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Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5k

October 18, 2016

by: Mike Ellsworth

This is a landmark year for the Liberty Mountain Trail Series. We will be hosting our 10th annual Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5k at the Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center. This event has been the most popular race in the Trail Series through the years. It draws experienced trail runners who compete in the 13.1 mile course as well as many other runners who choose to participate in the 5k. In lieu of the history of this year’s event, I talked with Josh Yeoman, one of the previous directors of the race, to gain some more insight on what this race means to him.

The half marathon course was developed in 2007. The first Deep Hollow race director was Dave Christen, who is currently the race director for the Boulder Ironman and Triathlon series in Boulder, CO. The initial course was very tough due to a much larger elevation gain and loss compared to the current course. It included the old “Deep Hollow Trail”, from which the race initially got its name. That trail no longer exists, having been incorporated into what is now “Horton’s Loop”, but the Deep Hollow name has survived to this day. The first Deep Hollow event was a very grassroots event with 76 finishers.  Josh remembers a “very competitive spirit in the air that morning”, something that has defined the event ever since.

Deep Hollow is our longest course, typically has our most participants, has the longest standing history, and requires the most preparation. This makes it our favorite event! Race weekend usually occurs around peak foliage and ensures a beautiful event on Liberty Mountain. Josh shared that “the most vivid memories are the hours of hard work behind the scenes, the late nights getting final preparations and the early mornings getting last minute details organized.” 

This race has meant so much to Josh over the years because it is tied to many of his lifelong memories, both good and bad. Josh shared with me that the first race was held only two months after he married his wife and the event has always been a milestone for them. The event also reminds him of his mother, whom he lost just one week before the 2011 event. During that difficult season, he found encouragement through the race: “I was able to see so many people come together from different walks of Lynchburg in support of me and this event.” In 2009, Josh met the late Major Mike Donahue for the first time at Deep Hollow. Their relationship grew and Mike was integral in establishing the Liberty Mountain Trail Series. Sadly, Major Donahue passed away in 2014 serving our country in Afghanistan. One of the other races in the Series, the Mike Donahue Memorial Valley View 5 Miler, bears his name in remembrance. “To me, Deep Hollow is a testament to what can happen beyond just running, when a community of people come together for a common purpose,” Josh said.

I have spent the last 7 years working this race with Josh and it has always been a highlight of my year. My favorite memories include dropping aid stations before sunrise and the spirit of camaraderie after a successful event. Josh has grown into a good friend and mentor to me over the years and I couldn’t be more honored or excited to take the reins this year. He will be running the course this year as a participant for the first time, and with him runs the legacy of this event. Deep Hollow continues to be a race that brings people together year after year, and I am so thankful for him, Dave Christen, and many others for making it a continued reality.

 



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