thing is referred to as The Southern Harvest Festival. But this particular event was post-apocalyptic-bare-bones. In spite of that, the volunteers were amazing and the overall energy was great. The swag was a long sleeve shirt and a buff. Considering the price was very cheap, I’d say they were pretty good prizes. I do, however, wish there would have been some kind of medal. There are several really cool ones you can win now, though. As I’ve said, this was a minimalistic, almost-didn’t-happen type of race. I’m very happy to have had the chance to do it. It’s something i’ll never forget.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    2
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    Profile photo of BJ Fuller
    bjfuller2000 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This race is literally in my backyard and is well put together by my fellow members of the Tug Valley Road Runners Club. Very hilly course that will challenge the … MORE

    This race is literally in my backyard and is well put together by my fellow members of the Tug Valley Road Runners Club. Very hilly course that will challenge the most seasoned runner. Was my 3rd ever sub-2 Half Marathon!!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of BJ Fuller
    bjfuller2000 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    A great half near my hometown put on by the Tug Valley Road Runners Club, who also host the Hatfield McCoy races every year. A rough course but well put … MORE

    A great half near my hometown put on by the Tug Valley Road Runners Club, who also host the Hatfield McCoy races every year. A rough course but well put together and some sweet swag.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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