March 24, 2021
Interview with a Trail Runner
The sixth running of the Wonderland Mountain Challenge is happening at ACE Adventure Resort May 29, 2021. This exciting trail run takes participants into the beautiful New River Gorge along a half marathon or 10K race route. Runners will be treated to awe inspiring overlooks into the gorge, cascading waterfalls, mining ruins and a spectacular hardwood forest along the course. This course is a favorite among many runners in West Virginia and we wanted to find out what makes the run so special. We had a chance to chat with Jack Clock who ran the race in 2019 and get his insights.
Jake Clock is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He relocated to the Mountain State a few years ago working in our seasonal industries. Currently, Jake is pursuing a Recreation Management degree from WVU Tech in Beckley. What little free time he does have is spent skating with his daughter and running the local trails.
Why do you enjoy trail running?
I enjoy trail running because I am completely surrounded by nature during my runs. It creates a peaceful and constantly changing environment around me that makes running easier.
What is your favorite part of Wonderland Mountain Challenge?
My favorite part of Wonderland Mountain Challenge was that it is a trail run in nature and the beautiful New River Gorge. All of my personal runs are in nature and I prefer this type of running.
What is the most challenging aspect of the Wonderland Mountain Challenge?
The most challenging aspect of the Wonderland Mountain Challenge was the steep grade of most of the trail. I don’t remember much flat or downhill but I like the challenging aspect to the course. It makes it so if you can do this race, you can do any other race.
How do you train for Wonderland Mountain Challenge?
I trained for the Wonderland Mountain Challenge by incrementally increasing my mileage over a period of time. Having one long day a week and increasing mileage every two weeks. COVID changed my training since the first race was cancelled so I trained for over a year with a gap where I stopped running for a little. All of my training is in the outdoors with as much incline as I can get.
What advice can you give to new trail runners?
I would tell them it is much harder than pavement running. Though it is harder, time goes faster and that makes it partially easier for me. Overall trail running is the best type of running and I love it.
Run Wild Memorial Day Weekend
Experience the Wonderland Mountain Challenge Saturday, May 29th at ACE Adventure Resort. Run fast and compete to win cash prizes for overall winners or challenge your best personal finishing time and collect your custom race medal at the finish line. A free burrito lunch is provided for all runners and Saturday night camping is also included with your race registration. Plus if you sign up before the end of April you will take home a complimentary 2021 Wonderland Mountain Challenge race shirt. Start training and make plans to run wild in the New River Gorge this Memorial Day Weekend!
Chris Colin is a raft guide, whitewater kayaker, active caver, and as Special Events Coordinator at ACE he manages, promotes, and executes special events like the Mountain Music Festival.