There’s a difference between a race and a run. That’s why when bib holders lace up for the annual Harpers Ferry Half Marathon, the goal won’t be to best a record time. This event is an adventure, not a race, says organizer Dr. Mark Cucazzella, where history holds the only battles of the contest.
“There’s no prize money,” says Cucazzella, a medical professor and healthy-running advocate. “We’re promoting the heritage of the area. We want people to appreciate the land they’re on.”
The land is, no doubt, the attraction. Runners World magazine lists the 13.1 West Virginia miles among the country’s top 25 half marathons. With views of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, the hilly course winds through Harpers Ferry National Historical Park School House Ridge South, Murphy Farm, Lower Town Harpers Ferry, John Brown’s Fort, Bolivar and Storer College. But the terrain isn’t the only thing historic about this run.
“These are throwback events,” Cucazzella says of the marathon, the children’s fun run and a four-mile dash that are all part of a day. “All the money raised goes back into the community.”
The Outdoor Education Center of For Love of Children, a wilderness education center, and Eastern Panhandle Indigo Children, an autism awareness and advocacy nonprofit, will benefit from the marathon’s proceeds.
Runners can register early at the event website or on race day. The Harpers Ferry Half Marathon is May 11.