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Saturday, May 5, 2012 -- Albright, WV / Preston County Golf Course
Cheat River Festival 5K (iPO Event Id#: 13995)

2012: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results]

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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.

Cheat River Festival 5K Photo
View more Cheat 5K Race Photos.
The Cheat Festival 5K run isn't quite as old, this was the eighth year for this annual road run and walk. But I've been to many of them with camera in tow.

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.

Laurie Abildso Photo
Laurie Abildso, 1st place woman
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Director, Laurie Abildso, set a good example for her girls, showing that training really does pay off. Her time of 22:39 earned her the top women's place. Don't miss their event, the Girls on the Run 5K of Monongalia County on May 19, the 3rd race in the Morgantown Area Grand Prix Series.

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., 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

Friends of the Cheat
Friends of the Cheat (FOC)
The Friends of the Cheat was formed in 1994 after the T&T mine, which had been illegally sealed, blew out which sent millions of gallons of acid mine drainage (AMD) down Muddy Creek and into the Cheat River Canyon.

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 for more information.