Share |

Saturday, October 25, 2008 -- Oak Hill, WV / ACE Adventure Center
7th ACE New River Gorge-ous Trail Run - MSTR #7 (iPO Event Id#: 10889)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Coverage: [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006] [2007]

Story and photos by Julie Black

ACE trail run - Photo by Julie Black
Families make races a vacation
The state of the economy and higher gas prices are a heavy burden for West Virginia rafting companies to bear. Many outfitters in Fayette County were forced in the last few years to merge with others or simply close due to lack in overall numbers and funds.

Yet according to the West Virginia Division of Tourism, "In 2005 ACE Adventure Center payroll increased over 8% due to increased guest visits as a result of its use of State grant money. Because of the marketing success enjoyed with help from the Grant program, ACE is adding new lodging, as part of a $500,000, 2006 construction schedule, which will enable the community to build more facilities and add additional services in the surrounding area to serve the increase in tourism."

ACE has done just that. The lay of the land looks entirely different upon arrival. The pond and Grill are visible, parking has been added, and the trail expansions are apparent. The company's steadiness keeps customers coming back each year. ACE continues to expand their facilities offering deluxe lodging options from log homes to hotel style cabins, outdoor packages to suit any style, and world class rafting.

This year the ACE New River Gorge-ous Trail Run saw more participants than it ever has. "I did everything online too." exclaimed ACE Events Director, Jeff Walls. "I saved money by not having to deal with mailings and still got the high numbers. That's great!"

More and more racers are looking to the internet for race schedules and entry forms. Runners are still willing to travel distances, such as Jason Bryant who traveled from Elkin, NC, and Jeremy Bartley who drove from Covington, VA.

ACE trail run - Photo by Julie Black
Jeremy Bartley on the short course
New Short Course Record Set

Coming off a 17:15 5K win in Beckley, WV, Jeremy Bartley beat the 2007 short course record of 50.52 set by Emily Chaney. Emily was not at the trail run this year to defend her title; rather, she was racing in the 2008 XTERRA World Championships in Wailea Maui, Hawaii where she finished as the 7th woman in her age group.

Bartley, inspired by his time of 46:30, flashed a sign of approval to me to be captured on camera not far from the finish.

Michael Bee, overall winner of the 2008, 2007, and 2006, Mountain State Trail Run (MSTR) Series hosted by West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners (WVMTR). Bee claimed 2nd overall in the short run with a time of 50:15, also beating the previous record. Congrats on another overall series win Michael.

Jeffres Casassa rounded out the top spots in 51:33.

Carolyn Dick claimed 8th overall and lead the women in 55:29.

Ali Peil followed in 14th overall with a time of 1:02:49 for second. Heather Knupp (1:04:19) was third trailed by Samantha Harris (1:04:36) in fourth.

ACE trail run - Photo by Julie Black
Jason Bryant and Daniel McDowell
The Long Haul

The long course times this year were faster than in 2007 despite the slippery conditions. Bloody knees and twisted ankles were possible, and a few were sighted along the way.

Taking it in stride was Jason Bryant who beat the overall time from 2007, claiming first overall in 1:31:08. Running with Daniel McDowell for most of the race, Bryant split in the end. McDowell finished second in 1:32:51. Eliot Cannon was third overall with a time of 1:42:11.

The fastest woman, Sarah Sturgill (15th overall) crossed in 2:08:12. Sturgill won 3rd overall in the MSTR Series. Second overall in the series, Ashley Dolin, claimed second in the race as well with a time of 2:08:22. Jessica Toth (2:15:40) was third.

After the MSTR Series finale was over it was time for drinks, food, and fun. The prize table was plentiful, and unique ACE paddle awards were given. It was a great time for all. Thanks to all of the family and friends who helped out. Congrats to Jeff Walls for putting on yet another fine event at ACE Adventure Center.

Don't forget the 'Quiet Season' Lodging Specials at ACE:

After a day of play at the ski resorts (Winterplace), bike, hike, or XC ski on the trails, or visit the Lost World Caverns, enjoy your own private cabin getaway at ACE. Bask in the pleasure of a soothing hot tub surrounded by the serenity of an evening in the mountains. Oh yeah, did we mention private hot tubs?

This deal is good from November 1, 2008 - March 31, 2009, so choose from any of ACE's deluxe lodging options and save!

  • Sun - Thu: Stay One Night, 2nd Night FREE
  • Fri/Sat: Stay One Night, 2nd Night HALF price
  • Not valid with any other offer.

Find out more at