by Malcolm Senior

Our vacation in October gave me the opportunity to run two races I had enjoyed racing before – Freedoms Run half marathon and Spook Hill Cider and Wine 4 Mile Run.

Freedoms Run – ‘An event for health and heritage”

Saturday 6th October with a full marathon; half marathon; 10k and 5K, there were plenty of runners descending on Shepherdstown, which is West Virginia oldest town.

The half marathon started at 8:30 am in front of the Town Hall/library, goes through Shepherd University out onto the bridge which crosses the Potomac. Once over the river the lead bike rider headed up the road with the first 20 to 30 runners following him. Shouts from runners behind alerted me that we had gone wrong and should have turned down onto the C&O canal. Retracing my steps I was soon back on the correct route. For me it was probably only two-tenths of a mile for the front runners it was probably nearer a mile extra that they ran.

Heading down the canal, this part of the route had been flooded a week prior to the race day. We were soon at mile three coming off the canal and onto Miller’s Sawmill Road which meant a long incline towards Sharpsburg.

Mile five was Branch Avenue and start of Antietam National Battlefield, the route exiting the battlefield at the visitor’s center at mile 8.5. Mile 10 saw the runners through Sharpsburg with a downhill stretch back to the finish at the Ram Stadium in Shepherdstown.

There was a great welcome for runners in all four races with food and drinks. All finishers received a medal, souvenir glass and 1st pint of free beer at the Bavarian Inn.

Although not an easy course, it is very scenic, poignant and humbling;passing the many memorials and monuments in the battlefield. A very well organised day.

Spook Hill Cider and Wine 4 Mile Run – Ranked one of the Top Halloween runs in the Country by Runners Magazine.

Saturday 20th October at 8:30 I was on the start line with a good crowd of Steeps members, for the 6th annual SMHS Spook Hill run. This time there was no going off course. Again a scenic on and off road route which stays primarily in the confines of the historic town of Burkittsville, MD.

The first mile is up the legendary Spook Hill before a loop of the Broody Vineyards. Running back through the Historic Union Cemetery in the center of town. Then a loop through the Distillery Lane Cider works and a final sprint to the finish at the Ruritan Community Center.  Runners receive a T shirt and wine glass with medals for all finishers. A great little race.

We would like to thank all the Steep members for such a warm welcome. It was fabulous to chat to members we met at the above races,at the happy hour, at Charm City Run, on the Sunday morning training runs and at the beer run. Great to see you all. Best wishes for the Holiday Season.

Photo: Antietam National Battlefield – Maryland State Monument, by Malcolm Senior