Cooper's Rock State Park is quiet for the 10k held every March by the Morgantown runners group.

Cooper’s Rock State Park is quiet for the 10k held every March by the Morgantown runners group.

RACE: Cooper’s Rock Challenge, Race the Rock, 10k run, 5K walk
WEBSITE: iplayoutside (look for the MAGP link)
WEATHER: About 36 degrees, overcast, was to snow later in the afternoon
COURSE CONDITION: Mostly asphalt, with a few areas of a gravel and asphalt mix.
COURSE: Hills, more hills. Path clearly marked at the mile points by either signs, numbers on asphalt or both. Volunteers were at every turn to make sure people went the right way through the hills. Hills we weren’t to use were taped off. Did I mention the hills? They weren’t that bad, there was just a lot of them.
EXPECTATIONS: I didn’t have any, because I hadn’t run since the previous weekend. I wanted to keep near the hour mark. I also used a Timex fitness watch with GPS, etc., so I could listen to music on my phone, track my run on the watch. I also wore my new running shoes, Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s, which didn’t cause me any problems.
THE RACE: GPS didn’t work on my watch, so I just marked off my time at the mile markers. My phone also decided not to work just as the race was about to start.
I got there about two hours early to make sure I got a shirt (I ended up with two), and met Jim Bailey, a longtime runner from Cedarville, W.Va. He’s done the race in the past and told me how a friend told him not to go fast down the hills because he’d tear up his quads. He and I ended up running most of the race together. Jim is awesome — funny, seemingly known by everyone, and supportive. It was a great run, until I couldn’t keep up with him around four and a half miles. Then when I got close to the finish line, I heard someone say to finish strong and I did. I was surprised when I learned I was under an hour. Jim ended up placing first in his age group.
FINISH: I got a PR and was a few minutes off the top three in my age group, who are some of the best runners in the area. I’ll definitely run this again. The after-run soup, hot cocoa and cookies were delicious.
SIDE NOTE: This is the first race of the 2013 Morgantown (WV) Area Grand Prix. It’s a series of 10 races in which a point system determines the top male and female finishers. If you compete in seven out of 10 races (about one a month March-November), you get a certificate. It’s a great series of races, helping great causes. I highly recommend doing a grand prix in your neighborhood if it’s available. It adds an extra incentive to get out there and run. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet you’re own Jim Bailey.