THURMOND, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Over forty people from multiple different states boarded Amtrak’s Cardinal in Thurmond Sunday evening after running 50 miles from Montgomery in what is called the “Highball to Thurmond.”
The Highball to Thurmond, hosted by Trivium Racing, is a 50-mile race that begins in Montgomery at around 4:45 AM with most runners making it to Thurmond near 6 PM the same evening. Runners could either arrange their own ride back or board Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal at around 7 PM.
Other than the first and last miles, this course takes participants completely along the New River Gorge Trails. With 2,000 feet of elevation gain, this course is both manageable and challenging. This trail 55K is touted as well-aided, extremely well-marked, a great tune-up race, and a beginner-friendly ultra with a very reasonable cutoff time.
Those who finished before the train left earned a medal, post-race food, and other awards.
BD Sechler of Apex, North Carolina, says he enjoyed the experience and scenery on Sunday. “It was very cool, it was beautiful, we got to see the New River Gorge Bridge. We went all the way down, got to see the bridge, crossed over the old bridge, and then had to hike all the way back up again,” Sechler said. “It was very cool to be able to come up here and experience the race and just experience what it’s like in this area of West Virginia.”
Sechler’s running partner, Walter Robinson of North Raleigh, North Carolina says he was amazed by all of the beauty seen along the way. “We got to see some beautiful trails running along the river and just the scenery and talking to the other runners,” Robinson said. “I’ve been up to Charleston, West Virginia a couple of times and this is the first time I’ve been to this area. This is beautiful, awesome.”
Both Sechler and Robinson were among the over forty runners to board Amtrak in Thurmond Sunday evening in the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. According to data from Amtrak, Thurmond is one of the least-used Amtrak stops in the United States.
A video of the train arriving in Thurmond can be viewed here.
The name of the race was decided as the “Highball” because the highball was a signal used in early railroads to signal the track was clear. When the ball was hoisted, trains were cleared to proceed.
A date for next year’s Highball to Thurmond has not been released at this time.