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Strong Participants Expected at Blackwater Races | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo Submitted Nearly 150 runners are expected to take part in Saturday’s Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon in Tucker County. Pictured above, a group of competitors battled it out for positions at last year’s event, which had 117 runners despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

THOMAS — Runners from all over West Virginia and neighboring states head to Tucker County on Saturday for the 4th Annual Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon.

Taking place on the Blackwater Canyon and Allegheny Highland Trails, the race runs from Thomas to Mill Race Park in Parsons. Last year, 117 entrants battled it out over a rugged race course made up of pavement, dirt and crushed stone.

The first race of the Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon was held in 2018. After a strong run in 2019 with 151 runners, the 2020 event was canceled due to his COVID-19.

Race director Sarah Forbes expects the field to approach the race maximum of 150 this year.

“Last year many competitors had to cancel at the last minute due to COVID, but we still had a lot of participation.” Forbes told Intermountain.

“As far as this year’s race goes, we’ve already registered 135 runners as of Wednesday morning, so it’s going to be a very large group this year. Runners will be signing up all the way to the start of the race. I have an opportunity.”

The Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon is a point-to-point race, with competing runners watching the course descend to approximately 1,400 feet. The race starts on the rail trail under First and Front Streets in Thomas. The finish line will be Parsons.

“None of the courses are paved” Forbes said. “There are some sections of gravel road that are moderately maintained, but it is true trail racing.

“The best part of the race is where the proposed Blackwater trail is.

Buses transport runners from Parsons to the start of the race. The bus leaves Mill Race Park in Parsons at 8:00 AM and heads to the starting line in Thomas. Bus journey time is approximately 35-45 minutes.

Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers and top male and female finishers in each age group of 0-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60-69. is awarded. , and 70 and above.

Pick-up packets are available at the rail yard on Friday evenings at Thomas’ from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Race day packet pick-up will be at Parsons’ Mill Race His Park from 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. /Parsons/Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon.

Three aid stations will be set up along the race course, providing water and a variety of energy snacks. The race is cupless and each competitor is asked to use a provided cup or water bottle.

This year’s Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon is in partnership with the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners Helvetia 10k Mountain Run scheduled for Sunday. Racers who enter and finish both races will receive a special hat with the Blak-Hel Double logo. For more information on the Helvetia 10K Mountain Run, please visit

There is a race fee and registration fee for runners participating in the Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon. Proceeds from the race will be donated to the Highlands Trail Foundation.

“This event has really helped the Foundation and allowed us to do things we couldn’t do before.” Highlands Trail Foundation President Karen Carper said: “We have been able to grow as a small nonprofit.

“We did it in 2019 after our first Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon. “We will be able to obtain funds that can be shared with others who have trails, so the funds will be granted to organizations in Potomac Highlands that are committed to trail development.”

For more information about the Highlands Trail Foundation, please visit

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