Active Southern West Virginia is proud to have hosted the first 5K running event across the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. The Active SWV Bridge Day 5k, benefiting Active SWV Kids Running Clubs, took place on October 15, 2016.
“Bridge Day, one of the largest extreme sports event in the world, is held annually on the third Saturday in October in Fayette County, West Virginia. Hundreds of BASE jumpers and nearly 80,000 spectators were estimated to attend the event.
The 876′ tall New River Gorge Bridge, serves as the launch point for six hours (9am-3pm EST) of safe, legal BASE jumps.This is the only day of the year that traffic is shut down and spectators can safely and legally walk across the world’s second longest single arch bridge. Vehicular traffic on the Bridge will be closed from 7am until approximately 5pm.
Time is on your side—at least for six hours! Come and enjoy the view from the best overlook in the New River Gorge. Enjoy browsing through hundreds of vendor’s booths to find just the right souvenir for the day.”
Learn more about the one day event here; Official Bridge Day.
Active SWV Bridge Day 5K Backstory
Logistics for a race within the tightest security event in West Virginia took detailing every step with safety as top priority. The Bridge Day Commission is comprised of representation from the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, state, county, and city police, the National Park Service, WV Department of Highways, and representation from organizers of rappellers, BASE jumpers, and vendors. The presentation for the Active SWV Bridge Day 5K went before the commission in February 2016 were it met consideration with some concern for slowing permitted vehicle traffic. This evolved into the stipulation to have no walkers. All participants must run to quickly move the group from the flow of permitted traffic across the NRG Bridge.
Racers began on the north side of the New River Gorge Bridge with a police escort across the bridge in the south bound lane. The adrenaline of the start line was magnified by the sweeping 55 degree air temperature, morning winds and the views across the 876 foot tall single span bridge. Runners were pleasantly surprised by the additional cheering from the spectators beginning to fill the north bound lane as the Bridge Day event opened to the public.
Racers exited the event onto open town streets, lapped around the Fayetteville Town Park, and finished in front of the Historic Fayette County Courthouse.
The course had it’s challenges with multiple hills and slightly longer than 3.1 miles. Racers met these challenges with enthusiasm and celebrated at the finish line.
Safety minded volunteers contributed to every successful step!
- 193 racers registered; 171 runners (52 men/119 women)
- 3,333 ft across the New River Gorge Bridge
- 3.6 mile course (yep, a little more than a 5K)
- 20 volunteers enthusiastically cheering on the runners
- 40,241 people reached through the Active SWV Bridge Day 5K Event Page
- Racers ranged in ages from 7-70 years old
- First racer finished in 22:36, Nick Massey from Beckley, WV
- Finisher times: Appalachian Timing Group
Telling the stories of real West Virginians running the Active SWV Bridge Day 5K
Throughout the summer we highlighted real West Virginians who were part of the first 200 runners to participate in the first 5K across the New River Gorge Bridge. These real West Virginians face a lot of the same challenges across the state and are passionate about making a change for themselves, their loved ones, and our next generation of runners.
Randy Tephabock tells us his story; “I am originally from Baltimore, MD. I retired from being a Paramedic up there for 20 some years. I moved down here 10 years ago with my mother after my father died suddenly. My mother passed with cancer in Aug 2012 and I joined the SWVRRC (South West Virginia Road Runners Club) shortly after her death to get back into running.
I had always been a runner since junior high, but never was in a club. Through the club I met my wife. We dated, became engaged in May 2013, got married in Dec 2014, and have been running ever since.
I took her on a rafting trip on the New River under the New River Gorge Bridge in June 2013. A year we also did Zip-Lining in the Gorge area. We did Bridge Day in 2014 as well as the Bridge Walk last 4th of July. So when this race came up, we just had to do it.
My wife is 61 years old, as I will be also on the 15th of August. She is new to running (just 4 years), but was able to do her 1st Marathon at Richmond last Fall. This year our goal is to do a 1/2 Marathon every month, which we have so far, along with 1 mile, 5k, and 10K races. We have posted some good race results for our age class, usually placing 1st or 2nd. We are bringing a friend with us (another good runner, although younger), who has never been to Bridge Day. It should be fun.”
You can view a pre-race live interview with Randy and Chrisandra here. Randy went on to say after the race, “The perfect weather, the excitement of Bridge Day to follow made it extra special and both my wife Crisandra and myself winning 1st in our age groups topped it off.”
Denae Moore is 13 years old and has been training to run her first 5K. When asked what she thinks about on rainy training days, she replied “I think about how the Bridge Day 5k is the first of it’s kind and how I want to be able to compete. I want to run track and don’t want to just keep up with everybody, but win. I train to win.”
Denae kept a great pace to complete her first running race with a competitive time. Many folks congratulated her at the finish line and both her parents where there with big hugs. This is what all the hard work and logistics are about. Active SWV supported Missy Burleson in achieving a Run Coach certification who provided Denae with a safe, successful training plan. Active SWV continues to support Denae’s parents in leading weekly group walks and hikes where she takes part. Healthy friendships are made along the way and Denae is set on a path of staying active. That is the success of the event.
Michelle Seletyn Dolin has recently taken on running events around the region. This is her story; “I have come to the realization that if I am not careful, I will end up battling Type 2 for the rest of my life and I have seen the consequences THAT can have on an individual. I want to be able to travel, to run, to adventure and to enjoy life as I get older.
To be able to do that, I must lay the groundwork now. With my recent health setback, complications and subsequent surgery – I found myself at an undesirable weight and hating the world. That was my springboard moment – sitting on the couch in the sunroom during my recovery – I made a promise to myself that things would change and it would be better and I would not end up like Ma.”
Michelle keeps an impressive blog where you can read more about her running journey; Thoughts and Ponderances. Michelle lost her father just weeks before this race but continued to attend, by herself, in honor of her parents and the value she places on her health. Our hearts go out to her and her courage gives others courage.
Race Proceeds Benefit Local School Active SWV Kids Run Clubs
The central goal of Active Southern West Virginia Kids Run Clubs is for kids to develop an enjoyment and understanding of exercise, while learning healthy habits that extend beyond the program. The participants learn the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle, team building, and techniques for being a healthy runner. Through targeting the youth with this fun initiative, we hope to not only improve the immediate health of the participants, but also instill knowledge, awareness, and ability in West Virginia’s youth.
There are 8 Active SWV Kids Run Clubs around the region with ground work laid to grow to 20 schools this spring. The proceeds from this race and contributions from sponsors provides funding for training Active SWV Kids Run Club coaches, school faculty and volunteers, run club shirts, participation medals, and training equipment specific to each schools needs.
Does your school need a run club?
Do you want to volunteer?
Do you want to donate or sponsor a run club?
Please contact our office at [email protected] or (304) 254-8488.
Active SWV Bridge Day 5K Sponsors:
The second annual Active SWV Bridge Day 5k will be held on October 21, 2017. Stay updated on registration through this event page, Active SWV Bridge Day 5K 2017.Share