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Saturday, April 17, 2010 -- Danese, WV / Babcock State Park
Babcock Gristmill Grinder
Trail Run & Fun Walk
(iPO Event Id#: 12647)

2010: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results]

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A Humble Trail Runner's Perspective

Article by Sarah T. Rollins, with photos by Julie Black

Beth Hudspeth photo by Julie Black
Photo of Beth Hudspeth, see more race photos
In my book, there's no greater humility than that handed to you by Mother Nature. The depth and beauty of a place so surreal that you realize the greatness of something more . . . something bigger than yourself.

Run . . . Breathe . . . Focus . . .

Run . . . Breathe . . . Focus . . .

A simple mantra repeated over and over. Words were all they were. Half-way up the first climb, a lack of sleep, a long drive, and an unmentionable stomach ailment pulled me to the side of the trail. After urging my best friend to go on without me, I was considering my first DNF.

Laughing and smiling, a group passed by me, plugging away up the unforgiving climb. What was I doing sitting at the side of the trail?

Determination . . . Run . . . Breathe . . . Focus . . .

I moved on, one foot in front of the other, all the way to the top. At the crest of the hill, the connection was made. No longer just words, my mind had focused and my body began to work. As if my eyes had opened for the first time that day, I saw what I loved . . . the reason the trails beckon me. From the ruggedness of the rocks and roots to the tender delicateness of the ferns on the forest floor; with the roar of the river below, I finally began to run!

Pete Daly photo by Julie Black
Photo of Pete Daly, see more race photos
After being separated at mile four, I gained ground on my buddy whose bold blue shirt I saw in the distance. I shouted out to a passing runner to tell the pretty brunette in the blue that her best friend was still in the race.

At around mile eight, I was finally able to match her pace. An understanding glance was exchanged and we ran side by side in silence because no words were needed.

You see, we share a common interest . . . a love for running and the serenity that is found when you allow yourself to be lost in your surroundings.

The Gristmill Grinder taught me a couple of things on April 17, 2010. The most important being there's not an ounce of quitter in me! (Besides, if I had dropped out, I wouldn't have seen the rest of the beautiful course . . . even though Melanie was taking mental notes, just in case.) And there's no other feeling in the world like crossing the finish line hand-in-hand with your best friend!

I challenge everyone who reads this article to take on the 'Grinder' in 2011. I promise the abundant beauty of Babcock State Park will be awaiting and the experience is there for YOU to discover.

Gristmill photo by Julie Black
Photo of the Babcock Gristmill by Julie Black
This year, the "Grinder Crew" held the event as a fund raiser with race proceeds benefiting the Children's Hunger Fund ( CHF is a non-profit, 501-3 organization that is international in scope. Along with that was a food drive on race day to support the local food bank. Participants were encouraged to bring nonperishable food items as donations.

Editor's Note . . .

My family has been going to Babcock State Park for more than 30 years. It's a family vacation destination for us. We fish, hike, sit by the fire, relax, and play a vicious game of spoons.

The gristmill and falls is also one of the most photographed spots in all of West Virginia. This re-created mill is a working, living monument to the state's more than 500 mills of yesteryear. It incorporates various parts from three defunct mills in WV, one dating back to 1890. You can purchase freshly ground buckwheat flour and cornmeal made at the mill.

Find out more about the park at