The 10 Best Road Races in West Virginia!

Traverse through lush forests, compete in strenuous, high-elevation marathons, or maybe relax a bit for a less-stressful fun run. Either way, it’s time to explore West Virginia via running race. With road races among marvelous backdrops and others that benefit a cause, there’s plenty to choose from. There is a place for everyone at West Virginia’s 10 best road races.

1. Gristmill Grinder, Clifftop, WV

This 5K race on an unpaved trail is one of the most popular in the area. Runners have been running this fun course with an elevation of just over 2,700 feet since 2005. There are breathtaking views along the Middle Earth-like landscape and participants will need to keep focused on finishing the race.

2. Canary in the Cave, Fayetteville, WV

If you enjoy a physically challenging run through some of the most beautiful areas of West Virginia, this is the race for you. This race covers a 15.5-mile course up and down along the New River Gorge and has a stimulating climb at the finish.

3. The Frozen Sasquatch, Charleston, WV

This 25K and 50K race is limited to the first 200 entrants, so make sure to register early for this run through the Kanawha State Forest near Charleston, West Virginia. In addition to prizes for place finishers, qualified participants will receive a shirt for that year's race.

4. Highlands Sky Trail Run, Davis, WV

Considered the ultimate ultra run, the Highlands Sky Trail Run covers a course through the breathtaking Canaan Valley Resort State Park and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The race is limited to 200 participants who must be over 18 to run, and there is a 12-hour limit to finish the course. 

5. West Virginia Trilogy, Horton, WV

Described as a triptych of runs across the Eastern Continental Divide, this three-day, 50-mile course is run through the Monongahela National Forest and begins in the small town of Horton, West Virginia. This is a very challenging course with points that go through dense underbrush, across rivers, and over steep inclines. This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

6. Run to Read Half Marathon, Fairmont, WV

Over 15 miles of blacktop and crushed limestone, the Run to Read Marathon in Fairmont, West Virginia, is sponsored by the Literacy Volunteers of Marion County and all proceeds go to support literacy in the county. If you're looking to run for a great cause, be one of the first 200 applicants to register.

7. The Race through Fallen Timbers, Wayne, WV

Creek beds, hillsides, snow, chilly temperatures, and even fallen timbers are no match for those who choose to be part of the Race through Fallen Timbers in Wayne, West Virginia. There are two races—one timed and one not. The timed race covers eight miles and the untimed course is a fun run for runners of little or no experience who want to try this type of marathon.

8. Sweetheart 5K Race, Nitro, WV

Sponsored by numerous local businesses and part of the 5K Kanawha Valley Winter Series, the Sweetheart Race in Nitro, West Virginia, provides funding for The Michael Lykens Scholarship Fund and Charleston's Regional Spay/Neuter Center.

9. Annual H2H LE Hill Raiser Endurance Challenge, Triadelphia, WV

Following a seven-mile course that is wet, muddy, rocky, and one of the harshest around, participants will be challenged over two days to compete with other experienced runners in day and night runs. Immediately following the race, an awards ceremony will be held and all proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association.

10. This Race is for the Birds, Shepherdstown, WV

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society sponsors this annual family-friendly race to promote educational and natural history programs for children. Races include a 5K and 10K race and a one-mile fun run for children under 10 years of age.

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