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Saturday, April 28, 2001 -- Marlinton, WV
Great Greenbrier River Race (iPO Event Id#: 2643)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
Also see coverage from: 1998 1999 and 2000

Katie & Nick
It's unanimous, The Great Greenbrier River Race is great fun!
Oh my, could you have had better weather for the 2001 edition of the Great Greenbrier River Race? This certainly helped attract a record crowd of 70 registered teams and individuals, up from a previous record of 54 last year. With teams as big as five members the total number of participants was closer to 200. Never lost in all this is the small town hospitality provided by at least thirty local volunteers from the surrounding communities in Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties.

The Greenbrier River Race, now in its 15th year, is a triathlon consisting of roughly four miles of canoeing or kayaking the Greenbrier River, nine miles of cycling the Greenbrier River Rail Trail, and another three miles of running on the Rail Trail. Boats and bikes of all shapes and styles, and kids, adults and families of all ages and sizes came out for an afternoon of great fun and exercise. It is also good to know that all funds benefit the non-profit Greenbrier River Trail Association (www.GreenbrierRiverTrail.com). It is well deserved as they work hard to but together a quality event that is fun for everyone.

Race start in Marlinton
It's a riot on the river for the race start
The family atmosphere is hard to escape. Steve Adgate, (whose bike this reporter stole, but that is another story) was rumored to have said, "I'm here racing form my lovely wife who is expecting our first child in July." Well, this young family has a lot of catching up to do with some of the others.

The Daly Kids, a true family relay team with Dad (Tim) providing a lot of co-piloting duties and Mom (Susie) doing her best to manage the team. The "Kids" included 7-year-old Anne paddling in the front of a tandem kayak, 9-year-old Billy on the attack for the bike leg, 10-year-old Emily kicking it up for the run, and 6-year-old Megan and 3-year-old Ryan providing cheerleading duties. Out racing in their dark green jerseys, it was nothing but smiles for a family that truly knows how to play together.

Even the defending champs Father, Son and Holey Boat, were from the ranks of the family teams. However, the new and larger field would make a repeat of their overall title from 2000 difficult. "I kind of feel like we have a bulls-eye painted on our chests," said Thomas Samples, the "Son" portion of the family tandem.

Bike/Run transition
The Lexington Strongmen make a smooth transition
That tough competition did show up and they found the bulls-eye. The Lexington Strongmen recorded the overall fastest time and first place in the Open division with Jim McCoig (Bike), Philip Clayton (Canoe), and Ridge Hundley (Canoe/Run) forming the team. All experienced in this style racing, McCoig's 24:46 time on the bike was a large part of their success, it was almost two minutes faster than any other bike time.

Another team from Lexington, Virginia, The Guy from Fairfield and his Band of Hooligans took the Youth division title using Steve Baur (Canoe), Nick Clayton (Canoe), Jesse Ford (Bike), and Chris Patterson (Run). For them is was Patterson's 16:58 in the run, the third best run time, that put them in position for the win. The team races often with the Lexington Strongmen, Nick's uncle was on the winning team, and as Baur said, "We're trying to beat them, but they're not getting old fast enough!"

Even the the solo division winners hinted of a family in the making. It was a double win for Sarah Crandall and her fiance Kevin Fletcher, both from Charleston, West Virginia, and racing for Outdoor Extremes. While Fletcher contributed his success to consistency throughout the three events, Crandall said she excelled on the bike and, as a result, suffured on the run.

Bike
You can't help but enjoy a ride on the Greenbrier Rail Trail
How about the Advantaged team champions? You guessed it, a powerful tandem consisting of John and April Haught. They used the advantage of a tandem kayak which they skillfully navigated for the fastest boat time at 45:30. Their tandem bike and solid run had the pair finishing fourth overall, behind three Open teams four.

As for the defending champs, things started slow with a less than desireable position at the paddle put-in resulting from their Family team classification. A strong bike and solid run was enough to capture first overall among the family teams. While it might not have been the fastest team this day, the father and son sure seemed happy to have been a part of the event once again.

Also out racing again, The Stout Family from Greenbrier County (affectionately known as simply "The Family") included Charlotte and Perry Stout, Mickie Hughes, Katie Hughes (10), Joey Stout (9), and Nick Stout (8). This family crowd (well, at least five of them) completed all three legs of the race together. While it does take them longer than most to complete the race, they were thrilled this year to have taken an hour off last year's time.

Tom & Emily
Emily and Dad bring it home for the Daly Family
They also couldn't be prouder of Nick and Katie who are beleived to be the youngest boy and girl ever to complete all three legs of the race. As they sat at the awards ceremony and reminisced on the day's adventure, I asked if they might be working on a slick new name. Eight-year-old Nick quickly spoke up with his choice: "The Fabulous Family". Well, you know what they say about a family that plays together...

Do you have to be a family to race in this event? Well, of course not! How about Team Diggler? These three guys you'd certainly want to have on your side in a bar fight, but how would they fare as a triathlon team?

To start out, they earned the unofficial "Hangover Award" for thier less than conventional night-before-the-race preparation which included a lot of liquid refreshment. While the team seems quite at home in the local tavern, kayaking turned out to be quite a different art. With no real kayak experience, the difficulty of directing a kayak in a strait line quickly became apparent.

Paddling
Just an easy paddle down the Greenbrier River
With "The Fabulous Family" enjoying the race in a johnboat, they managed to pass up the Diggler kayaker on their way downstream. They were reported to have asked, "Are you in the race?" The reply came back, "No, I'm with the Park Rangers and I'm just making sure everyone gets through safe." As the Digler kayaker finally made his way to the finish, he couldn't fool himself with this little white lie, "My ego really took a blow out there!" The rest of the team did well to try and make up some ground, but this was not to be their day. But I'll bet if you buy them a beer, they'd be happy to tell you all about it with a laugh and a smile.

Whether your looking for a nice day out with the family, some serious triathlon racing, or just some fun with friends, don't miss the 2002 edition of the Greenbrier River Race. With the history it has built over the last 15 years, there's no doubt the event will continue to enjoy wonderful success.