Oak Barrel Half Marathon registration opens November 15

Hundreds of runners participated in this year’s Oak Barrel Half Marathon in October. The Mach Tenn Running Club will move the race date back to April for 2021 and registration opens on November 15. (Photo Credit: Oak Barrel Half Marathon)

Wanna run in the 2021 Oak Barrel Half Marathon? Then may we recommend you set your alarm for Sunday, November 15. Registration opens that day promptly at 6 a.m.

The popular annual event brings hundreds of runners to Lynchburg each year. After moving the event to October as a COVID-19 precaution in 2020, the race will move back to its traditional April date in 2021.

Organizers say they plan to proceed with “a normal” race in 2021 but “if COVID-19 is still a factor in April, we will have to use the procedures we put in place for the 2020 race,” race officials said. Those procedures included a staggered start, self service watering stops, and no post-race party.

Should changes to the April 3, 2021 date be necessary, organizers already have a plan in place. Registered runner would be offered a full refund, a virtual registration, or could simply move their registration to the new date.

The Mach Tenn Running Club hosts the event annually in Lynchburg. The majority of the funds raised go back into the race but any remaining funds are donated to Lynchburg charities like Moore Cares, Moore County Volunteer Fire Department, Friends of Animals, and other regional non-profits. To register, visit the Oak Barrel Half website by clicking here. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, 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.}

Look out for Oak Barrel runners on Saturday

Moore County drivers should be on the lookout Saturday morning for runners participating in the 2020 Oak Barrel Half Marathon. (Photo Courtesy of the Mach Tenn Running Club.)

LOCAL NEWS — Moore County drivers should be on alert and expect potential delays on Saturday, October 24 at the annual Oak Barrel Half Marathon kicks off in Lynchburg.

The race begins from Main Street just off the Moore County Square and portions of the roads surrounding the square will be closed until the final runners cross the finish line. Parking for the race will be in Wiseman Park.

Runners will follow Main Street to the intersection of Highway 55 near Woodard’s Market and the Moore County Co-op before turning left onto Goosebranch Road. After tackling the infamous Whiskey Hill, runners will turn left on Lois Ridge Road until it intersects with Highway 50. They’ll then take a quick right onto Norman Wiseman Road until it dead ends into Tanyard Hill Road. Runners will then turn left on Tanyard until they reach Campbell Lane, which will take them to Goodbranch Road. Here, runners turn left toward Moore County High School. Once they arrive back Highway 55, they’ll turn left to head back towards the Square on Highway 55.

Local law enforcement will be in place along major intersections directing traffic and local drivers should anticipate some delays until the race ends.

For more information, visit the Oak Barrel Half Marathon website or the Mach Tenn Running Club Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, 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.}

Oak Barrel Half confirms October date and offers virtual option

The Oak Barrel Half Marathon finishes on the historic Lynchburg Square. This year, registered runner can participate in Lynchburg or virtually at home on October 24. {Photo Courtesy of the Oak Barrel Half Marathon}

LYNCHBURG — The Mach Tenn Running Club, the organizers of the Oak Barrel Half Marathon, recently confirmed their intention to run the race in Lynchburg on Saturday, October 24.

In March, Mach Tenn representative Melissa Miller appeared before the Metro Council to seek permission to block off the square for that new date. (Read our full coverage of that appearance here.) Traditionally, the event is held the first Saturday of April but this year organizers moved the event due to the COVID-19 health situation.

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

Since then, Jack Daniel’s Distillery cancelled the 2020 World Invitational Barbecue, but plans for the half marathon remain. However this year, they will allow participants not comfortable with running in groups to convert their registration to a virtual run. Runners who complete the 13.1 miles on their own will receive their “swag” at their home address. 

According to Mach Tenn, those who plan to run in Lynchburg do not need to do anything. Those who plan to run remotely, should contact the half marathon to convert their registration. For more information, visit the group’s 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.}

Oak Barrel Half Marathon releasing race slots

Runners line up in 2019 for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon. This year’s event is moved to October, which resulted in some registration slots re-opening. {Photo Credit: Pete Dobbs}

LYNCHBURG — In March, the Mach Tenn Running Club, the organizers of the annual Oak Barrel Half Marathon, made the difficult decision to postpone their annual and oh-so-popular April event to October due to COVID-19 concerns. (Read our full coverage of that date change by clicking here.)

After appearing before the Metro Council to get the new date approved, race officials started shifting focus to the new October 24 date – one following the new Lynchburg Music Fest dates of October 2-4 and the new Jack Daniel World Invitational Barbecue date of October 10.

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

As expected, the new date just won’t work for some runners. As such, organizers say they’ll soon be releasing several race slots for new runners. If you’d like to be notified when this happens, you need to subscribe to their email list by clicking here.

For more information about the race, visit their website and for updates leading up to the event, check out the race’s Facebook page. •

{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.}

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.}