SA race honors military
Valley View 5-Mile Trail Race included veteran participants
A crisp fall morning greeted runners that gathered at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre for the fifth-annual Valley View 5-Mile Trail Race, which was hosted by Liberty University’s Student Activities (SA) Saturday, Nov. 9.
According to Elizabeth Karr, an SA employee, there were approximately 160 runners at this year’s race.
The race was the last event of Military Appreciation Week at Liberty. Karr said that the race is special because it is the only appreciation race SA hosts.
According to SA employee Joshua Yeoman, the Military Affairs office does a lot to help SA promote the race among past and present military members at Liberty.
“We have camouflage numbers for current military members and veterans,” Yeoman said. “We also have a small competition between the different branches. Last year, the Marines won the team category. Military (members) also receive a commemorative coin at the finish line.”
Furthermore, the race helped promote military appreciation by having Liberty ROTC help with parking for the race and by allowing military members to run the race a discounted price.
The race began and ended at Snowflex. According to Yeoman, most of the course was on a single trail, but the course does travel down some forest roads, one of which is named Valley View road.
Griffen Weston, 25, finished the race in first place with a time of 35:48. Weston is a Liberty alumnus who graduated with a degree in exercise science.
According to Weston, who is an experienced runner, the race was tiring, but still fun and challenging.
“I ran the Deep Hollow race a few weeks ago and finished sixth place,” Weston said. “I’ve also run in ultramarathons.”
Weston believes that the race was a good way to end Military Appreciation Week.
“(The race) was tough and challenging,” Weston said. “(It’s) a good way to show appreciation for those that are doing things that are tough and challenging.”
Erika Layne, a current Liberty student, said that she appreciated the support she received from the other runners during the race.
“I enjoyed it,” Layne said. “The encouraging people warmed my heart, and it makes me smile to know that people care.”
According to Layne, her first race was the Deep Hollow race that was held a few weeks ago, and the Valley View was her second race. Layne placed third in the 20-29 age group.
An awards ceremony in which winners received their medals was held in the Barrick-Falwell Lodge at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre after the race was finished.
Marines won the competition between the different U.S. Military branches, while Army came in second place and Navy in third.