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Saturday, June 14, 2003 -- Matewan, WV - Goody, KY
Hatfield-McCoy Marathon & Half Marathon (iPO Event Id#: 5506)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Marathon Overall] [Marathon by Class] [Half Marathon Overall]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
[2002 Event Coverage]

Race Pic
Concentrating on the finish line
In light of the history-making pact signed by both Hatfields and McCoys, calling an end to the generations-old feud, it seemed natural that the top three spots in the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon were swept by "McCoys", and that the top three spots in the Half-Marathon were swept by "Hatfields". We'll see if this spirit of conciliation continues next year. If the results are flip-flopped, then I'll believe the feud is truly over!

Just as last year, West Virginia's ambassador to the world of running, Carl Hatfield, was the timer for the races. And what a thankless job that is! Carl, though, takes it all in stride, and sets up a fine finish line.

He arrived in Matewan before anyone to set up the finishing area, and did so in a vicious downpour that sent lesser mortals running for cover and diving for their rain ponchos. Once he was certain there were enough volunteers there to keep things going smoothly for the finishers, he dashed off to Williamson to catch the leader before he finished. (Never heard of Carl Hatfield? See last year's coverage for a quick overview of his accomplishments.)

Race Pic
Lined-up and ready to go
In a surprise development, the first finisher for the Half was not Jared Smith, the winner for the past two years. It was, instead, Henry Layne, 34. He finished with a time of 1:18:12 - admirable, considering the weather conditions for much of the race, but not a course record.

Second place went to Frank Stanley, 44, who came in at 1:19:36, then continued on in the marathon. Third place went to last year's winner, with a time of 1:21:00. While competing in such an event is an accomplishment in itself, Smith, 25, was not happy with his performance.

First place female for the Half was Kerrie Sijon, who at 41, finished 8th overall with a time of 1:38:52. Local woman Lisa Salyer, 30, finished with a time of 1:51:07, good enough for second place and 18th overall. And 1:52:48 was good enough for 42-year-old Janet Ritchie to be the 3rd place female and 22nd overall.

Race Pic
Smiling through the rain
Dashing through a sort of gauntlet in Matewan to continue on to Williamson was not without its challenges... not only was traffic an issue at times, but bleachers were set up in front of City Hall that weren't there last year, and that took a huge chunk out of the path usually reserved for the full marathoners to pass right through.

But handling that gauntlet with grace and ease was Tommy Neeson, 34, finishing with a time of 2:47:14. Behind him in second place was a familiar name... that's right, Frank Stanley, who registered for both races, finished second place in the Marathon, as well, with a time of 3:02:49. (For those keeping track, he ran the second half about 13 minutes slower than the first... but who wouldn't?) And third place in the Marathon went to Bill Valenzano, at 3:06:23.

Tracy Steward, 23, and 7th overall was the first female to cross the line after 26.2 miles, and she did so with a time of 3:20:23. Maureen Tobin, 39, was the second female, finishing 38th with a time of 3:57:05. And 28-year-old Lou Jensen came in third for females with a time of 4:04:03, and 45th overall.

Race Pic
Stride for stride at the finish
Just like last year, this event took place during the famed Hatfield-McCoy Festival, held in several towns in and around Mingo County, West Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky. This area has a lot of history and lore surrounding it that you just can't fully grasp while taking in a Marathon or a Half-Marathon. Not only is there the Hatfield McCoy Feud to learn about, there's also a great deal to learn about the coal industry, both good and bad. Like it or not, it's part of the heritage of these two states, and if you get a chance, take yourself a leisurely drive through the area to fully appreciate how far we've come in this world, and how far we have left to go... a great deal farther than 26.2 miles, on both counts!

Special thanks to Carl Hatfield, Dave King, Erik Eskew, Katrina Blankenship, Dave Hatfield, Jeannie Rivard, and a host of volunteers and donors who made the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon and Half-Marathon possible!