Organizers expect another stellar year for the Great Greenbrier River Race

The 28th Annual Great Greenbrier River Race is scheduled for Saturday, April 26. This will be Brenda Cochran’s second year as race director, and she said there really aren’t going to be any big changes to the race this year.

“Last year we did the chip timing which was our major change,” says Cochran. “Because prior to that we’d done everything manually. So, because it worked out so well last year, we went ahead and stuck with it this year. It alleviated some of the volunteers that we needed and with everyone being electronic it just runs so smoothly and records everybody as they come across each of the lines. And it’s just awesome.”

Cochran said the deadline for registration was April 4, and race organizers are happy with the numbers they’re seeing.

“We always do that so we can get the T-shirts ordered and get the meals ordered and things like that,” says Cochran. “This is three years in a row we’ve had right about 500 people, which is great, any more than that, the river and the trail becomes a little crowded. So that’s a number we’re happy with. We have some of the same people year after year, which we love. We love those repeat people coming back and participating and bringing their family and friends, but we also have a lot of new people this year that have never participated before that are really excited about the race, as well.”

Cochran said she’s excited to see more and more spectators at the river race every year.

“It didn’t used to be years ago,” remembers Cochran. “I remember going to a race when there was very few people there. There probably weren’t 60 participating and maybe 20 spectators. Now, I think with the 500 participants, we can easily have an additional 500-1000 spectators… especially when the weather’s nice.”

According to Cochran, the schedule of events will be similar to races in years past.

“Saturday morning we have a mandatory race meeting at 10:30, and the race begins at 11:00 promptly,” she says. “The three mile run is first, and they do the three mile run and then they come back through town, and get in their kayak or canoe and go down the river. Then they have a four mile trek down the river, and then 10 mile bike ride, and they finish up with the bike. We feed the participants after the race, and then we’re going to do awards at 3:00.”

And the band Mixed Nuts, out of Charleston, will be performing at the gazebo again this year. Cochran said they’re expecting another great year for the river race, thanks to a lot of people and a lot of organizations in the community.

“Chuck at Appalachian Sport and Jack Horner’s Corner of course supply the majority of the kayaks and canoes,” Cochran says. “And Appalachian Sport provides the shuttle service back and forth to Buckeye, and they do an awesome job. Everybody. I mean the whole community just really pitches in and helps out. We have a lot of volunteers, and we couldn’t do this race without the volunteers. And it’s just, it’s a wonderful event. It’s a family-fun event and we’re praying for good weather and nice water, and we just hope everybody comes out and watches and has a good time.”

The Pocahontas County Youth Archery Team will be hosting a fundraiser the night before the race.

“The archery team is having a spaghetti dinner on Friday night,” offers Cochran. “So we hope to get a lot of racers to that, and hopefully a lot of local people as well. That’s at Marlinton Elementary School on Friday night.”

The 28th Annual Great Greenbrier River Race is set to kick off on Saturday, April 26, at 11 a.m. on Main Street in Marlinton.

Story By

Angelo Jiordano

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