RUNNER PROFILE: Gregory Byerline of Moonshine Runners Society

They call themselves…the Moonshine Runners Society.

We’d heard the rumors. Scattered footsteps echoing through the dark. Silhouettes seen late at night traversing the Tennessee countryside beneath the glow of a full moon. They reside in the shadows, running, running, wrapping themselves in stars typically choked from existence by street lamps, storefronts, and a constant flow of headlights.

Founded by Gregory Byerline, the group has been sharing their midnight jaunts for just over two years. “The experience is like no other running experience I’ve had. They’ve become my favorite runs each month,” says Byerline. “Runners of various skills and experience levels alike gather for a conversational run (typically four to six miles) at night under a full moon through all four seasons. The recreational, ‘bring-your-dog and soak-up-the-moonshine’ runs also provide a welcoming group environment to contrast those often solo training runs.“

Byerline is quick to stress the balance of safety with the pristine spirit of these nighttime adventures. “We wear reflective clothing, headlamps, etc. HOWEVER…(and here’s the fun part)…we only turn on our headlamps when we need to be seen by the rare oncoming car. After the car passes, we turn them OFF again so we can run under the original running light falling on the pastures and creeks.”

Noting his nocturnal nature, we wondered what might be going through Byerline’s mind as he prepares to run the 2017 Hillbilly Half Marathon. “Until I become a vampire, I’ll always be comfortable running in the daylight,” he says. He was first a cyclist prior to becoming a runner, so traffic doesn’t scare him. “But I confess,” he adds, “that an open country road – whether under the sun or the moon – is quite something.”

Still, racing, and racing during the day is different. “Time doesn’t matter on those [Moonshine Runners Society] runs. For the Hillbilly Half, I do have a time goal in mind,” shares Byerline. “I am 38 seconds behind my half marathon time goal for 2017, so I’d like to knock that out at this local event.”

This will be Byerline’s first Hillbilly Half, but the hills…they don’t scare him. “The thing about hills…is that hills have a natural end. You eventually reach the top.” This is very different from battling the winds typical of his Illinois homeland. “Winds blow throughout the entire run…and on my runs, somehow the wind would always swirl back into another headwind on my return trip home! Hills don’t do that.”

So he and his nocturnal crew are ready. Byerline can’t help but grin, though, as it isn’t really just about embracing the stars. “Well, the group was dubbed ‘Moonshine Runners Society’ as a nod to that other ‘spirit’ that runs through the hills and hollows of Tennessee. On extra special nights, perhaps that other spirit might even make an appearance to toast the other runners!”

Well, cheers to ya, Mr. Byerline…and welcome to the Moonshine Runners Society on their first adventure with the Hillbilly Half!

MOONSHINE RUNNERS SOCIETY: Originally founded in the hills and hollows outside Nashville, TN, the Moonshine Runners Society meets to run on the night of each month’s full moon. The experience is like no other running experience as avid runners and nature lovers gather for a conversational, recreational run (typically 4–6 miles) guided by the original running light. “Membership” in this society is free and automatic…after attending a moonshine run. Visit their website for more information at

Country Recording Artist Zach Stone To Headline 5th Annual Hillbilly Half Marathon Finish Line Concert


Stone Slated to Showcase Tunes From New EP—ASHES

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 23, 2017) – Up-and-coming country recording artist Zach Stone is set to headline the early morning “finish line festivities” at the 5th Annual Hillbilly Half Marathon and Little Billy 5K in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn. on Saturday, June 3. Originated as the Franklin Half Marathon, the 2017 race marks its fifth running this June; the Hillbilly Half has become a special, must-attend community event for avid runners and enthusiastic family members, friends and neighbors.

“Having Zach Stone join us in this fun-filled, family and friends event is a thrill,” said race director Andy Johnson. “We wanted to make our fifth year anniversary run memorable for our runners and Zach fits the bill. Zach is such a talented performer and we are pleased to share the new music—from his new record, ASHES—with our participants, onlookers, cheerleaders and attendees. To have him onstage at the finish line as our runners complete the race will be motivation for everyone to ‘giddy-up!’”

With Country music being the heart of Music City, it’s a natural and fitting complement to the Hillbilly Half Marathon festivities. Local residents customarily dress up to sing and cheer on (even antagonize in good-hearted fun) the runners along the route.

“Our runners really look for it now,” added race co-founder, Joe Hunter. “They keep an eye out for their favorite hillbillies along the course who wave signs and play banjos to cheer ‘em on and give ‘em a little grief; it’s really pretty hilarious!”

To welcome and applaud the runners for their participation and tenacity, Stone will perform a live concert (featuring songs from his newly released EP, ASHES) at the conclusion of the race.

Registration for both the Hillbilly Half Marathon and Little Billy 5K is still open; details can be found by visiting

PARKING: Opens @ 5:00AM Saturday, June 3, 2017

START TIMES: Half Marathon @ 6:30AM • Little Billy 5K @ 7:00AM


  • Christian recording artist Jody McBrayer will perform the National Anthem before the race start
  • Nashville singer/songwriter Ashlyn Grayce will open the concert event
  • Headlining artist Zach Stone performs @ 8:30AM

**Concert time subject to change**


About The Hillbilly Half Marathon

Open to runners and walkers from novice to professional, the Hillbilly Half Marathon and Little Billy 5K celebrates its fifth year in 2017. The USATF certified racecourse is nestled in the pristine backcountry of Williamson County just minutes from downtown Franklin, Tenn. Over the past five years, the half marathon has attracted up to as many as 1,000 participants each year.

For more information about the 2017 Hillbilly Half Marathon and Little Billy 5K or to register for the race, please visit or email race director Andy Johnson at For more information on Zach Stone, visit

K. Atwood – Music City Media | 615.770.2994

Shelly Mullins – ProMo Image | 615.516.7620


John Pisciotta –Jetpack Artist Ventures | 615.400.0809


RUNNER PROFILE: Gustavo Levy and Sonia Gomes

We asked our favorite bastion of knowledge – Siri. According to her, it is 4,893 miles from São Paulo, Brazil to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. A long way to travel for a road race.

So shine up the welcome wagon! Gustavo Levy and Sonia Gomes are headed this way from South America, ready to run and in search of a little Southern hospitality at the 2017 Hillbilly Half Marathon on June 3.

Married in 2013, the two have logged a lot of miles exploring the United States together, said Gustavo. “We had traveled the United States before, but not to run; in 2007, we decided to combine our passion for travel and our love for running.”

And boy, have they! They’ve taken on the Battan Memorial Death March in New Mexico; the Soldier Marathon in Columbus, Georgia; the Marine Corps Half Marathon in Washington, DC; the Camp Lejeune Marathon in North Carolina; and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon…just to name a few.

Clearly the couple shares an appreciation for the history of this country… and what do they consider their most important race? “The Patriots Run in Olathe, Kansas,” says Gustavo, which they ran in 2015. The race is held to commemorate the victims of 9/11. “It starts every year at noon on September 11, [and we run] until 9:11PM that evening.”

After checking out the race course for the Hillbilly Half online, they ain’t scared. They found the hills to be attractively challenging, but don’t assume these two will be racing together. “We each run our own race,” says Gustavo, “and Sonia is always faster!”

The run is great…but the exploring the new is the true adventure for this pair. “Arriving in a town…where the locals know you are from the outside…they help you,” explains Gustavo. Still far from home, “you don’t feel far from home…and that is priceless. We love to talk and learn, and just having conversations on a porch with coffee or tea, or sitting together in a restaurant…for us, it’s paradise.”

We’re thrilled that Gustavo and Sonia are making the Hillbilly Half part of this summer’s excursion…which they plan to extend for up to four months. “Sonia had surgery on her foot last year,” explains Gustavo,” so we have a lost year to recover!”

Thanks for makin’ our little corner of the world part of your adventure. We’ll see you at the starting line!