Metro Council approves new October Oak Barrel date

Due to Distillery closings and COVID-19 concerns, the Mach Tenn Running Club will postpone the annual Oak Barrel Half Marathon until October 24. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Monday night, the Metro Council approved moving the date of the 2020 Oak Barrel Half Marathon from April 4 to October 24.

Melissa Miller with the Mach Tenn Running Club, the event’s sponsor, appeared before the Council. She stated that there were no conflicts of interest for that date. Metro Mayor confirmed that no other group had asked permission to hold a public event that weekend.

“It’s the old Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue date,” Miller said. “They’ve moved their event up and we decided we liked that date.”

The request came following Brown-Forman announcement last week that they plan to close the Distillery tours temporarily as well as the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant due to COVID-19 concerns.

“After consulting with our local officials (mayor, sheriff, and EMS), we have decided that it is in the best interest of our runners and community to postpone the 2020 Oak Barrel Half. [We] understand how very frustrating this is for our runners that have been planning and training for months to join us in Lynchburg – and [we] apologize for that,” they stated on their Facebook page.

Based on the Center for Disease Control recommendations, most communities in the United States are currently exercising, “social distancing,” which means that community are executing conscious efforts to reduce close contact between individuals that could spread COVID-19. This means people should avoid gathering in public places and especially large crowds. The Oak Barrel Half Marathon draws a large number of runners and visitors to the Lynchburg area each spring.

“In addition to the concern about gathering 1700 people on the square in Lynchburg amidst the concerns for the COVID-19 virus situation, the weekend would not be quite the same without Jack Daniel’s involved and open to welcome all the runners,” organizers stated on their Facebook page on Saturday.

The Metro Council unanimously approved the date.

Previously registered runners now have several options. One, they can leave their registration in place for the new date. Two, runners could run the 2020 Oak Barrel Half Marathon as a virtual race. Runners would complete the 13.1 miles on their own and organizers will ship their “swag” to a home address. Or three, runners could request a full registration fee refund.

For more information, visit the Oak Barrel Facebook page or website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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