It’s not an “official” race. You can’t register for it online. And it isn’t “certified” by USAT. But it sure is fun! It’s called the “Hillbilly Half” and it’s a half iron distance triathlon we created two years ago when we needed a break in the monotony of traditional triathlon training.
We grab a few of our close but slightly delusional friends who want to spend a Saturday participating in a free race that doesn’t have a clear winner – just people who want to spend the day suffering together thru 70.3 miles. Swag bag contents have ranged over the years from fake hillbilly teeth that make great “family” pictures to the most popular pre-race fuel of all the most accomplished triathletes: pork rinds. Some lucky participants even win motivational door prizes such as redneck wineglasses (a glass chalice with a red solo cup on top) or a rebel flag imprinted with “Git ‘er Done!”
So, this year the “3rd Annual Hillbilly Half” began in Huntington, WV on a beautiful Saturday morning in early June. We met at the Marshall University Rec Center for the swim portion of the triathlon. We swam for 45 minutes before hopping on our bikes and riding 56 miles thru the rolling country roads of WV and Kentucky. About halfway thru the ride, our very own “sag wagon” (aka the “Velocity bike bus”), manned by my son and his buddy, met us at Ashland, Kentucky’s beautiful Central Park where we had a few minutes to rest and refuel. Arriving back at the Rec Center (aka T1 and T2), we transitioned into our running shoes and began our 13.1 mile run on a challenging, winding course thru the hills of WV and Ohio, making the Hillbilly Half the nation’s only three-state triathlon!
All of us wore shoes. None of us were pregnant. And we all had all of our teeth (or at least put them in before starting the race). Certainly history in the making. Yeeeeeeehawwwwww!!!!