Freedom’s Run coming Oct. 10
The scenic rolling hills of the lower Shenandoah Valley, as well as four of the country’s most historic national parks, will be the setting at the Freedom’s Run Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Kids Fun Run races, which start and finish in West Virginia and take runners across the Potomac River into Virginia.
For the half marathon race, runners follow an out-and-back course that starts and finishes in downtown Shepherdstown and takes runners through the historic grounds of the Antietam National Battlefield Park, which was the site of the famous 1862 Civil War battle–the bloodiest one-day battle in U.S. history, where more than 22,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in a single day.
Filled with rolling hills throughout the course, the half marathon starts where both the half and the full 26.2-mile marathon finish near the Shepherd University football stadium.
From there, those running the half follow West Virginia Highway 480 over the Rumsey Bridge across the Potomac River into the Sharpsburg, Maryland, area, where the highway becomes Maryland Highway 34.
Runners then follow the highway eastward through the Antietam National Cemetery and into the battlefield park, turning left on Sharpsburg Pike to head northward into the park, which is spread across more than 3,200 acres and sees more than 380,000 visitors each year.
Approximately the next four and a half miles of the half marathon unfold through the battlefield park and feature a number of the park’s historic sites, including the Burnside Bridge and the park observation tower.
Following the run through Antietam, the last few miles of the race are thankfully a bit more flat, as runners head through the C&O Canal towpath along the river back into Shepherdstown for the finish at the football stadium.
Limited to a maximum of 1,000 entrants each in the full marathon and half marathon, the Freedom’s Run event is open to both runners and walkers, for which participants are limited to five or seven hours to complete.