This week's piece is a reflection on the town from the visitors from Freedom's Run. Runners from over 40 states visited out region and here is a little of what they had to say. For hundreds more fun and public comments go to Freedom's Run Facebook page. Remember to like us and come run in 2014.
"Thanks to you and your team and your town for a terrific day The organization , hospitality and small town feel made our day. The race was beautiful and runners and volunteers supportive! We will be back next year"
"Thank you for great runVolunteers did a great job. Loved the pizza and drinks at the end(too many half/full marathons only give cookies and only bottled water at finish...Yuck!)"
"Ran in my first Freedom's half-marathon today. I'm not familiar with the route of the old course but I thought the route today was fantastic. Volunteers at aid stations were awesome and the finish on the football field was electrifying. I must admit, however, that the highlight of my day came as I was leaving. I guess it was the finish of the kids 1-mile run - but watching the kids (and parents) run that event was inspiring. I couldn't help but get excited and cheer them on. Thanks for a great day - I'll be back again."
"I just wanted to tell you what a awesome job you did today. With two major strikes against you, you came to bat and swung a HOME RUN!"
"I had such a great time and run today (my first time running Freedom's) I run 15 marathons a year with half's and 10's in between and this race ranks among one of my favorites. I know that this is not the usual route but it was fabulous! I will definitely be back next year"
My good friend is the race director for Frederick Half and I see what goes into the prep work of directing a race, and what a headache she goes through to certify the course. It amazes me that you had to do this at the last minute and, the course was awesome! I know that the weather couldn't be helped however, I am glad the rain held off. The after party was a blast too! Thanks for a great morning! "
"My fiance and I ran the half marathon this morning and had a fantastic time. We want to commend you for putting together such a great event under troublesome circumstances. My fiance ran the full marathon last year and had just as much fun this time around. Your town is fantastic and we look forward to coming back to the Freedoms Run in future years. Thank you again for all your hard work. "
"Congratulations on a wonderful event today. The spirit of the race and the volunteers definitely helpedI imagine we may have been the only two from Kansas running today! Again, thanks for including our official time and who knows, we may be back to run through those National Parks!"
"Thanks to you and all who made today's run a success. This was my first Freedom's Run marathon and I really like the vibe. Pros: Friendly volunteers, easy access, good size, nice town Cons: The HILLS!! But great job finding a route on such short notice. I knew this wasn't going to be flat.
I will recommend this event to friends."
"A quick note to thank you for the great weekend of running and entertainment. My entire family participated in the races on Saturday; my wife ran the half and my two sons and I ran the 10KAs race directors ourselves for a local 5K/10K trail run in Johnstown, we could only imagine the difficulties you encountered with having to change the courses at the last minute. Although we didn't get to enjoy the planned course this year, we look forward to next. Getting to meet Anton Friday night, watching "In The High Country," enjoying our pints at the Bavarian, and checking out Shepherdstown were just icing on the cake for a perfect weekend.Thanks again for everything,"
"I am on my final countdown to finishing the 50 states and have been planning on this particular race in WV for over 3yrs. I live in Texas as obviously had to purchase plane tickets, take time off work, etc to attend. I was so worried that it would be cancelled when the government shut down the Natl Parks. It made the race all the more special that it wasn't cancelled and I (and the 2 others who came and ran with me) had such a wonderful experience. The passion to hold this event further deepened my own passion for running and the running community and visiting such wonderful places like Shepherdstown, WV. I now want to come back and run the official course some year."
"My friend came in from Wisconsin to do half. Her personal goal is to do a half marathon in every state. This made number 30. She was very complimentary of Shepherdstown. She was very impressed with all details, including being picked up at Clarion, although she briefly wondered if she had signed up for a river ride."
"I really appreciated the sense of community that surrounded and filled the race. A sense of togetherness began with excellent pre-race communication through social media and email, continued through the pre-race events, and remained throughout the race until the awards were presented.And it speaks volumes about the high quality of volunteers, sponsors, businesses, local law enforcement, and fellow runners."
"My wife and I ran the Freedom's run marathon (me) and 10k (her) last year, and we fell in love with Shepherdstown, the rural small town atmosphere.We were so enamored by the area that we looked into houses in Shepherdstown, and recently moved to Brunswick, MD, just a few miles down the river. We now run the C&O Canal towpath and other area trails regularly and enjoy the small town country feel. This year, we ran Freedom's Run again, with me doing the marathon again, and my wife moving up to the half marathon. We invited more friends to join us at the Freedom's Run and have offered our house in Brunswick as a place to stay to be closer to the race start. See you all again next year!"
"I was disappointed not to be able to run thru the national parks which for me was part of the draw to the event. What is more disappointing is the behavior of our elected congress members. I was proud to be a part of a group, who though I'm sure was as disappointed as I was, still decided to run in spite of congress and the parks being closed. Hats off to Freedom's Run organizers for not canceling!"
"though there is 50 years difference in age my grandson (now 8) looks forward to running this race with me."
"We signed up for Freedom's Run for the historic route through national parks. What we got instead was a scenic run along the Potomac with everyone there intent on supporting each other and having a great run The free kids' fun run was a highlight for me. My almost 3 year old ran his first race. He was jogging along, dead last, happy as can be to have a personal police escort. As we passed course volunteers, they began to run with us and cheer him on. At one point we had 7-8 happy ladies running alongside us, encouraging my son. I can't say enough how much the welcoming community feel of Freedom's Run contributed to our whole family having a great weekend."
"My favorite part of the day was after finishing the half doing the Kids Run with my son, such a proud moment."
"I had signed up for the marathon after hearing about the race and the course from my brother-in-law, who had run the half marathon previously with some of his wife's family. My brother-in-law's wife's family lives in Shepherdstown so a bunch of us made a large family gathering out of the weekend"
"This ended up to be one of my favorite half's despite the government sequestration and the battlefield being closed! It was scenic and hilly and what a great finish on the Rams 50 yard line! The after party at the Bavarian Inn was a lot of fun. The parking was easy too!"
"I really enjoyed my visit to Shepherdstown and the scenic course. You guys did a great job in the face of the government shutdown, especially with the amount of communication pre race. My experience this time makes me want to come back and complete the original course"
"The Freedom's Run was my first half-marathon and made me realize just how phenomenal it is that so many people gathered together because of a love for running! A little bit sappy, but I actually teared up on my final mile when I started thinking about how I would of never dreamed I could run a half-marathon last year!! THANK YOU SO MUCH TO THE AMAZING VOLUNTEERS, SUPPORTERS AND FELLOW RUNNERS!"
"I usually sign up for races in the DC area, so to have one only 30 minutes from home was great! Everything was so well organized, from pre race emails, to having to change the course routes due to the goverment shutdown, to flag lined finish, this was one of the most enjoyable races I've participated in. I can't wait for next year!"
"First time participating in this race and emailed my running group as soon as I got home about how fabulous it was and to strongly consider running it next year! You can quote me on that! "
".it is the perfect race in the perfect place, done perfectly. Now we all know nothing is perfect but this is as close as it gets! I know you want it to grow just don't let it get to big. It's a fine line I know. Big thank you to all that made this years event happen. See you in 2014!"
"The people of Shepherdstown and all the race volunteers were fantastic. Also, I was really impressed by much the runners supported each other during the race. I have not seen that level of camaraderie in other races I've run."
"I was hesitant to run Freedom's Run. I'm working towards half marathons in the 50 states and I had run a (different) half marathon in WV in 2012. But, a friend who lives nearby kept asking me to come and run the race; the Runners World article cinched the deal. I am so glad I did! This is an excellent event, in a beautiful area.I'll happily "three-peat" WV and come back to this event again...and again."
"This is one of the only running events I participate in that is so much more than just a race. Packet pickup, for starters, with all the vendors, exhibits, and helpful folks, is always fun and a nice kickoff to the event. The tech shirts are always high quality and graphics professionally designed. The guest speakers were truly entertaining and inspiring, as was the complimentary screening of "In the High Country." The actual race is of course always a blast BUT THEN - unlike other events where you just shuffle off to your vehicle and drive home - there's even more fun stuff to enjoy afterwards, including mingling in the stands to trade stories and eat some pizza and then venturing over to the lovely Bavarian Inn for a beer in a nice collectible glass. Maybe best of all, though, is the sense of a community coming together to participate in something so rewarding. That might be the event's greatest asset. Finally, I'd like to extend major kudos and gratitude to all those involved in organizing and hosting this amazing event, especially this year with all the challenges imposed by the government shutdown. When I heard that train schedules had to be modified, for example, I really started to get a sense of the magnitude of the effort involved in pulling the event off this year. But you all did it and so many people are grateful for that. My words alone can't really do this event justice, it's just that fantastic. See you next year! (Hopefully we'll be able to go back to the old race routes by then!)"
"What a thrill it was to hear my name over the loud speaker as I entered the stadium! The joy of a small town race"
"Wonderful event! Loved the course even though I signed up to go through the national parks and historical areas. Would love to do it again on the original course. Great job. Loved the Battle Hymn of the Republic sung before the start."
"the friendliest people (runners and volunteers) of any race we have ever run"
"I graduated from Shepherd in 2001 and hadn't really been back since. It was very emotionally overwhelming for me to cross the finish line in Ram's Stadium--such an incredible feeling. I will be doing this race for many years to come. Thanks for making me feel young again."
"Shepherdstown is such a great small town - the people were so welcoming and everything was well organized. Even with a government shutdown and rain, the event was a great experience!"
"All of the volunteers who stood out in the rain to cheer us marathoners on and hand us water and gels deserve medals themselves. Of particular note was the woman on King Street who enthusiastically cheered as runners turned the corner heading downhill to the finish line at the stadium. One runner said the volunteer's heart-felt encouragement moved her to tears."
"The most fun I have ever had running!"