Annual Barkcamp Trail Run Saturday

Trail runners seeking a challenge will get all they asked for and more Saturday during the annual Barkcamp Race at Barkcamp Lake State Park near Belmont.

The race – a member of the Health Plan Grand Prix Series – features three separate events, all of which begin and end at the upper parking area of the beach: a 5-mile trail challenge walk beginning at 9 a.m., an 8.4-mile trail run which begins at 8:30 a.m. and a 25K trail run that begins at 7:30 a.m. and traverses the 8.4-mile course twice.

Proceeds benefit operation of the park. Race co-directors and trail runners Rod Miller and Cindy Foose started the event nine years ago.

Due to a statewide decrease in funding, they said, parks all over are struggling to survive with less money. What makes the Barkcamp Race unusual is that all races are done on the park’s hiking and horse trails, so the only time participants are on a road is to get to another trail. The courses are challenging, picturesque, offer a variety of elevations and are never the same from year to year.

Foose said keys to trail running include always looking ahead to see what is in front of you and looking down for things that will trip you.

Participants will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt, a meal from Ye Olde Alpha in Wheeling, music by Mr. Twister, cookies from Hollie’s Cookie Hut and post-race massages from Terri Jarrett. This year’s event honors Wilbur “Gibby” Gibson.