GLEN JEAN, W. Va. (WVVA) - Hundreds of professional cross country racers made their way to the hills of the Summit Bechtel Reserve to compete in the ninth round of this year's Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) race.
Tim Cotter, the Director of Events for GNCC, said they are thankful for the opportunity to show racers what west Virginia has to offer, and almost heaven's terrain is excellent for these events.
"They love a challenge and this place gives them all of that, you know the steep uphills, which means you have steep down hills, you have wooded terrain, um there's some soft-spots out there there's rocks that are slick, and the weather today is just perfect," said Cotter.
The race has been held at the Summit for three years.
One of the competitors who participated in past races here is Kaillub Russell, the most winning GNCC racer.
He said he is excited to be back helping with the event since retiring.
"I know the course, I know the layout, and know what to expect so I can help the riders out of the woods and I've got the um, the course savvy so to speak so it's fun to be out here with the team and helping the riders, and also getting to watch the action," said Russell.
And Cotter said these athletes come from all over the United States and several countries to compete, which positively impacts the communities surrounding the Summit.
"The communities love when we come, we fill up their hotels, and their restaurants, and we bring a lot of people," said Cotter. "Most of these people are not from West Virginia, they come from afar to come here and spend the weekend."
And Cotter said they plan to continue this race here for years to come.
But this event is not just about racing; but they also honored those who served the country.
Cotter said they honor a military member who races every week. Still, this week they did things differently to honor all service members in attendance for all the sacrifices they make.
"The real hereos of today race are a part of our racing family," said Cotter. "They may be racing, their families may be here but they're the ones that keep our country free, they're the ones that keep our neighborhoods safe. They're the ones that take care of us, when we're injured, and so it's important for us to honor those people."