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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 27, 2002
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia's New River Trail Challenge registration underway

(RICHMOND, Va.) - The third annual Virginia's New River Trail Challenge, a unique athletic competition, will be held in New River Trail State Park Saturday, Sept. 21. Entrees are being accepted though Sept. 9 and volunteers for the race are still needed.

Competitors will bike 40 miles, canoe 12 miles and run 13.1 miles along southwestern Virginia's 57-mile-long New River Trail State Park. The race is presented by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Last year 191 people entered the race, said New River Trail State Park Manager Mark Hufeisen. "This is our third year and plans are running smoothly, we have more support from the localities, from the athletic communities and competitors, and more interest from our supporters," Huffeisn said. "This year's race really will be the biggest and best yet."

The race begins in the Town of Fries and also involves the counties of Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski, and the City of Galax.
The Wythe County Days Festival will be held in conjunction with the race at the Foster Falls complex. There will be arts and crafts, music, food and plenty to do for friends, family and competitors, both during and after the race.

"The race demonstrates the positive economic impact our state park has on the region," said DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon, who was appointed in March. "I'm pleased DCR is a partner in continuing the racing tradition in the park."

The race is an excellent showcase for the beauty of the park as well as the region, said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. "Competitors, their families and support crews travel through some of the most visually appealing sections of Virginia to get to one of the most unique state parks in Virginia," Elton said. "Foster Falls, with its picnic areas, equestrian area, campsites, restored historic buildings and river access, is quickly becoming a recreational focal point for the region."
A field of 191 competitors, 38 teams and 43 individuals, from across nine states, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida, competed in last year's race.

For more information about the 2002 Virginia's New River Trail Challenge or a race registration form, call 1-800-933-PARK, in Richmond 225-3867, or visit DCR's web site at www.dcr.virginia.gov.

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