Race the mountains! Here’s how

Competitors take on “Captain Thurmond’s” Challenge

Test your grit and “trail smarts” at these adventure competitions!

Play, paddle, and hike your way through Southern West Virginia’s most scenic regions. There’s a contest for every ability, so go ahead — bring your family or go solo.

1. Thrills in the Hills | June 16-18

Looking for something easy peasy? Thrills in the Hills fits the bill with family games, events, and casual contests.

Just head to Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park, a sprawling off-road destination near Sophia. Apart from its woodsy ATV trails and motocross track, the resort also has casual campsites.

Combine all of these together, and you get Thrills in the Hills. Highlights include live music, fireworks, and kids’ games. Burning Rock will also have mud bogging competitions and mud runs. Get dirty or watch other folks get splattered!

For the latest details and event offerings, check out their Facebook page.

2. Scenic Mountain Triathlon | July 9

Stock up on those energy bars! You’ll need them as you swim, bike, and hike through the Monongahela National Forest.

Richwood’s Scenic Mountain Triathlon pits you against Summit Lake (for .5 miles) and Kennison Mountain (a 17.1-mile bike ride). Then, jog 6.2 miles from Cranberry Glades to the nature center.

Perks include a pre-race spaghetti dinner and celebratory cookout. As a racer, you’ll also get a free shirt.

3. National Scout Jamboree Visitor Days | July 21-27

Head to Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean for days of summer sports. Normally a place for Boy Scout activities and concerts, this venue will open up a host of adventures that anybody can try.

A participant pass treats you to challenge courses, BMX riding, shooting, the intriguing Boulder Cove, and more. Challenge your kids! Jamboree Visitor Days make exercise (and casual family competition) a blast.

4. Little Beaver Chainring Challenge | July 30

If you’re an avid mountain bike rider, this contest is for you. The Little Beaver Chainring Challenge in Beaver involves 7 miles of singletrack through state park territory. Uneven ground, rocks, and roots are par for the course. But you’ll also get gorgeous scenery and the satisfaction that comes with helping a charitable cause.

5. New River Gorge Games Weekend | Aug. 5-6

Battle the mountains 3 different ways!

That’s the deal with New River Gorge Games, an event with has races for athletes of all ages. The Thurmond Triathlon is the easiest. Kids and beginners must bike 2 miles, paddle 1.5 miles, and run 2 miles, all through the historic region. It’s a fantastic way to sample this gritty but challenging sport.

But if you’re a trained athlete, try Captain Thurmond’s Challenge instead. This 28.5-mile monster consists of strenuous mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and wilderness running. Teams welcome!

The Fayetteville Town & Country 5k skips biking and rafting entirely. Instead, you’ll jog from downtown Fayetteville to the picturesque Gaines Estate.

6. Spartan Race West Virginia Trifecta Weekend | Aug. 26-27

Got true grit? Scramble over obstacles and slog through mud to find out.

The Spartan Race West Virginia Trifecta Weekend will feature several extreme endurance contests. Pick from grinders like the Beast (a 12-14-mile course with 30 or more obstacles) to the “easier” Sprint— a 3-5 miler with 20+ barriers. Younger folks can compete in the mud, too. There’s a Kids’ Race just for them!

Register as a solo performer or sign up your team. Then get ready to take on the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

How do you like to challenge yourself in Southern West Virginia?