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Saturday, May 16, 2009 -- Charleston, WV / Kanawha State Forest
Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run (iPO Event Id#: 11721)

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

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Near Record Numbers, Big Dogs Prevail

Article and photos by J.R. Petsko

Dirty Dog Photo by J.R. Petsko
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Kanawha State Forest in Charleston, West Virginia is the scenic location for one of my favorite events in the entire state. You see, I'm a dog owner, so I get very excited to cover races like the Dirty Dog 15k Trail Run. Why? Well first off, racers are allowed to run with their dogs.

It's a priceless sight to see the smiles on everyone's faces as they run with their best friends. Now I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. The starting line had over 130 runners lined up to hit the trails, many of them with their four-legged friends in tow. As soon as they took off from the start, the excitement level hit "full-tilt". Runners were shouting, "Woo-hoo!" as the dogs barked right along with them.

From there I was off to hit aid station number two, which was almost 4 miles into the race. The first runner to pass by me was Joel Wolpert. Wolpert was looking strong out front as he attacked the long climb where I was positioned.

Next, came Nathan Miller in the second position. Miller finished eighth in 2008 and was looking to improve on that mark this year. Randy Gibbs was third with his beautiful dog running beside him.

All of the leaders looked strong, but the Kanawha Forest trails are not an easy run by any stretch of the imagination. With a mix of single track mountainous trail and unimproved dirt road, the course includes two long climbs and several sections of rolling ridge lines. "Trails seem to always go up." I heard one racer say to another.

Dirty Dog Photo by J.R. Petsko
See Our Dirty Dog photos
The first to the finish was Wolpert. Joel was able to keep his lead in the final 5 miles of the race sense I last saw him in the forest. His time of 1:07:00 was the fast of the day.

When it came to second place however Randy Gibbs and his pup were able to move up to the second spot. Gibbs finished in 1:12:42. Gibbs also improved on his 4th place finish from 2008.

Nathan Miller only fell one spot and was able to hold onto third place finishing in 1:13:25.

In the women's field it was Cindy Martinsen taking the victory in 1:21:20. Cindy was followed by Sami Harris in second who finished only two minutes back in 1:23:59. Alyssa Anderson took home third in a time of 1:25:47.

Despite the humidity, the numbers proved to provide a near record event. "It was a great race. I loved that we got so many people. I wish we could have more races during the year that were half marathon and below, so that we could attract larger groups of people to the trails. Thanks to all the volunteers and coordinators. It was great." P. Smith commented on the WVMTR site.

Daniel Todd has been the race director since it's inception in 2003. The proceeds go to the Kanawha Trestle Trail and Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association.

This well-supported event continues to grow in popularity thanks to it's dedicated volunteers and the following Dirty Dog sponsors: