2017 Race Recap

Thank you to all that came out to participate in the 2017 Hillbilly Half Marathon and Little Billy 5K. The 5th annual event was a great success! Congratulations to 4-time winner, Scott Wietecha of Hendersonville, TN and first-time winner, Kathryne Hirt of Franklin, TN.  This was Kathryne’s first half marathon ever.  Read her story here: Female Winner of the Hillbilly Half

Photo Credit: Sydney Hunter

Also, congratulations to Kazufumi Seki of Murfreesboro, TN and Celeste Goodson of Franklin, TN on winning the Little Billy 5K!

Other mentions in the half marathon are masters winners Ninette Giardina of Franklin, TN and Jeremiah Tatum of Cookeville, TN.

Photo Credit: Gregg Gelmis

Full results can be found here: 2017 Hillbilly Half and Little Billy 5K Results

We would like to thank Gregg Gelmis of We Run Huntsville for coming out and taking some great shots along the course.  Gregg worked free of charge and only gets paid if you buy the hi-res version of his photos.  You can view and purchase your favorites here:

Course Photos
Finish Line Photos 1
Finish Line Photos 2

Photo Credit: Gregg Gelmis

This race could not exist without our sponsors.  Please support them if at all possible.  We thank them for helping to make the Hillbilly Half and Little Billy 5K the best event possible.

Sam’s Club
Mention the Hillbilly Half at the Franklin location to get a $10 gift card with a new membership.
The Peach Truck
Thanks to The Peach Truck, runners received a fresh, juicy, Georgia peach at the finish line.  Check out their website to see where you can get some before the season ends!
Jet’s Pizza
Williamson Medical Center
Franklin Marriott
Animalia Wellness
OrangeTheory Fitness
WDYRF Race Series
Heroes in Recovery 6K
Swiftwick Socks

Be sure to follow and interact with us on social media.  We love getting to know you better and encourage you throughout the year.  Come join the fun:

Our Instagram “Best Pic” winner went to @libertygetmanmurray.  She gets a free entry to the 2018 race!  Check out this cool shot on Floyd Road.

Photo Credit: @libertygetmanmurray via Instagram

An honorable mention goes to this awesome one-handed spin of the 2017 Hillbilly Half medal: https://www.instagram.com/p/BU7rQoTA7Ng/

Photo Credit: @mackenzieangell via Instagram

It has been our pleasure to put this race on for the past 5 years.  We love all the feedback we have already received and it seems like 2017 has been the best year yet.  We look forward to seeing you in 2018 and many years to come.

-The Race Committee


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 http://www.moonshinerunnerssociety.com.

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 www.hillbillyhalf.com.

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 http://www.hillbillyhalf.com or email race director Andy Johnson at rd@hillbillyhalf.com. For more information on Zach Stone, visit zachstonecountry.com.

K. Atwood – Music City Media

KATwood@musiccitynews.com | 615.770.2994

Shelly Mullins – ProMo Image

Shellylynnmullins@gmail.com | 615.516.7620


John Pisciotta –Jetpack Artist Ventures

john@jetpackartistventures.com | 615.400.0809