Bike, raft, run: take on the New River Gorge Games!

One weekend, three wilderness competitions. Up for a challenge? You’ve found it.

Challenge yourself with these demanding (but satisfying) New River Gorge Games:

Captain Thurmond’s Challenge | Aug. 5

If you’re fit, try this demanding triathlon. It’s one of the East Coast’s most intensive competitions— all 28.5 miles of it.

The first portion entails mountain biking. Mount up in downtown Fayetteville, then pedal over the region’s best singletrack, including Arrowhead Trails. Paved roads round out the remaining 15 miles.

Rafting is next. You’ll have to paddle through 7 miles of frothy whitewater, including Class III-V rapids. Prior experience is a must; this run isn’t for beginners. If you’re part of a rafting team, though, a skilled guide is allowed.

After that, 6.5 miles of running separates you from the finish line. While it’s the shortest segment, it’s also very steep— roughly 1,100 feet of elevation. Strenuous? You bet. The Challenge isn’t for everybody. But if you’re game, just completing this triathlon is an impressive accomplishment.

Register online; fees are $65 per solo racer, $150 for a relay team, or $165 for a rafting team. Add $10 if you decide to sign up on race day.

Fayetteville Town and Country 5k | Aug. 5

Casual and no pressure, this charity race is for walkers and runners alike. It starts in Fayetteville proper and loops past storefronts and neighborhoods. That’s the “town” part.

The “country” portion is next. You’ll trot over an easy trail before finishing at the beautiful Gaines Estate, a restful setting with meadows and stately trees.

Register online; entry fees are $20 per person. You can also sign up on race day. All proceeds go to the New River Gorge Learning Co-op.

Thurmond Triathlon | Aug. 6

Don’t let its name fool you. This race is great for beginners and kids 7 and older!

The triathlon starts at the quaint yellow Thurmond train depot. From there, you’ll bike 2 miles to Stonecliff, raft 1.5 miles to the Dun Glen Day Use area, then jog 2 miles through the surrounding area.

Bikes aside, you don’t need any special equipment. Duckies will be provided if you register by Aug. 1. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring your own craft.

Registration costs $20 for individuals, $35 per couple, or $45 for families.

If you’ve ever tried a New River Gorge triathlon, what was your experience like?

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