The first weekend in August attracts athletes and families to the New River Gorge to take part in a variety of race events, but to also enjoy the scenic beauty, historic towns and a pleasant mountain climate. There are as many locally owned restaurant choices as options to get active with or without the family.
The New River Gorge Games encompass a 5K walk or run, a 28.5-mile triathlon through the New River Gorge featuring mountain biking, whitewater kayaking and uphill running and on Sunday the entire family can participate in the beginner Thurmond Triathlon. Both triathlon events provide the service of volunteer Nation Guard service members and trucks to haul individual and team gear from each point of exchange and back to the finish line.
The Saturday morning Half & Half 5K was a fundraiser for a local school and started at 8:00am. You may be puzzled by the name, but it relates to being half road and half trail.
As the Half & Half 5K finished in downtown Fayetteville, the Captain Thurmond Challenge is just beginning. This event brings out the sweat in everyone. The affair starts with the 16 mile mountain bike in downtown Fayetteville and ends at the banks of the New River in Cunard. From there competitors jump into their water craft of choice for 6 miles of class 4 whitewater. The whitewater section finishes under the New River Gorge Bridge for a 6.5 mile run up and up and up 1,000 foot elevation gain back to Fayetteville.
Check out this detailed article in the Charleston Gazette specifically about the Captain Thurmond Challenge.
Active Southern West Virginia, Active SWV, was on site to support the Sunday Thurmond Triathlon event open to beginners and family teams with members over 7 years old. This is a great way to get youth excited about competing and encourage community members to push themselves toward a healthier lifestyle.
The race gets started with over 100 competitors biking from the Thurmond Depot to Stonecliff river access. It’s about 2 miles and almost all flat.
Anticipation mounts at the Depot as racers line up.
Racers for the Thurmond Triathlon line the front of the Historic Thurmond Depot waiting for long time resident Walter Ashley to fire the starting pistol. The finial event of the New River Gorge Games. www.nrgorgegames.com
The bike portion starts by crossing the bridge so getting your place in the pack is important.
Racers are greeted by the National Guard at the river bank to collect the bikes and hand out the water crafts. Boats are provided upon request for individuals and teams when registering.
Our Executive Director, Melanie Seiler Hames, and family enjoy the flat water with stand up paddle boards.
After the 2 mile paddle down river, it’s time to change shoes and hit the road to make a lap around the town of Thurmond. Up one big hill and back down to the finish line.
The race provides a spaghetti lunch and the volunteer service of the National Guard bringing all your gear back to the finish line.