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Hatfield McCoy Miniseries Review & Expectations for the Race

No airports nearby Hatfield McCoy marathon

This informs everything.  (From Hatfield McCoy Marathon’s FAQ.)

I just finished watching the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries starring Kevin Costner (the guy from Waterworld), Bill Paxton (the guy from Twister), and a bunch of other people who look familiar but I couldn’t place until IMDB (Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games, Sam from The Big Chill, Col. Jim Faith from MacGruber).  I wasted 4.5 hours of my life (it felt like much longer) so that you won’t have to.


MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD so if you feel like watching it (available streaming on Netflix) instead of reading my charming review, skip the next 5 paragraphs and go straight to “expectations.”  I don’t know if the miniseries is historically accurate, and there seems to be debate about what actually happened, but I do know this miniseries is boring and makes everyone involved look like terrible people.


The miniseries starts out mildly interesting, with a Hatfield and a McCoy fighting side-by-side in the Civil War (for the south, of course).  But within a few minutes Kevin Costner Devil Hatfield (his real name) deserts his troop in the middle of the night, and thus begins the story of the Hatfields looking like the absolute worst.  Now, both families come off looking terrible, but the fact that the Hatfields look so bad compared to the idiot McCoys should tell you just how bad the Hatfields come off.  I think that within the first 30 minutes various Hatfields (1) kill a slew of Yankees & then desert the army, (2) murder unarmed Yankee prisoners, (3) murder a McCoy sleeping in a cabin, (4) steal a pig from the McCoys, and (5) generally lie if not commit outright fraud, all before the McCoys even bother escalating the feud into something to actually get worked up about (e.g. murder).


Then there’s a stupid love story of a (hot) Hatfield boy impregnating loving a McCoy girl.  Despite repeatedly confessing his love for her and even getting shot & kidnapped by her brothers (separate events, oddly enough) and then saved from certain death because of the acts of the McCoy girl, the Hatfield boy ultimately won’t stand up for her in front of his father and thus becomes a certified douchebag.  Later he marries a different McCoy girl cuz lol why not yolo.  This is where the miniseries really gets really dull and confusing and I started only half-watching.  Little did I know that the stupid love story was the most entertaining part.  It gets super boring with lots of murders and stuff, back and forth, I can’t even care.  And when I can’t care that three young men get tied to trees and shot in cold blood, there’s clearly something wrong with the storytelling.


The third and final episode features a big shootout, but it’s all so stupid that I think that even if I had followed it closely it would have made about as much sense.  After the big battle there’s some pointless trial and everyone gets life in prison except the mentally challenged boy who gets death by hanging, because of course he does.  By the end I don’t even know who was killing who and I didn’t care.  I guess that was the point (to show how a feud benefits nobody), but it was all so stupid it was just a big waste of time.  If you need to watch a stupid miniseries to know not to start a blood feud with another family, then you shouldn’t have a Netflix account.


The show portrays both families as so stupid that I was seriously embarrassed for America as I watched this.  If this is what the world thinks of us, well, I’m going to start wearing a maple leaf when I travel.  It also seemed like literally everyone in the town was either a Hatfield or a McCoy, and except for that one pair of star-crossed lovers, the families did not “intermingle” if you know what I mean.  The amount of inbreeding that must have happened makes what Adam and Eve’s kids must’ve done look downright kosher.  The best thing about this show is that there were a lot of good-looking actors in it.  Either inbreeding creates really gorgeous people, or this was not historically accurate casting.


For the Hatfield McCoy Marathon, all the runners randomly get assigned to either the “Hatfield” team or the “McCoy” team, and whichever team has the lowest average time “wins” that year’s race.  I definitely feel more sympathetic to the McCoys (as a Yankee lawyer who doesn’t steal pigs or murder), but since I know I’ll have a terrible finishing time (if I finish at all), I also won’t mind being on the Hatfield team, just to bring them down as a McCoy mole.  The saddest thing is that it will take me much longer to finish the race than it took to watch the entire miniseries, and yet it might be easier to run 26 miles than watch that junk again.



hatfield mccoy marathon course elevation

No total elevation change given, but it’s safe to say “a lot.”

I have a lot of expectations for this weekend’s Hatfield McCoy Marathon.  Many are from reading other recaps about past HMMs, some are from the race’s own website, and some stem from my own unrelenting injuries and lack of fitness.  Let’s get started.


  • It will be a tough course.  It’s a small group of runners (meaning I will be alone for most of the race), it’s rural (so not a lot of spectators), and hilly (mile 6-7 is up “Blackberry Mountain” and features about 500 feet in elevation gain, or roughly a 9.5% grade for an entire mile).  Many bloggers commented that because much of the course is on the edge of the road, it’s sloped enough to aggravate your IT band.  This is great news, since I’ve already developed every other runner injury (runner’s knee, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis), so why not throw an IT band injury on there?  There’s also a couple miles near the end that are on a dirt road that might be pretty muddy due to all the rain this week.  The Weather Channel lists this as one of the top 15 toughest marathons in the world.  I hope that, as usual, the Weather Channel is wrong.
  • It will be hot.  Highs are forecasted to be in the mid-80s, and there are thunderstorms in the area all week, so it’ll be humid, too.  Plus, I will be wearing what amounts to almost a full-body compression suit because of my injuries, so I won’t exactly be dressed for a hot day.  Luckily, there will be water stops every mile, and I anticipate dumping a lot of water over my head.
  • It will be my slowest marathon ever, if I can even finish.  I am not in shape to run 26.2 miles.  I’m not in shape because I’m injured, and I can’t escape my injuries without getting in shape.  I’m stuck in a pretty bad Catch-22 right now, so until Yossarian comes to save me, I’m just going to hobble along.  This is my first serious DNF possibility, which will be a bummer, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much until it happens.  My shin splints and knees feel (not great but) ok, but my plantar fasciitis is acting up enough that I finally booked an appointment with a doctor, but that’s not until later this month.  While I’ve definitely been undertrained in the past, I’ve never been this out-of-shape combined with injury combined with extra weight, so the only reason there’s even a possibility that I finish is that there’s no time limit.  (Shotgun to my head, I’d guess I’ll either DNF or finish in 6:15 to 6:30.)
  • It’s a great race.  Everyone raves about this race.  Everyone.  I can’t seem to find a bad review of it.  I don’t know if that’s because it only attracts the kind of people who find running 26 hilly miles in 85-degree humid conditions fun, or if they put moonshine in the water cups, or if people are just worried that if they say anything negative the Hatfields will set fire to their homes while they’re sleeping (true story), but it seems universally loved.
  • There will be a lot of 50-staters and Maniacs.  It’s officially a 50 States Marathon Club reunion race (my first!) and there’s a long list of people going, plus it’s a popular race with Marathon Maniacs, so basically everyone running will be dressed in red/white/blue or yellow singlets and be much, much faster than me.
  • There’s a Hatfield McCoy skit (with costumes!) at the pasta dinner.  The expo/free (for marathoners) pasta dinner/show all takes place at a local high school, and runners rave about the whole experience.  I’m pretty excited for it.  There also a free post-race meal for runners.  Two free meals?  Amazing.
  • There is a literal shotgun start to the race.  And no chip timing.  And a semi truck waiting at the top of Blackberry Mountain.  And the “world’s smallest” horses.  And costumed volunteers.  And potentially an opportunity for an airboat ride after the race (separate from the marathon, but still!).
  • A medal and moonshine jar await me at the finish.  If I can make it…


Did you ever watch the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries?  Would you rather run a marathon or have to watch that miniseries?  Have you ever gotten a DNF in a race?  Share in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Hatfield McCoy Miniseries Review & Expectations for the Race

  1. LunaTek

    Good review of the miniseries and race anticipations….. but HOW WERE THE SNACKS during the movie?

    GOOD LUCK on completion and enjoy all the fun stuff!

    Also, in case you decide to watch more Americana – if you’re going to watch something on OK Corral, either choose the original Gunfight at the OK Corral 1957 or Tombstone 1993 (Val Kilmer is awwwwwesome), and avoid Kevin Costner/Devil Hatfield/Wyatt Earp in Wyatt Earp 1994.

    1. WTFinish Post author

      Thank you for saving what could have been 2 more of the longest hours of my life.

      The snacks were great – mint chip ice cream bars. Specifically the Yasso brand Frozen Greek Yogurt – only 100 calories per bar and they taste just like mint chip ice cream, so you can eat 5* of them no problem!

      *I do not recommend eating 5 of them. Not again.

  2. Becky Condon

    Hi Jenny! I see by the picture on the side bar that you finished! Woot! I was so sorry I missed you Saturday! I saw most of our other table mates off and on throughout and they provided the same hilarity and love for fun they had the night before.
    I finished in the worst time ever 7:27:29! Ack! I had taken some falls on some hikes 2 weeks previously and long about the teens in the race I could feel each and every fall and where it hurt the first time! I slowed down so as not to stop and found the “No Time Limit” to be the saving grace. Even though it was my PW, it was the best marathon ever for support, race amenities, and new friends! I signed up for your e-mail blasts and look forward to more posts! 🙂

    1. WTFinish Post author

      Congratulations, Becky! It was my PW and favorite, too! And like you, I could only walk those last 10 miles, but luckily was chatting with other 50 Staters/Maniacs which made it enjoyable. I hope to get my recap up by tomorrow. So nice to meet you and I hope to see you at future races!

  3. Pingback: Marathon Recap – Hatfield McCoy, June 14, 2014 | Where's the Finish?

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