Saturday, August 22, 2020 • Minden, WV • Course Map
Slightly longer than most other half marathon races — with 13.2 miles of up-and-downhill trail running through the deep hardwood forests of West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River area, vs. the traditional 13.1 miles — the ACE New River Gorge-ous Trail Run & Walk is an event that lives up to its name.
Participants follow a natural trail of both loose and packed dirt, tree roots, rocks and streams that runs above the river gorge as well as the nearby town of Thurmond, which they look out over as they run from a vantage point of roughly 1,000 feet above the town.
One of seven events on the calendar in West Virginia’s Mountain State Trail Run Series, the out-and-back race starts and finishes at the New River Gorge park’s dining lodge, where runners can also register on the morning of the race if they haven’t signed up in advance.
Once runners leave the starting line, the course follows a meandering route through the woods and forested areas above the river, along trails like the Thurmond Mountain Loop, the North Froghopper Loop, the Oather Ridge and through lower-elevation areas like Aspen Cove and Deer Hollow.
The race features little flat terrain to speak of and some steep grades along the way, including one deep descent into the gorge of roughly 500 feet. For runners who aren’t up to that level of challenge, race organizers also offer a 10K run and a 5-mile walking race as part of the event.
While you’re there, over the weekend or even just during the race, take in the full measure of the beauty of the area. Along the 53-mile stretch of the river — which is one of the oldest rivers in the world — protected today by the National Park Service, you can go whitewater rafting, fishing and boating while looking up at the massive sandstone cliffs that overlook the river.
There’s also plenty of historical (and prehistoric) sites scattered throughout the park, including abandoned coal mines and company towns deep in the forest.
Race Weather & Climate
Located about 70 miles southeast of the capital Charleston, Minden (which lies just a few miles from the New River Gorge park area) sees its second-warmest month of the year in August, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 39ºF (in 1982) and as high as 98ºF (in 2007).
On race day (Aug. 22), the average low is 59ºF and the average high is 81ºF.
- 2019 New River Gorgeous Half Marathon Results
- 2018 New River Gorgeous Half Marathon Results
- 2017 New River Gorgeous Half Marathon Results
- 2016 New River Gorgeous Half Marathon Results
Course Time Limit
3 1/2 hours
- $40 and up for the half marathon
- $35 and up for the 10K run
- $30 and up for the 5-mile walk
To reserve your spot in the 2020 running of Minden’s New River Gorgeous Trail Half Marathon, 10K or 5-Mile Walk, register online at Active.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the New River Gorgeous Trail Run? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.