There were 272 running events held in West Virginia in 2016, with at least one event held in 33 of the 55 counties.
Community running groups and local health and wellness organizers have worked hard in recent years to expand the number of easily accessible running events that are held across West Virginia, focusing particularly on young people and those who don’t consider themselves “serious” runners.
According to data collected at running event websites iplayoutside.com and runningintheusa.com, there were 272 running events held in West Virginia in 2016, with at least one event held in 33 of the 55 counties.
Of the 272 events, 230 of them (85%) were 5 miles or less. Forty-seven events (17%), were 2 miles or less, “fun-run” races typically targeted at children and novice runners.
Not surprisingly, the counties containing West Virginia’s three largest cities hosted the most running events:
- Monongalia County – 33
- Kanawha County – 32
- Cabell County – 15
Outside of the “big 3”, Ohio County held 14 running events, and Harrison County, 13.
Twelve counties did not have any events registered on either iplayoutside.com, or runningintheusa.com: Brooke, Clay, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Lincoln, Mason, Monroe, Ritchie, Tyler, Upshur and Wirt. (NB: counties may have hosted running events that were not registered on either of these platforms.)
October was the most popular month for running events, with 39 races, including a 1 mile race, five kid’s fun runs, twenty-five 5Ks, one 3.5 mile race, a 6K, three 10K races, a 7 mile event, one 15K, and one half marathon.
In April there were 36 races, and in August there were 32. “Turkey-trots” helped make November an active time for West Virginians, with 30 races held.
Community Planned Running Events
In many communities throughout West Virginia, regular running events, like kid’s fun runs and 5K races, are planned by community groups aiming to reemphasize the importance of pursuing an active lifestyle. The West Virginia Physical Activity Network maintains a directory of community running groups and resources.
Mannington, in Marion County, was one local community to start their own race in the past couple of years. After attending the annual Try This conference, a group of volunteers from Main Street Mannington hosted their first local 5k, which attracted nearly 50 people for the first race in October 2015.
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