After weeks of promotion, preparation, coordination and a little trailblazing, the Third Annual Race Through Fallen Timbers has come and gone. When the dust had settled and the last few runners limped their way down the hill I was entirely wiped out. I looked to my partner Lacy and asked the question, “Is it worth it?”
Reflection of a Race through Fallen Timbers
Later that evening I caught a moment to myself at the top of the hill. As I was packing up supplies I found myself letting loose of the tasks at hand. I looked up. The wind whirled in a flurry of directions atop the pointy knob; adding electricity to a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of sprawling hardwood forest dotted among flowing mountain terrain.
My attention was captured by a glowing heap of coals emanating massive amounts of heat where Wayne High track athletes and friends had braved the January temperatures for the sake of providing aid to needy runners and hikers.
I felt the energy and the tenderness of the exchanges that had taken place there earlier that day. The warmth of the sun danced on my face. I breathed in the sweet scent rising from the cold wet Earth. And I felt something great. Something beyond knowledge, words or understanding.
Yea… It was definitely worth it.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the numerous participants, partners and volunteers who made it possible to have such a meaningful annual event that can only certainly get better from here.
We founded 501(c)3 nonprofit organization ACCESS WV in fall 2015. Lacy and I had several conversations that went like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there’s was a group that went around the area and did farm to table meals.” Or “What if there was this group that had runs and hikes at the Wayne County State Parks?” The conversations usually ended in, “Yea that would be really cool. Someone should do that.”
Well, we did it.
Today our mission is to build prosperous communities through healthy activity, local food and preservation of mountain culture. And we feel we have made a huge impact in a limited amount of time due to the support of the very people we wish to serve.
One thing that made this year’s event special was that we partnered with the Wayne County Farmers Cooperative and were able to source ingredients of the finest quality to make meals for participants. We wanted to prove that it is possible to eat wholesome local food even in the wintertime.
The food was purchased from Wayne County growers with the help of our sponsors. I would like to thank Kenny Queen Ace Hardware, Wayne Walmart, E.P. Leach and Sons, Inc., HIMG, WV Family Health Foundation, Saw’s Edge Woodworking School, WV Native Plant Society, Steve Stapleton Photography, and Heirloom Mobile Kitchen. Their contributions made the event possible and helped to provide money to local farmers, local businesses and raise money for the Wayne High School track team. I would also like to thank WSAZ & the Wayne County News for their coverage and support.
One of our goals is to dispel myths that people often use as excuses. This event is about showing people you can do healthy outdoor activity in the wintertime. We can eat nutritious local food in the dead of winter.
This event is about resiliency. It is about celebrating our heritage. It is about traversing mountainous terrain in harsh conditions, just as our ancestors did. It is about being resourceful. Utilizing canned goods and eating seasonally, as our predecessors sustained themselves through winter and tough times.
Perhaps most importantly, this event is about community. It’s about bringing people together to celebrate our way of life. It’s about honoring the generations who came before and preserving the very things that make us who we are. Thank you all for your support. Let us continue to be wild and wonderful.
Mountaineers are always free!
WSAZ story can be found here.
Keep up with ACCESS WV on Facebook.
Learn more about ACCESS WV on the web at www.accesswestvirginia.org