Last month I ran my first in person race of the year. In my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states, I headed to West Virginia to run the Canaan Valley Half Marathon.
I had never been to West Virginia before and had no idea what to expect or where to even run a half marathon. I came across the Canaan Valley Half Marathon and the area looked like a great place to visit and the end of April would the ideal running weather.
Well I thought heading south from Boston at the end of April would give me ideal weather, but I forgot I was heading to the Mountain State, so two days after it was in the 70s in Boston, I was driving into the Canaan Valley Resort with snow coming down. Not what someone who really, really, really hates snow wants to see. Luckily though the snow was short lived and didn’t even stick to the ground. And by race day the weather was perfect for running!
The race was held at the Canaan Valley Resort. It’s very convenient for a race to be held right at the hotel you are staying at. I checked in on Thursday evening and spent Friday exploring the local area, which was so beautiful, if you’d like to learn more about the area, check out my post on Canaan Valley West Virginia.
That evening a went to bib pickup up which was right in the hotel and then went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. There was a pretty long wait for dinner, so I ended up having dinner with three other girls who were also running that I met while waiting. I was literally at the two weeks after my vaccine that day and after a year of not being indoors with anyone else unmasked this was quite the risky move for me, but I’m so glad I did it, it was great to actually have a meal with new people that I just met and talk about other races we had all run. Meeting people is one of the biggest things I have missed this past year when there haven’t been many in person races.
To accomodate social distancing, the race was held on both Saturday and Sunday morning. I ran on Saturday morning and the weather was perfect, it was sunny and cool, great for running. Sunday morning featured alot of fog, so I’m so glad I had chosen Saturday, I wouldn’t have had much motivation to run on a foggy morning.
I usually am pretty bad about looking at the elevation chart of a race beforehand, but this time I did and was prepared but still not all that happy about the amount of hills in the race. Hills are definitely my nemesis and I avoid them at all costs.
The race course was very beautiful, the majority of it taking place on the golf course at the resort.
The race started with a big downhill and you know how they say, “what goes up must come down”, well the reverse is also true, “what goes down must come back up”. So of course the very end of the 13.1 mile race was up a ridiculously steep hill, talk about earning your medal in that last tenth of a mile! A picture can’t even represent how steep this hill was!
Other than hating the hills, this was a really great race. A beautiful course, convenient start and finish right at the resort and extremely well run race. They also had a 5K and 10K race in addition to the half marathon. If you wanted to do the 5K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday, you could complete the Conquer the Valley Challenge and earn yourself three medals.
I highly recommend this race if you are running all 50 states and looking for a well run race in a beautiful area to visit.