Oct 6, 2009

Fall trail series kicks off with Deep Hollow Half Marathon

by Mallory Barks

Like many student athletes, Associate Director of Student Activities Josh Yeoman used to see running as punishment for poor performance in other sports, not as a sport itself. But Dr. David Horton’s running class inspired Yeoman to become a runner and eventually create the Liberty Mountain Trail Series (LMTS).

Yeoman and Student Activities will host the Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5K, the third race in the LMTS, at Camp Hydaway Oct. 17.

According to Yeoman, this is the third Deep Hollow race on Liberty Mountain, but this is the first time it will be part of Student Activities and the LMTS.

The LMTS consists of four races: the Candler’s Mountain 5K in February, the Bald Mountain 10K in May, the Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5K in October and the Valley View Five Miler in November. Each race in the LMTS is an individual race, but they are also a combined competition. According to Yeoman, runners accumulate points for each race, and at the end of the year the students with the most points will be recognized.

Yeoman wanted to create the LMTS because of the wide interest among Liberty students in running. Liberty currently owns over 60 miles of trails.

“Running is a big deal at Liberty and in Lynchburg in general,” Yeoman said. “Not many towns, let alone universities, have that many trails … so we’re kind of unique. I want to expose (students) to these trails … (and to) something that they can take with them the rest of their life.”

Yeoman is excited that the LMTS is already popular, even though it is only in its first year.

“It’s turned out to be a success,” Yeoman said. “I’m surprised with (students) that have come out and done this that wouldn’t normally come out and do it.”

“Something about the amount of preparation and training to be able to do (a half marathon) makes this a milestone and an unforgettable experience for many (people),” Student Activities employee Christine Pettit said.

While a majority of the runners at Deep Hollow will be Liberty students, Yeoman expects about 40 percent of the participants to be from the Lynchburg community and surrounding areas.

“(This is) one of the few activities that … draws in the public as well,” Yeoman said. “(The LMTS is) something I wish we had when I was (a student) here.”

“It is awesome to see so many students … and the public get excited about this and run it as one unified group,” Pettit said.

In the Deep Hollow race, participants can choose to run either a 5K or a half marathon, both of which are trail races. According to Yeoman, the 5K course goes from Camp Hydaway to Snowflex and back, and the half marathon course circles the perimeter of Liberty’s property beyond the ridgeline. Both courses offer a variety of terrain, and neither requires expert skill level.

All participants will receive a meal after the race and a race T-shirt if they register by Oct. 10. Awards will be given to the top three men and women overall and the top three finishers in each age group.

According to Yeoman, however, trail races are not as competitive as road races, and people are more focused on enjoying the experience.

“Everyone can come together and … relate in the sense that they’ve accomplished something,” Yeoman said. “It’s not so much about how fast you did it, but just the fact that you … did it.”

Sophomore Katie Mieden is in Dr. Horton’s running class this year and plans to run the half marathon for the first time.

“I’m really excited to push myself and accomplish something that … just a year ago … I never dreamed I would be capable of,” Mieden said. “I don’t really care what my time is. I just want to finish it.”

With the LMTS, running is no longer a punishment.
“Run for enjoyment,” Yeoman said. “It’s OK to walk.”
Students can sign up for the Deep Hollow race at Student Activities or at ultimatelu.com.

Contact Mallory Barks at mjbarks@liberty.edu.

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