Now in its 33rd year, the Great Greenbrier River Race is, well, even greater. Held the last Saturday in April, this year’s event is set for April 27, 2019.
What began as a team event with four members (canoeists, a bicyclist and a runner), the race now has many people who do it solo as well as family teams that even include the family dog! On the solo entries, one person does all three events (run, paddle and bike) whereas on the team entries, four people create the team, each doing one or two events, not all three. Kayaks or canoes are both fine for the paddle portion. Entrants compete for the many prizes spanning numerous categories covering a variety of skill levels, ages and team structures. And it’s all for a great cause as proceeds from entry fees and sponsors allow the trail association to help fund various projects, promotions and improvements along the trail.
Structurally, the race is a triathlon starting in Marlinton, W.Va. It works like this: you run to the trail and take it north to the turnaround point then return. After completing this three-mile circuit, you jump in your boat and paddle roughly four miles down the river to the blue bridge in Buckeye. Next is the bicycling segment as you ride south down the trail and then turn around to head north past where you started and all the way back up to Marlinton, making a ten-mile bike ride and the end of the race.
In addition to the actual triathlon, there are many other activities making the Greenbrier getaway even more fun including live music, and a picnic lunch for race participants. Of course the Greenbrier River Trail itself is a major attraction, recently named one of the 25 best hiking trails in the nation by Condé Nast Traveler. This West Virginia State Park is an ideal venue with a scenic lazy river that flows beside you most of the way, as you cross wood bridges and trestles, and travel through tunnels that still smell like coal locomotives. Along the way, nostalgic small towns and train stations towns bring you back in time and capture the imagination. Make it a getaway and take a long weekend or week. There is so much to explore and so much beauty to absorb. The campground is fantastic and there are numerous quaint lodging options available. Once you visit, you’ll want to stay! For information on the area, visit NaturesMountainPlayground.com.
Registration online at tristateracer.com begins Jan. 11, 2019, with early bird registration ending February 15, 2019. You can register as a team or solo for all ages. Visit wordpress.greenbrierrivertrail.com, or TriStateRacer.com or call 800-336-7009
Stay tuned for upcoming information about the Greenbrier River Trail Marathon on Oct. 6, 2019. This 26.2-mile marathon begins at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and runs south on the trail, finishing at Stillwell Park, in Marlinton, W.Va. The proceeds of this event also help fund initiatives and improvements along the trail.