Organizers of the 2013 New River Gorgeous Trail Run say they hope that moving the annual event from late October to Aug. 24 will boost late summer travel in the New River Gorge region.
Now in its 12th year, the race’s three circuits hosted by ACE Adventure Resort attracts an average of 125 participants, but the new schedule will allow racers and their guests to combine the event with rafting and other warm-weather adventures, and that could help increase participation.
“We realized that the lull in activity between Gauley Season and the back-to-school rush might be the best time to schedule the race,” Beth Gill, a longtime organizer of the race, explained.
“Summer activities are still in full swing, and late-season schedules have resulted in additional vacancies in our cabins – including cabins with hot-tubs, which are sure to prove popular after a day-long race.”
A soak in a hot tub and the chance to raft the New River or zip-line along the rim of the gorge may prove enough incentive to double the amount of participants this year, Gill said.
Free camping in the resort’s 40-acre campground will also be provided to participants who choose to rough-it through the weekend. Molly Wolff, a photographer and runner who has organized the event in recent years, said the condition of the trails and scenery have popularized the run.
“There’s some fantastic scenery along the way, including spectacular views of the New River Gorge,” Wolff said.
“There’s certainly reason to believe this could become one of the region’s most popular races.”
According to Gill, cash prizes will be awarded to the first-, second-, and third-place winners for men and women in the long and short courses. The shorter, 9.5-mile course navigates the highlands above ACE Lake, and the longer, 14.2-mile half-marathon course circles much of the resort’s 1,500-acre property.
A five-mile walking course, which shadows much of the short course, is open for noncompetitive participation, though walkers will also be included in the event raffle. The first 150 registrants will receive a commemorative mug, and more than $2,500 in cash and prizes will be awarded.
A complimentary burrito buffet-lunch will be served following the race.
Registration for the race will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Aug. 24 at the resort where the start and finish lines are located. The races begin at 10 a.m. The registration fees are $30 for the long course, $20 for the short course, and $15 for the walk. An additional $5 will be added for participants who register on the morning of the event.
Participants are encouraged to pre-register online at aceraft.com/trail.
Established in 1981 as American-Canadian Expeditions, ACE hosts more than 50,000 rafters annually on the New and Gauley rivers in southern West Virginia and offers more than a dozen additional outdoor-recreation opportunities, including zip-lining, rock climbing, and ATV touring.
The resort was designated the largest adventure resort in North America by The Travel Channel in 2010, based on the number of guests it accommodates, the number of adventures it provides, and the size of its facility.
For more information on climbing programs at ACE, call 1-800-787-3982 or visit aceraft.com.