The course takes the runner South on US 119 to Toler, Kentucky, where runners will make a U-turn on the "four-lane" (Highway or Interstate for you city folk) near the Belfry Marathon Station with police assistance and then turn on old 119. Runners will follow old 119 to the bridge across Pond Creek and onto route 319. Immediately after crossing the bridge the course goes left and begins a gradual incline for a brief period.
From Toler the course will take the runner through the coal camps of Hardy, Kenrucky, and a piece of our history following the Hatfield-McCoy Feud.
Once through the Hardy area the course begins to travel through the heart of Feud Country; taking the runner past the Randolph McCoy home place site and the graveyard where Tolber, Bud and Pharmer McCoy are buried along with sister Alifair and brother Calvin. Tolbert, Bud, and Pharmer were tied to pawpaw trees and shot by the Hatfield's for the Election Day stabbing and eventual death of Devil Anse Hatfield's brother Ellison. Alifair and Calvin were killed during the New Year's Eve raid on the McCoy home.
After passing these historic sites, the course continues a gradual incline until the foot of Blackberry Mountain. It's a one mile climb to the top but it's downhill from there!
At the foot of Blackberry Mountain the course passes Rev. Anderson Hatfield's home site. It was at his residence the Hog Trial was held in 1878. This site is also very close to where the Election Day stabbing took place. Also at the foot of Blackberry Mountain the course turns left on route 1056, which runs along Blackberry Creek till it meets the Tug River at Buskirk, KY where the three McCoy's were tied to the pawpaw bushes and shot.
Runners will cross the bridge at Buskirk, KY into Historic Matewan, West Virginia site of the 1020 Matewan Massacre. A gunfight between miners and Baldwin-Felts agents brought in by coal companies to prevent union organization.
Matewan is the finish line for the Half Marathon. Half Marathon runners will have continuous bus service back to Williamson.
Marathon participants will continue out of Matewan back across the Tug River just like the Hatield and McCoy families did during the feud.
The runners will turn right onto River Road. This is a very scenic part of the marathon which crosses the river over a bridge at the the Tug Valley Country Club.
In less than a mile you will cross back into Kentucky. This leg of the run goes past several cemeteries and home places.
The course follows route 292 through Aflex, Kentucky and then turns right onto US 119.
The runners will go less than one mile and take a right for the last time across the Tug River back into West Virginia heading for the finish line near the historic Coal House in Williamson, West Virginia.
It's a challenging, historic 26.2 mile run for the marathon runner as well as for the half marathon runner with the toughest being the first 13 miles.
*Runners have a choice of running two different half marathons: the first half (HM Blackberry Mountain Half) starting the same time as the Marathon in front of Food City at 7AM or the second half (HM River Road Half) starting in Matewan at 8AM.
The 5K will start and finish on 2nd Avenue in downtown Williamson. Race start is 8am.