Saturday, May 5, 2012 -- Albright, WV / Preston County Golf Course
Cheat River Festival 5K
Record Numbers For the Run
Story and photos by Julie Black
I'm one of those transplant townies that's been going to the Cheat River Festival forever, thirteen years to be exact. The festival has been around for eighteen though, so yes, I missed the first few years.
The race used to run through the town of Albright, now the course winds its way through the peaceful, wooded roads near Preston County Country Club. It is nearly traffic free and the pavilion makes the perfect set-up for after race activities.
More than 110 participants pre-registered, a new record, and helped to raise $2,000 for the Friends of the Cheat (FOC).
The FOC continues to work on various issues that affect the Cheat River and its tributaries, with mitigating the impacts of acid mine drainage being at the forefront.
Taking a quick look at the starting line, there were some familiar race faces. Jobey Knapton, a college level cross country athlete of Wheeling Jesuit, and John Snodgrass, a Morgantown area runner, and Laurie Abildso, Director of the Mon County Girls on the Run to name a few. There were also many Morgantown folks who made their way to the area to enjoy the cooler morning and Cheat Festival afterwards.
Jobey Knapton lead Mike Murray by 50 yards the entire race. Knapton seemed in full stride from start to finish. Murray kept Knapton in his line of sight, but it was Knapton who claimed first in 17:05. Murray was second with a time of 17:23. John Snodgrass added a third place finish to his long list of tri-state area races complete with a time of 19:01.
Kristin McCasky (23:08) and Lydia Valenta (23:10) kept things a bit closer, finishing within 2 seconds of each other to round out the women's top spots.
At post-race time all racers enjoyed fruits and cookies and earned free passes to the Cheat River Festival, complete with a full line-up of fantastic, live music, vendors, and much more. The overall and age category winners were presented with hand-made ceramic awards, stained with a unique iron oxide glaze, extracted from Acid Mine Drainage.
Results were provided by Miles of Smiles Timing Services.
Thanks to the volunteers and 2012 Sponsors:
Preston County Country Club, Culligan, Road I.D.
iPlayOutside.com, Runners World Magazine
Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, Kingwood Pharmacy
The Book Exchange, WesBancom Alpine Lake Resort
Mettiki Coal, Casteel & Allender Law Firm
Black Bear Burritos, Old Colony Realtors
Downstream Strategies, Preston Memorial Hospital, and Wamsley Cycles.
About Friends of the Cheat
This event sparked the formation of Friends of the Cheat (FOC) and the River of Promise Coalition, a partnership between various stakeholders committed to implementing AMD remediation projects within the watershed.
Visit cheat.org for more information.