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Sunday, July 13, 2008 -- Richwood, WV / Summit Lake - Monongahela National Forest
Scenic Mountain Triathlon (iPO Event Id#: 10998)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results]

Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007]

The Race That Almost Wasn't

Story and photos by Julie Black

Photo by Julie Black
The rains came later in the day
For an event that almost didn't happen due to a loss in sponsorship, the Scenic Mountain Triathlon certainly didn't show it on race day.

This year's sponsors really came through for the 23-year old event, even providing the spectators with free T-shirts. Brooks Run Mining Company and Alpha Natural Resources gave generously to keep the beloved triathlon from becoming extinct.

With a hefty turn-out and warmer than usual lake to swim in, both participants and volunteers were ready for a great day.

The classic triathlon began with a half mile Summit Lake swim. The grueling part was the 17.1 mile road ride from Summit Lake to Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. The rolling hills were continuous. The race ended with a 6.2 mile loop run on mostly paved roads.

Google "Ryan Hurley, triathlon" and you'll get a slew of race results with his name nearing the top of the listings. From Salem, Virginia, 30-year old Hurley is an avid triathlete. He travels to nearby states, competing in NC, VA, WV, among others. In the Scenic Ryan won overall, beating out all teams as well. His total time of 1:42:44 earned him the top overall spot. He had the fastest run leg of the day completing the loop in 39:37.

Photo by Julie Black
Happy to be triathlon ready
Jeff White (33) of nearby Elkins, WV crosses as the second individual, total time being 1:46:16. Another Virginian, Jim McGehee of Newport claimed the third overall prize (1:47:10).

The first woman to finish is a top XTERRA pro competitor and professional mountain biker. Kristy Lanier (Dirtbean/KONA), was the fourth individual to finish overall and the first female (total time: 1:48:13).

"My coach is working with me on my run." Kristy smirked. "I get caught on the run a lot, but today I thought the bike leg was pretty hard. No breaks like mountain biking. I was kind of waiting for that break, but it never came."

Kristy resides in Marlinton, WV where she runs Dirtbean, a bike/coffee shop/cafe, training center, and Inn. Where does she find the time to train and compete? It must be all that awesome coffee that keeps her going.

After the first woman came in, the rain began to beat the pavement. The brief downpour made the runners and remaining bikers glisten in the late summer sun.

Despite the late rain, Amy Robbins (14th overall) took the second women's spot in 1:59:16, pulling off a fast swim in 11:28 right at the start.

Photo by Julie Black
The swim leg was the shortest
First out of the water was Hannah Vernon, who swam the .5 jaunt in 10:41. Hanna is off to swim at the collegiate level. She took home the third women's overall prize with a time of 2:07:22

The first team finished with the second overall fastest time (1:43:57). Team "Beauty & The Beasts:" Amanda Blankenship, Michael Conelly, Adam Stephens had a combined time of 1:43:57. They had the fasted bike leg of the day, 50:14.

Tm Robbins was the second team (1:58:54) and Guns and Roses (2:01:00), was third.

The post-race BBQ included grilled chicken, burgers, hot dogs, salads and more. The feast of feasts was had by all. Afterwards, race director Vikki and her crew of hard workers smiled. "We're thankful to have these sponsors this year. We couldn't have done it without them."

We're happy to see this tradition in Richwood continue, see you at the 24th annual.