Prime conditions for this year’s Great Greenbrier River Race

Racers and spectators couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the 28th Annual Great Greenbrier River Race in Marlinton on Saturday. Friday’s showers provided participants with sufficient water levels in the Greenbrier River, and race day was accompanied by sunshine and warm weather.

Race director Brenda Cochran said they’re still tallying the official count and results, but more than 500 racers participated in the event.

“We had a few that didn’t record when they came across the finish line, not really sure why. We had over 300 solos and teams and we only had 8 that didn’t register, but of course, any is not good. So, those were the few snags.”

Other than the timing issue, Cochran said the race went well.

“We had a few falls on the bike portion, had a few scrapes and scratches. Of course I heard from many people, we had a little boy, one of our youth racers, kind of tipped his boat in the river. One of the racers stopped to help him, and got the water out of his boat, and sent him on his way. That was one of our local guys, Nick Irvine. That kind of shows you that the spirit of the race, that helping out a fellow racer was more important than winning or getting to the end. So that was pretty cool that Nick took the time to do that. We were all proud.”

The final figures haven’t been tallied just yet, but a preliminary review of the race results reveal that this year’s overall race winner was Benjamin Lawry, of Roanoke, Virginia, with a time of 1 hour and 23 minutes. The overall female soloist was Anita Swanson, from Fayetteville, with a time of 1 hour and 48 minutes, and the first place team was the Cave Run Outdoor Center. They finished in 1 hour and 36 minutes.

According to tri-state racer, participants came to Marlinton from as far as Georgia, Alabama and Florida to race.

For our top local, Pocahontas County participants, Claire Groth, of Hillsboro, finished 66th overall, followed by Lynmarie Knight, also from Hillsboro, 67th overall, and Richard Prestage, of Green Bank, who came in 79th overall. For full race results, visit and search for the 28th Annual Great Greenbrier River Race.

Cochran said the local volunteer help is the only reason organizers are able to continue to host the race every year.

“We had the Boy Scouts and the FFA and the Pocahontas County Tourism Club all helping out this year, plus just a lot of local folks. And If it weren’t for the volunteers, the race would not be possible. So I‘d just like to send a huge shout-out to them and tell them thank you, thank you, thank you for all they do.”

Some local political candidates were in attendance on Saturday. Charles Kinnison is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates District 43. He said he’s originally from Pocahontas County, though he lives in Elkins now. Kinnison was attending the race with his wife Esther and their son Levi.

“This is the first time that we’ve actually been to it, so it was very nice to be here today. Especially from the bridge, Esther got some good pictures of the race. So it was really nice.”

Phil Davis is one of the guitarist and singers in the band Mixed Nuts, out of Charleston, who performed at the gazebo during the course of the day. Although Mixed Nuts has been tooling around together since the 90s, Davis is the newest addition to the band, and this way his first time to the area.

“It’s beautiful out here. We were coming through like the state park on the edge of Pocahontas County. It just took our breath away man. It was just gorgeous.”

Story By

Angelo Jiordano

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