Three hundred runners wound through misty country roads Saturday morning as part of the fifth annual Viola Valley Half Marathon.
“Our numbers were down a little bit this year but we started right at 300 runners,” said assistant event coordinator Kevin Deason.
The 13.1-mile event covers three counties including Warren, Grundy and Coffee counties. The run starts in downtown Viola and makes a picturesque loop before finishing back in Viola. The winner this year, Chad Dean of Cleveland, finished the course in 1:15:15, less than a minute behind the record time.
“I did some research and it seemed to be a good fit for me,” Dean said about deciding to run in the race, which took place under ideal cool running conditions. “It’s a great venue.”
Deason said the course and the charm of small town Viola is a great way to draw runners who flock to the country hamlet for a chance to run the country roads.
“Some come a couple of days early each year just to be part of our community,” Deason said. “They come from all over. We had some from California and several from Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri.”
The event is put on with the help of many volunteers. Among those are people who man the eight drink stations along the route.
Proceeds from the event go toward projects in the city of Viola and are also used to help Viola Valley Dogs and Viola’s fire department.