The Liberty Mountain Trail Series hosted its first race of the season, drawing many runners from the Liberty community and the local area.
The Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5k took place on Oct. 10. The race was the first race hosted by LMTS since the COVID-19 shutdowns ended the spring season abruptly.
Understanding the current circumstances that come with COVID-19, this year’s race was different than normal. The half marathon was broken into three heats, and the 5k race was broken up into four heats.
Chip times were used to figure out who the overall winners were. Awards were not distributed in a ceremony at the end of the race; winners collected their awards at another time.
Another change to the race was the registration packet pick-up. Instead of picking up a bib on race day, runners collected them at Green Hall the day before. This was done to allow for more social distancing at the race given the large amount of people present.
Runners were encouraged to show up around 15 minutes before their heat and leave in a timely manner.
As for the race itself, runners were put into a corral five minutes before their heats were set to begin. A horn sounded to signify the beginning of the race and runners quickly launched attacks to set the pace.
The Deep Hollow Half Marathon featured various ascents up mountains, forest roads and trails. The 5k brought runners from Lake Hydaway to Snowflex and back.
Fueling stations in each race ensured athletes could properly hydrate and replenish.
The staff took a log of each racer’s bib to make sure racers reached checkpoints and were still on the course.
At the conclusion of the race, finishers received a Deep Hollow neck gaiter. Runners were also able to eat food provided for them, including pizza, bananas and cookies.
The return of the race season gave students something to look forward to for themselves and their friends. Liberty senior Christian Weaner expressed his delight for the return of the LMTS.
“I really enjoyed the race,” Weaner said. “I’ve done a few of the races over the past couple of years. I think it’s been fun to have something to train for and it’s something that my fiancé and I do together.”
LMTS put on five different races throughout the year to give runners a chance to race competitively. Races vary from the Deep Hollow Half Marathon to a 1-mile sprint up Snowflex, called King of the Mountain.
The next race in the series is the Valley View Mike Donahue 5 Miler. The race will take place on November 14.
Students and interested runners can sign up for the races at https://www.liberty.edu/campusrec/outdoor/races/.
Luke Randle is the Asst. Feature Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @lukeandrewr.