Freedoms Run Detoured by Government Shutdown

The fifth annual Freedom’s Run event moves forward with an alternate route to adjust to the recent government shutdown.

Due to the government shutdown, the annual running event is no longer able to use the original course that ran through the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, C&O Canal National Historical Park and the Antietam National Battlefield. Instead, the alternate course is entirely on the western side of the Potomac River and still includes the marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K and a kid’s fun run.

The fifth annual Freedom’s Run is scheduled to start with the marathon race at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 in Shepherdstown on King Street. The 5K is the last race to start and will begin at 9 a.m.

As for the different races, the marathon will begin at the Shepherdstown town hall and follow River Road out to Engle Molers crossroads, return to town and then loop back out again. The half-marathon will follow the same route and turn around at the old white church at the Bakerton and Knott Road intersection.

Both the 5K and 10K will begin in Shepherdstown and turn around at different points along River Road. On each of the returning runs, the course leads runners up to the Rumsey Monument and then finishes at the Shepherd University Ram Stadium.

“We still have hope that the [government] will resolve before Oct 12 and [runners] can run the Parks,” Mark Cucuzzella, the race director, posted on the Freedom’s Run Facebook page.

If by chance the government does reopen before midnight on Oct. 11, the race will revert back to the original route. The Freedom’s Run coordinators will continue to offer updates via email,, and their Facebook page.

In addition to the main event, Freedom’s Run will also host a few additional events. On Friday there will be a pasta dinner held at Butcher Hall. The dinner starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m. There will also be a guest speaker, Jamie Summerlin, author of “Freedom Run,” talking about his book and his experience running across the country at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Then the race director, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, will be speaking on “Running for Health” at 5:30 p.m.

Following the race, post-race events will be held at the Bavarian Inn. Starting at 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., the inn will host Oktoberfest, where they will be serving beer and authentic German food accompanied by live music. Then at 12:30 p.m. there will be an award ceremony.

Freedom’s Run has accrued over $50,000 that has been used towards community projects that encourage healthy living and activities. Current projects include trails, gardens and additional events for local schools and the community.

Because this is a non-profit event, they depend on volunteers from Shepherd University, organizations and the community. If you are interested in volunteering, information can be found on the Freedom’s Run website or by contacting Rachel Crum, the Community Services Coordinator at Shepherd University: (304) 876-5402.