Deckers Creek Half Marathon
By: Jim Woolfitt
I’m writing this for runners who live in the tri state area (Huntington, Ashland, Ironton and surrounding towns). If you’ve pre-registered for the Deckers Creek Half Marathon or are thinking about it, this blog is for you.
I’ve run this event 10 times in its first 13 years & I’m pre-registered for this year’s race on June 7. I’ve not run any other race as much since 2001. I highly recommend the Deckers Creek Half Marathon.
Deckers Creek has quietly become north central West Virginia’s largest competitive race with over 550 finishers last year. The Clarksburg 10K, another great event, would have to include those doing the companion 2 mile run/walk & the kids races to surpass 550.
Despite running this race often, I’m a little “fuzzy” on a few details such as post race food, how many porta potties along the course & the availability of Gatorade at each water stop.
I must not run hard enough most years as I’m usually ready to eat as soon as I finish. (Unlike a few races I could name, the food is always ready, too.) I usually grab a veggie humus wrap & a slice of pepperoni pizza. There’s always lots of pizza & a limited amount of wraps. There must be other types of food (fruit & cookies???) available but I’m “drawing a blank”. They always have lots of cold bottled water at the finish, too.
I recently heard 2 local runners complaining about Deckers Creek, particularly the last 3 miles or so. While the first 10 miles are mostly in the shade on a gently descending dirt trail, the course gets a little brutal as it nears the finish in Morgantown – pavement, no shade, not much downhill. My advice is to be well hydrated before the 10 mile mark and hold a little back for the last 3.1. Come to think of it, taking on fluids for a run in June just makes sense as does not going out too hard at the start of a race.
Another complaint concerns the awards. They are homemade & just not very special. (No finisher medals either.) With 2 waves, the award ceremony usually goes off at 1pm. Maybe Pat Riley will figure out how to speed this up. They do have a live bluegrass band each year to help pass the time. The awards & band are set up in an amphitheater.
The shirts usually have good artwork. No tech shirts but last year’s model was made of recycled materials. Some of my favorite race shirts are from this event.
They are at least 5 water stops with both water & maybe Gatorade. (See previous note re Gatorade.)
The first 10 miles are run through the woods. If a porta potty is not in sight …......There are porta potties are the start near Masontown, too. (We’re bused from Morgantown to Masontown for the stat.)
The course is certified which means it should be accurate. Easy to spot signs identify the mile markers – most of them anyway. The soft dirt surface may not be ideal as a fast surface but the elevation drop from the start in Masontown to the finish in Morgantown makes this a fast course. There’s a uniformed presence at the few spots where a road crosses the course.
Overall, this is a well organized race. With a fast accurate course, lots of food, plenty of water stops, nice shirts – this event is worth a 3 hour drive.