Watoga State Park hosts 7th Annual Mountain Trail Challenge

The Races are on! The 7th Annual Mountain Trail Challenge returns to the Beaver Creek Campground at Watoga State Park on August 13th.

The Watoga State Park Foundation will host 5k and half marathon races on the second Saturday in August.  Both race loops begin and finish at Watoga’s Beaver Creek Campground and use an old grassy airstrip to give runners a chance to spread out, then follow beautiful shaded park trails at elevations between 2560 and 3200 feet.  The Half Marathon will use the same route as 2019; the 5k race route may be slightly modified. The half marathon begins at 8:30am and the 5K begins at 8:40am. Walkers are permitted for the 5K.

All race proceeds benefit the park through the Watoga State Park Foundation, Inc. The Watoga State Park Foundation Inc. was formed in 2015.   It is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) resource for the park and public.  The Foundation promotes recreation, conservation, ecology, history and natural resources of the park. Since its inception, Watoga State Park Foundation volunteers have worked thousands of hours, including working with park personnel to maintain and restore Watoga’s beautiful and historic trail system.  In addition, ongoing projects will provide even better recreation for the park’s guests.  Furthermore, the Foundation’s mission includes attracting more visitors to Watoga.  Of note are the Memorial Park Bench project, the Workman Cabin Restoration, and the Watoga Dark Sky Initiative.  These projects include updating signs, hosting races for trail runners, and raising funds for swimming pool improvements.  The Watoga State Park Foundation also works closely with community organizations on educational, artistic, and recreational events in the park.

Work on Watoga State Park began in 1934, during the Great Depression with young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps earning a dollar a day.  They built roads, cabins and other buildings.  They also built trails, stone walls and the swimming pool. The park opened in 1937.

Trail Challenge entrants may download the mail-in registration form to save the online processing fee.

All entrants will receive free refreshments.  Race T-shirts will be guaranteed for those who register by July 24.  There will be finishers’ medals for the half-marathon.  Cutoff time for the half-marathon is the same as prior years:  runners must reach the turn on the Bear pen Trail where it heads up Island Lick Run (6.8 miles from the start) by 10:30am – that is a pace of 17 minutes and 38 seconds.

Registration price for the 5K is $30.00 before July 1st, $35.00 from July 2nd to August 7th, and $40.00 on race day.  The price for the half marathon is $50.00 before July 1st, $55.00 from July 2nd to August 7th, and $60.00 on race day.  Both races are limited to 150 participants.

To register for the 5K or half marathon, https://runsignup.com/Watogamountaintrailchallenge.

Additional race information can be found at https://www.watogafoundation.org/race/.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather