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Saturday, June 4, 2011 -- Morgantown, WV / Hazel Ruby-McQuain Park
Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon - MAGP #5 (iPO Event Id#: 13321)

2011: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

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Half-Marathon More Popular Than Ever

Story and Photos by Julie Black.

Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon photos by Julie Black
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Since it's inception 11 years ago, the Deckers Creek Trail Half-Marathon has attracted more than 100 runners to it's path, growing year after solid year. It now maxes out at 600 participants, and race organizers may need to lobby to add more in the future. Why? Let me explain.

Half marathons have really grown in popularity over the last few years. Some people try to run one in every city of every U.S. state, or even one per country. The Washington Post called it a national trend in 2010.

In 2009, Brom Hoban of noted that "The 13.1-mile event continues to be the fastest-growing distance for weekend warriors. A big reason for the popularity is that, for many runners, half-marathons offer the best of both worlds: a worthy accomplishment, but without as demanding a training schedule as its big brother, the marathon. You are also less likely to get injured during your buildup for the half-marathon, and you'll recover much more quickly."

Race director and Mon River Trails Conservancy (MRTC) member, Ella Belling, knows this all too well since the 2011 Deckers half-marathon maxed out weeks before the registration deadline. The crew had to employ two race starts in order to keep runners spaced out on the trail. Participants came from near and far, people of all ages, smiling all the way down the trail.

Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon photos by Julie Black
Jackie Rzepecki, 1st place female
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Of all the racers in the bunch, West Virginia runner Derek Bolyard of Elkins ran the fastest. Keeping an average pace of 5:39, he won first overall with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, and 13 seconds.

Brent Lopick of nearby Pittsburgh, PA finished second in 1:15:48. Guy Holmes drove 6 hours and 50 minutes from Armada, MI to cross in third overall with a time of 1:18:31.

Also from Michigan, was first place female Jackie Rzepecki who grabbed fourth overall in 1:19:33.

From Belpre, Ohio, Amber Hanes finished as the second woman in 1:21:56, good for seventh overall. Jen Sober of nearby McHenry, Maryland took the third female spot in 1:27:23.

Honorable mentions are 70 year old, Jim Bailey of Cedarville, WV, who took home top honors in his age class with a time of 1:52:18 and local Morgantowner, 16 year old Brynn Harshbarger, who dominated the 00-19 women's class with a time of 1:38:34.

All proceeds went to benefit the Mon River Trails Conservancy to help manage and maintain the Mon River and Deckers Creek Trails. This year's event raised $18,000 for the trail!

Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon photos by Julie Black
See more Half Marathon photos.
Currently, 48 miles of the Mon River/Caperton/Deckers Creek Rail-Trails are open for non-motorized use. In the Morgantown area, 8-miles of trail are paved. The rail-trail connects three counties, Marion, Monongalia, and Preston Counties in North Central West Virginia.

The trail features many historic landmarks such as; the recreated frontier settlement of Prickett's Fort State Park, the nation's first New Deal community-Arthurdale Heritage, and an abandoned row of coke ovens, remnants from the large coal-mining industry. The Bretz Coke Ovens are listed as a National Historic Landmark and are currently being considered for restoration and interpretation.

This northern terminus extends to the WV state border and will eventually link with rail-trails in Pennsylvania.

[ View the Trail Map ] (pdf file)

Five years ago, this whole trail system was designated a National Recreation Trail. Find out more on the American Trails website at:

To support the trail even more, become a member of MRTC at: and sign-up early for the 2011 Half Marathon!

* Morgantown Area Grand Prix Series Event *

Find out more about the 2011 series at, plus view points, races, and rules.