Moonlight on the Falls Half Marathon
Updated: Oct 20
On August 27th, 2022, the Canaan Valley Running Company hosted their 2nd annual Moonlight on the Falls Half Marathon. It was held inside the Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia. The event included a full marathon, half marathon and a quarter marathon. We secured our spot 6 months earlier in February for $75 a person and began planning our runcation.
We had a direct flight from Fort Lauderdale into Latrobe, PA. After renting our car Dave and I drove the two and a half hours to Davis, West Virginia which is only about 10 miles from the state border of Maryland. We booked a room for 5 nights at The Billy Motel, a 10 room retro style motel located only 1.5 miles from the Blackwater Falls State Park.
We decided to pick up our packets that evening rather than the day of the race. The packet pickup was located at the park and Dave and I arrived just after 5pm. We picked up our bibs, stickers and our race shirt which was a very nice light knit long sleeve hoodie. There was also backdrop that we were able to take our pre-race photos in front of.
That night we ate at the Billy Motel since technically we didn't have to have our customary Italian dinner until the next evening. The only other nighttime race that we have participated in was back in 2013 at the Full Moon Half Marathon in Rachel, NV. We did have a 4pm start earlier this year in Puerto Rico running the Guiatibiri del Otoao With the strange start time we had difficulties planning our pre-race meal.
So, the next morning we had a nice breakfast in the town of Davis with my aunt and cousins who drove down from New York to visit with us. We walked around a little and then Dave went back to the motel to rest. I stayed out for a few more hours with my cousins and then ordered some Italian takeout from Sirianni's Pizza Cafe to eat back in the room. Unfortunately, they did not have lasagna on the menu, so I ordered Dave spaghetti and meatballs. The restaurant was cash only but the dining room was full with a lot of takeout business as well. The menu was limited but the food was delicious, even the salads were great.
There was a big pre-race party with bands, venders and a food truck. We decided to skip it and stay in the room to rest.
My cousin and aunt drove us to the starting line in hopes that they would be able to see us off, but it was so crowded they just dropped us off. One of the requirements for the runners was that we had to wear some sort of light, either a headlight or light on a running vest or belt. We decided to go with a running hat that had lights under the bill. It worked out well and we didn't blind the oncoming runners throughout the race. The half marathon consisted of two 6.55 mile loops mostly on the park road. There was approximately a half mile per loop that was run on a very dark trail which definitely required the assistance of our lights. While running the trail I could hear the sound of the waterfall however, it was pitch black and could not see anything that my light did not illuminate. There were many hills throughout the race however, we never really needed to walk because of the incline. The weather was perfect, in the mid 60's. One thing there wasn't though was "moonlight" as it was a new moon.
There was a race photographer on the short trail however, they never posted his pictures. They did post the finish line photos which were free to download. There was only one photo of us and it was probably the worst race picture there is. Dave and I both look so bad I actually laughed out loud for a while. Needless to say, we did not save it.
As we crossed the finish line I heard my cousins cheer for us! They were able to make it back in time to see us finish!
We were given our medals and a water. We then took a quick picture before heading back to the motel. We were told that there was food after the race, but it was up on a hill and we didn't want to climb any more hills no matter how high or low they might be.
Ultimately, this was a very nice race that was pretty well organized. The small towns provided plenty of shops and restaurants to visit. The Blackwater Falls State Park was beautiful to tour and hike both before and after the race. We only have 2 more states to go!