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Oak Barrel Half Marathon kicks off April 7

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

Oak Barrel Half Marathon participants run along a rural Moore County road in 2011.

If you frequent the back roads of Moore County, you’ve noticed a trend recently. An increasing number of runners can be seen daily as they train for the third annual Oak Barrel Half Marathon, which takes place on April 7 in Lynchburg.

Of particular focus is the much-dreaded Whiskey Hill – the curving, steep hill on Goosebranch Road that starts between 3.5 miles and 4 miles into the run.

“Whiskey Hill is a path to the top of a ridge line that the course follows for several miles. The hill is about one mile long and starts out fairly gradual. About half way up, it begins to get a little steeper but still pretty manageable. At this point you begin to see the top of the ridge that you are running towards. Once you get within striking distance of the top and to the last switchback on the hill the incline kicks up pretty dramatically. It’s as if Whiskey Hill has taken on its own personality and is laughing and providing that last little challenge,” says the event’s website.

As of Feb. 15, the Mach Tenn Running Club – which co-sponsors the half marathon with Jack Daniel Distillery – reached their1050 participant limit for the 2012 race. As of press time, this includes runners from right here in Lynchburg to as far away as Bavaria, and France.

In conjunction with the race, Jack Daniel Master Distiller Jeff Arnett will be in the Lemonade Room at the Visitor Center on the Saturday of the race from 11:30 a.m. –1 p.m. for a special Oak Barrel Half Marathon bottle signing.

The race begins at 8 a.m. and locals can expect mild traffic delays and road closings to accommodate runners. According to Moore County Sheriff Department officials, deputies will close Highway 55/50 down to one lane to allow runners a safe path. Other side roads such as Goosebranch Road, Lois Ridge Road and Goodbranch Road will close temporarily to allow runners to pass.

“Everything will be finished and roads will be clear by noon,” says MCSD’s Mike Rainey.

Based on past years, folks here in Moore County don’t seem to mind the “inconvenience” much. Many residents, who live along the race route, sit in their front yards and cheer on runners as they pass.

For more information, visit the event’s web page at Or for a complete course map,  click here.