The Inaugural Running of the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness 50 Mile Trail Run

The summer sun set on August 22 and with it the inaugural running of the CMMM 50. A total of 84 hearty souls toed the line for the 9:00 p.m. start deep in the mountains of West Virginia; ready to run into the uncertainty of darkness.

The course starts and finishes from the cozy and historic Camp Pioneer in Beverly. Delivering a mix of roads, fire roads, and some of the most scenic and remote single track around, the course follows the undulations of Cheat Mountain for 50 miles and 6,300 feet of elevation gain and loss.

The race up front quickly unfolded with Aaron Schwartzbard and Brian Schmidt setting the pace early. Aaron and Brian ran closely together over the first 13 miles until Aaron pulled away on the single track and never looked back. Aaron won in a quite impressive time considering the darkness and technical nature of the course. He was followed by Schmidt 37 minutes behind and a race for third between Chris Miller and Bill Young. Miller managed to edge out Young for third, but not before Bill showed him his stomach contents on the road entering the camp. On the women’s side, Justine Morrison handily carried the lead until the last few miles when she inadvertently took a detour and added three miles to her run. She still managed to take the win, but a very strong Jenny Deegan was less than four minutes behind her at the finish line. Third place was shared by ultra-veterans Rebekah Trittipoe and Sophie Speidel. The finish line saw a total of 73 delighted, yet sleep deprived runners cross the line for a finishing rate of 87%.

I believe the race was best summed up by runner Todd Dishong. “Whether you were one of the 73 that crossed the finish line in 7:30 or closer to 13 hours – all of us got to experience the madness of Cheat Mountain together and we can say we were the first as a united group to run this course officially. I can honestly say as me and my family headed up to Canaan Valley to spend a few days, I definitely felt a little more wild and wonderful as a result of this experience. Ultra-Running…where else can you get all this and more?”

A special thanks to all the WVMTR club members, volunteers, and sponsors that came together to help make this race a reality. Next year the race will be held August 28-29.

Author: Adam Casseday