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!

Never Trust a Skinny Chef…

…Or a race director that does not run his/her own course.  I am excited about returning to the 2013 clockwise route for the 2017 Hillbilly Half Marathon.  It is a completely different experience.  Today I ran the course for the first time this direction since 2013.  That first year I ran alongside the crowd, but have not been able to the past 3 years.  This year,  I plan to run again, barring some unforeseen circumstances that will not allow it.  Here are some of my take-aways from this morning’s run;

It is still a challenging course!  The hills are still there and there are plenty of them.  I walked most of them, mostly because this was an easy day for me and I didn’t want to push it.  I left my water bottle at Boston Church of Christ, (7.5 miles in) and that also made me dial it back a bit.  I was thankful for their open doors and open restroom though.

It was still gorgeous.  Leiper’s Fork is a unique jewel and there is just nothing like it anywhere else.  Although the course is challenging, it is still a rewarding experience.

There is more shade on the back stretch than I remember.  It was a nice, sunny day and there were pockets of cold air, which were refreshing.

It was not that difficult.  It could have been the weather, or the fact that I was taking it easy and walking the hills, but I felt good, even on half a bottle of water.

I can’t wait until June 3!  I look forward to running the course with my friends this year.  It is shaping up to be another great event.  Please make plans to join me for an experience you will not soon forget.

2017 Medal Design Revealed

We are excited to announce our new medal design for 2017!  

All half marathon finishers will receive this uniquely designed medal, which features a moonshine jug (certainly a hillbilly favorite) bearing the date of the race. The Hillbilly Half Marathon logo decorates the opposite side.  This spinning memento may well leave you entertained for minutes on end.  There is no doubt the kiddos will also enjoy stealing this medal and using it  to find new creative ways to annoy their parents.  This is a limited edition and is only available to finishers of the Hillbilly Half Marathon in Leiper’s Fork, TN on June 3, 2017.

As for all our 5k-ers…you are not forgotten!  All of our 5K finishers get a medal as well, although, yeah, it’s not as cool as the half marathon medal.

And don’t forget the best finisher “medal” of all, courtesy of our friends at The Peach Truck!


Sign up now to get the best possible pricing…and come party with the hillbillies at the Hillbilly Half!  Price increases Sunday, April 16. Register by April 15 to save $10.