Mother Nature may rain on your parade, but she can’t dampen your spirit. That was the case Saturday at the Great Greenbrier River Race in Marlinton. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the race returned to its full-fledged glory with more than 300 participants.
Despite the drizzle and chill in the air, eager racers from ages five to 82 were amped up and ready to take on the one-of-a-kind triathlon featuring running, kayaking and biking.
It was a bittersweet day for Brenda Cochran, as this would be her last year to serve as race organizer.
She said it has been a great year of planning and interest from racers who couldn’t wait to return to the Greenbrier River and Trail.
“There are a lot of people interested, and we had a lot of people sign up on race day, which we never had before,” she said. “We had quite a few of those this year which is uncommon.”
During the pandemic, the race continued with a virtual option, but Cochran said that was scrapped this year.
“We just cut out the virtual option,” she said. “We’re just in person. We decided, if you want to be here, join us, we’d love to have you, and if not, see us next year.
“It’s been so nice,” she continued. “That’s why we have all the bright colors. That’s why we’re in tie-dye and the shirts are all in purple and orange because we felt those were celebratory colors. We were like, ‘This is a celebration because everybody is back together doing the race again.’”
The racers were happy to return and many newcomers were ready to start a tradition of participating.
“We have so many people who have been doing this for so many years,” Cochran said. “I talked to one gentleman who has competed every year since it began in 1991. My youngest participant this year is five and the oldest participant is eighty-two.
“I talked to a lady last night, who flew in from Florida just for the race,” she continued. “She arrived yesterday and registered last night. She said she was going on two hours of sleep.”
While it is a competition, the atmosphere of the race is fun and family oriented, a feeling that was felt by all the racers. If one was hung up in their kayak due to low water in the river, another racer was quick to jump out of his own kayak to help. They kept an eye on each other and made sure they all returned to the finish line safely.
“It’s a fun event,” Cochran said. “Most people aren’t that competitive – they’re just here for the fun.”
During the awards ceremony, event emcee Robin Demarchi recognized Cochran for her dedication to the race and thanked her for all the years she has organized the event.
“She has done an awesome job,” Demarchi said. “I just want to thank her so much.”
Demarchi presented Coch-ran with a photograph, by Laurie Cameron, of kayakers from a previous race.
In other special awards, Demarchi presented Laurie Cameron photos to Susan Chappell and Lynne Ryan for their many years of participating in the race. She also recognized the youngest racer – Iris Krack and the oldest racer – Ed Sharp.
The results of the race are as follows:
Overall Youth Relay Team
First place: Adventure Pocahontas II – Carter Faulknier, Tyler Faulknier and Mia Valach; second place: Adventure Pocahontas – Julia Brown, Victor Dean and Silas Dean; and third place: Team CAT – Cora Baldwin, Ahna Valach and Tanner Baldwin.
Overall Male Relay Team
First place: Sunny Hot Dogs; second place: The Twins; and third place: Jack and Nigel.
Overall Female Relay Team
First place: Ambiguously Speedy Trio; second place: Wonder Twins; and third place: South Branch River Pirates.
Overall Co-ed Relay Team
First place: That’s All You; second place, TTR; and third place: Pat Rick.
Overall Family Relay Team
First place: TTR; second place, Mom is 70; and third place, Purple Paddlers.
Overall Masters Relay Team
First place: That’s All You.
Overall Senior Relay Team
First place: Faster Than We Look
Female 16 and Under Overall
First place: Madeleine Rose
Male 16 and Under Overall
First place, Brett Jones; and second place, Kyle Peters.
Female 17-29 Overall
First place, Amanda Forth.
Male 17-29 Overall
First place, Corbin Peters; second place, Lucas Gardner; and third place, Kellen McClure.
Female 30-39 Overall
First place, Meghan Fisher; second place, Tiffany Harless; and third place, Molly Wolff.
Male 30-39 Overall
First place, Ian King; second place, William Blake; and third place, Tyson Price.
Female 40-49 Overall
First place, Teresa Segelson; second place, Allison Blanton; and third place, Kellie Blake.
Male 40-49 Overall
First place, Gregg Peters; second place, Andrew Rose; and third place, Phil Cole.
Female 50-59 Overall
First place, Edna Spang; second place, Kim Lucas; and third place, Beth Hudspeth.
Male 50-59 Overall
First place, Kevin Slack; second place, David Burkwall; and third place, Scott Menefee.
Female 60-69 Overall
First place, Peggy Novak; second place, Lynne Ryan; and third place, Kristin Dunham.
Male 60-69 Overall
First place, Ray Legge; second place, Jim Williams; and third place, Hansel Lucas.
Male 70 and up Overall
First place, Lynn Brookhouser; second place, Ronald Shuck; and third place, Robert Anderson.
For a full list of results, visit https://tristateracer.com/