Sunday, August 23, 2020 • Davis, WV • Course Map
Surrounded by the natural beauty of West Virginia’s Canaan Valley, a place filled with abundant wetlands, thick boreal forests and small towns where you can pass the afternoon wandering from cafes to galleries to pubs, this race offers a run through a natural world that’s far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Flat, PR-worthy course. Despite its location in the hills of eastern West Virginia, the race organizers say the route for the half marathon is both stunningly beautiful and “surprisingly flat,” which means you’ll need to “get ready to set a new PR.”
Runners will follow an out-and-back course for the race that starts at the Canaan Valley State Park ski area, just off Route 32, also known as the Appalachian Highway. The starting line lies about a 15-minute drive from nearby Davis.
From there, you’ll head west along the road out to Route 32, where you’ll first head south until you hit the race’s first turnaround point, about a third of a mile past the 1st mile marker. Then, you’ll make the turn and begin a long stretch northward along the Appalachian Highway, following it for the next 4 miles to the Canaan Village Inn.
Gorgeous natural scenery. All along this portion of the route, you’ll be running alongside the edges of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a 16,000-acre wildlife that spans roughly 70 percent of the Canaan Valley area, and where you’ll run past the sounds of water running through protected streams and bogs that fill the meadows beyond.
The refuge’s history dates all the way back to the mid-1700s, when a man named George Casey Harness was traipsing through the woods here. In pursuit of an enormous black bear, the legend goes, he came to a place “on the western slope of the Alleghenies which overlooked a wide, well-watered, wooded and grassy valley.
“The breathtaking beauty of the wild valley so impressed young Harness that he involuntarily cried out, ‘Behold! The Land of Canaan!’” (According to the official history by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, that is.)
“This fast, beautiful route will not disappoint.” There’s a second long out-and-back stretch that takes up most of the second half of the half marathon along Freeland Road, and then runners head back to the ski resort area for the race finish.
Here’s how organizers say about it: “Whether you are going for speed, the views, or the camaraderie, this fast, beautiful route will not disappoint.”
All photos courtesy Canaan Valley Half Marathon
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled along the Blackwater River in the eastern part of the state, roughly 70 miles southeast of Morgantown, Davis typically sees mild to warm (and sometimes hot) weather in August, when temperatures average between the high 50s and the low 80s, and precipitation amounts average just over 4 inches for the month.
- August 23 average low temp: 57ºF
- August 23 average high temp: 80ºF
Course Time Limit
- $70 – $90 for the half marathon
- $45 – $60 for the 10K
To reserve your spot in the 2020 running of Davis’s Canaan Valley Half Marathon or 10K race, register online at RunSignUp.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Canaan Valley Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, as well as anything you learned about the race that you think other runners/walkers should know.