HEFLIN — The eighth annual Rockin Choccolocco 50K and Half Marathon is scheduled for a Saturday morning start at Cahulga Creek Park in Heflin.
The dual race — hosted by the Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce — was supposed to start at Coleman Lake campground but due to COVID-19, organizers had to quickly switch sites because the campground is temporarily closed.
Jamie Henderson, one of the race directors, said the city of Heflin and Tammy Perry, Heflin parks and recreation director, came to the rescue.
“The city of Heflin has been absolutely amazing ... we didn’t know that we were going to have to change it, we just kept holding out hope that we were going to be able to have it at Coleman,” said Henderson.
“I talked to Tammy Perry and she was like, ‘oh yeah, we’ll be glad to help you out’” said Henderson.
Henderson expects about 85 runners to compete in the races and said the revised course is more difficult than the regular course.
Runners will have to run the entire length of the Heflin Spur Trail — a 3.5-mile long trail which connects Heflin to the Pinhoti Trail — which features somewhat rugged terrain.
“It’s definitely a lot of climbing. It’s not easy; it’s not flat,” said Henderson.
The turn-around point for the 50K will be at Pine Glen campground in the Talladega National Forest, and the turn-around point for the half marathon will be marked along the trail according to Henderson.
Henderson said runners in both races have nine hours to finish their respective race.
There will be three manned and two non-manned aid stations along the route for the runners. Henderson said that due to COVID-19 protocols, runners will have to fill their own water bottles and personnel at the aid stations will be wearing gloves.
Henderson said that some races have started runners off in “waves” to keep social distancing but no such measures will be in place for Saturday’s races.
“We’re not putting in any precautions, as far as the start, if they want to stay 6 feet apart, that will kind of be up to them and some of them may do that,” he said.
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 80s on Saturday and that heat is expected to affect the runners.
“The heat always gets them on this race. The heat is definitely a deterrent for a lot of people to come do this race because it’s so hot,” said Henderson.