Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

June 8, 2014

Black sheep return for Saturday's Varmint Run

BLUEFIELD — For 20 years, runners have converged on the secluded valley of Burke’s Garden, Va., in early June for the annual Varmint half-marathon.

The 21st event, which includes the 13.1-mile half-marathon, a 5K race and a one-mile Varmint Dash, is set for Saturday morning in the Tazewell County community — really early.

Registration ends at 7:30 a.m. at the Community Building. The half-marathon and 5K start  half an hour later.

There will also be a non-competitive 13.1-mile walk.

Runners will compete to receive one of the unique sheep-shaped trophies given to top three finishers in several categories. The trophy hearkens back to the tale of the original “Varmint,” a very quick coyote that preyed on sheep years ago in the valley.

This year the sheep trophies are black, which happens once every seven years.

“This makes for an exciting race as everyone wants a black sheep to add to their collection,” said organizer Charity McDaniel.

The Varmint proceeds fund Soles4Service, Inc. This organization promotes and encourages community service, education and physical fitness in the youth of Tazewell County, McDaniel reported.

The 2014 school winner was Sheri Catron’s class from Cedar Bluff Elementary.

This year, the Varmint has joined The Beast Series, which includes runs in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, Tenn. A wheelchair division has been added to accommodate those racers who have entered The Beast Series.

The Grate Escape, a North Tazewell restaurant, will be hosting packet pick-up and a pasta dinner for The Varmint runners on Friday starting at 5 p.m.

Cost is $50 for the half-marathon and $25 for the 5K. Online registration is being handled through www. werunevents. com. There is a $2 discount for registering online.

More details are available from McDaniel by emailing TheVarmint3.1@hotmail. com or by calling 276-979-8044.

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