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Saturday, May 19, 2012 -- Charleston, WV / Kanawha State Forest
Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run (iPO Event Id#: 13821)

2012: [Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]

[2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011]

Biggest WVMTR Race Ever

Story and photos by Don Parks.

Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run photo
See more Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run photos
The 2012 Trail Running special issue from Runner's World listed the Dirty Dog 15K as America's "Best Doggy Race". That surely helped propel race participation to an all time high with over 300 registered runners. Dan Lehmann confirmed that it was officially the biggest race in the history of the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners (WVMTR).

The weather cooperated with no rain but the previous week's rain left the course still a little muddy and the warming air a bit humid. The course through Kanawha State Forest is challenging and more than one runner returned sporting scratches, brusies, and/or a little blood (and in at least one case more than a little).

Seeming to come out unscathed was Huntington's Robert Smith who won after leading most of the race. His finishing time of 1:08:09 was over a minute faster than his runner-up time of last year. The real racing was going on behind Smith.

Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run photo
See more Dirty Dog 15K Trail Run photos
In the battle for second it was an early battle between Zach Beckett, the 2011 champion, and Clay Warner. But late in the race Charleston's Brandon Merritt surged ahead of them to claim second in 1:09:54. Third place went to Warner in a time of 1:10:10.

Warner was also the first finisher escorted by a dog. This gave Macy, a German Shorthair Pointer, a repeat victory as the "Top Dog."

On the women's side, first time runner Maria Dalzot, of Morgantown, not only won but shattered the course record, set in 2006, by over eight minutes. Her winning time of 1:13:02 was good enough for a sixth overall finish.

Rounding out the women's top three were Bethany Williams (1:23:42) and Krystle Bailey (1:26:08).

Afterwards there was plenty of food and beverages for all runners of both the two and four legged variety.

If you, and maybe your faithful companion, are looking forward to giving the 2013 Dirty Dog a go, just note that a limit will be set on the number of registrants. It is also likely that there will be no race day registration.