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A perfect day at the Great Greenbrier River Race

A crowd gathered on the Marlinton bridge Saturday to cheer on participants in the 32nd Annual Great Greenbrier River Race. As runners returned to town and raced to the river, they had to maneuver through an obstacle course of kayaks and canoes. Racers leapt over the colorful crafts to get to their own, and then made their way to Buckeye in the second leg of the race. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

It was hard to argue with anyone in Marlinton last Saturday who said, “This is the perfect day,” regarding the gorgeous weather which came just in time for the 32nd Annual Great Greenbrier River Race.

Racers and fans filled the Marlinton Mini-Park and Main Street as they prepared to enjoy the run/boat/bike triathlon.

Mixed among the adults who make up the majority of the competitors were several youngsters and teens who weren’t going to let their elders have all the fun. Some joined adults on teams, others made up their own teams and a few did the race all on their own.

Jake Payne, a nine-year-old from Charleston, competed twice before with his dad, James, but this year, he was a one-man team. As the minutes counted down to the start of the individual male race, Jake was in the zone and had little to say, instead choosing to use his energy to focus on the task ahead of him.

“He’s always done the kayak and bike by himself,” James said of his son. “This is the first year we’re trying to see how far he can go in this. He did the full ten-mile bike ride when he was six or seven.”

“This is my third one,” Jake said of the race.

Another father and son competed – as a team.

Matthew Jones, 14, of Milton, made his race début this year with his dad, Greg, who participated last year as an individual.

“Dad was going to do it again, so I figured I might as well just help him out because I run cross country,” Matthew said. “I’m doing the running part…”

“And I’m doing the other two parts,” Greg added. “Last year was my first time.”

Participants in the male individual portion of the Great Greenbrier River Race, including Jake Payne, 9, of Charleston, take off from the starting line in the first leg of the one-of-a-kind triathlon. S. Stewart photo

The Joneses own land in Pocahontas County and enjoy visiting. They make sure to come in for the race each year because they enjoy the people and the friendly competition.

Along with racers from all over the state and out of state, locals take part in the competition, as well.

Makenna Woody, a 12-year-old from Snowshoe has volunteered at the River Race in the past and finally was able to compete with her friend, Edie McMillion, 14, of Lewisburg.

“I actually found a partner,” Woody said.

“I’m running and she’s biking, and we’re both rowing,” McMillion added.

The weather held and the race was a great success – for young and old.

Results are:

Female, 16 and under: first place, Abigail Rose; second place, Lila Foster; and third place, Madeleine Rose.

Male, 16 and under: first place, Matthew Daly; second place, Kade Havens; and third place, Gabriel Rose.

Female: first place, Sarah Mallow; second place, Allison Blanton; and third place, Amy Hayes.

Male: first place, William Blake; second place, Andrew Rose; and third place, Ryan Longenette.

Female, masters: first place, Melissa Gamponia; second place, Lisa Westall; and third place, Kelli Cain.

Male, masters: first place, Ray Legge; second place, Doug Kirk; and third place, William Jeffrey.

Female, senior masters: first place, Lynne Ryan; second place, Susan Chappell; and third place, Suzanne McGowan.

Male, senior masters: first place, Ronald Shuck; second place, Marshall Adkins; and third place, Ed Sharp.

Youth Male Relay Team: first place, Salty Psychotic Turtles; and second place, Los Tres Hombres (The Three Men).
Youth Female Relay Team: first place, Mermaids of Split Rock.

Male Relay Team: first place, Sunny Hot Dogs; second place, LuLu; and third place, One Ring Short of an Audi.

Female Relay Team: first place, Wonder Twins; second place, South Branch River Pirates; and third place, Ginder Gals.

Co-ed Relay Team: first place, Blue Ridge Pacemakers; second place, Sunshine and Daydreams; and third place, The Quick and the Dead.

Family Relay Team: first place, Stan’s Clan; second place, Team Deuces; and third place, Marshall Law.

Masters Relay Team: first place, Faster Than We Look; second place, Pendleton Flyers; and third place, Team Dickfer.

Senior Relay Team: first place, Dan the Man is 80; and second place, Off Your Rockers.

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