The Watoga State Park Foundation announces two trail running events on Aug. 13, a 5K race and a half marathon. The races will use historic trails in Watoga State Park and adjacent Calvin Price State Forest, many of them built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Both races start and finish at the park’s Beaver Creek Campground. Professional chip timing and online registration will be provided by TriStateRacer.
Billed as “The Watoga State Park Mountain Trail Challenge,” these events offer two different types of challenge for runners to choose from. The half marathon climbs 2,650 feet over the 13.1 mile course and descends the same total- just over half a mile, vertically. In comparison, the elevation change in the 5K course is only 450 feet, with only one moderate uphill stretch of three-quarter mile in the first half of the 3.1 mile race. The rest is a gentle descent and then a winding path through the rhododendrons along Beaver Creek.
“The challenge issued here is to people who’ve never tried trail running,” says race director, Cully McCurdy. “It’s a chance to push yourself to a new level, and see how cool running on forest trails can be.” He adds, “The challenge in the half marathon is obvious, and will become more so with every mile, but it’s a beautiful way to see the park.”
Watoga State Park is located seven miles south of Marlinton in Pocahontas County. Maps of the park and the Mountain Trail Challenge race courses can be found at www.watogafoundation.org along with directions to the park and links for race registration and volunteering.