OAK HILL — ACE Adventure Resort’s commitment to aiding a worthy mission will take a different turn this weekend with the first running onsite of the Color Dash for Hope.
The resort will host the 5-kilometer foot race on Saturday, Aug. 5. Runners will leave the starting line at 10 a.m. The first half of the course follows a level gravel road to ACE’s Concho Overlook of the New River Gorge. After an aid station, runners can return to the finish via a relatively flat, easy trail.
According to ACE officials, the race will help support Hope in the Hills in its fight to end opiate addiction.
“This 5K timed run will get you covered from head to toe in all the colors of the rainbow,” according to an ACE press release. “Along the course, racers are doused from head to toe in a different colored powder. Participants wear white at the starting line and finish the race in living color.”
Prizes will be awarded for top finishers, and all racers will get a goodie bag including an official white Color Dash for Hope T-shirt.
After the run, racers can stick around for a free burrito buffet, as well as waterpark fun and live music at The Lost Paddle that evening with nationally-touring jam artist Jeremy Short, a veteran of Healing Appalachia. There will also be free camping Saturday night and free parking.
All the while, participants and their families can discover more about Healing Appalachia and Hope in the Hills.
For more on the race, visit aceraft.com/event/color-dash-for-hope/. Pre-registration has passed, but race entry will be accepted Saturday from 8 to 9:30 a.m. The race day fee is $65.
Chris Colin, special events coordinator for ACE, said the race is an added avenue for the company to support West Virginia-based Hope in the Hills, a 501c3 non-profit run by an all-volunteer board. Started in 2017, Hope in the Hills was founded by Tyler Childers’ manager, Ian Thornton, founder of Whizzbang BAM (Booking and Management), festival producer Charlie Hatcher and their musical friends.
“We want to support the community in many ways, and opiate addiction is something that touches everyone in this part of the country,” Colin said by email Tuesday. “We have worked with the founders of Hope in the Hills since 2014 in producing Mountain Music Festival so when they embarked on this mission we wanted to help where we could.
“For the last few years, we have been able to provide tents for the volunteers at Healing Appalachia. Hope in the Hills approached us about them using our facility to host a Color Dash this year, but in the end decided not to run with the event because their calendar was pretty full and this event was something outside their wheelhouse. So, ACE stepped up and asked what if we hosted the run and made (them) the benefactor. Thus the Color Dash for Hope was born.”
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In the partnership among ACE and Hope in the Hills and Healing Appalachia, ACE provides tents and camping equipment for Camp Grindstone, the recovery volunteer camp at Healing Appalachia, which is now in its fourth year at the State Fair of West Virginia in Lewisburg.
Hope organizes the annual Healing Appalachia concert, labeled as one of the world’s largest recovery-based concerts. According to the news release, Healing Appalachia was created in the spirit of Farm Aid and uses music to build community and bring together people from around the country and the world to celebrate recovery from opioid addiction. In so doing, funds are raised for organizations supporting prevention, recovery and wellness initiatives with a focus on the Appalachian region, which has been hardest hit from the opioid epidemic.
Since its first fundraising concert in 2018, Hope in the Hills has distributed nearly $400,000 to recovery organizations. All proceeds beyond show production are steered back into addiction prevention, harm reduction and recovery programs. These programs include outdoor camps for children in trauma such as Camp Mariposa, recovery-to-work initiatives such as Troublesome Creek Stringed Instrument Company, and recovery houses around the region, including Recovery Resources in East Tennessee, ARC in Eastern Kentucky and many West Virginia recovery homes including Seed Sower, West Virginia Sober Living, Healing Home, and Recovery Point of West Virginia. Hope in the Hills has also started a Music Is Healing music therapy program with programming in eastern Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia from recovery centers to WVU Medicine’s opioid unit. The music therapy program also does outreach at festivals in the region.
“We vet organizations and then give these wonderful folks funds to transform lives,” Hope in the Hills board president Dave Lavender said via a press release. “We like to say that the only strings attached are on our guitars.
“These folks from recovery organizations are truly unheralded angels daily practicing amazing grace by saving lives and helping folks through past traumas, through the hard steps of the recovery process and onto a healthy path of wellness.”
“We love teaming up with active lifestyle outdoors companies like ACE to spread the word that recovery works, that wellness is here now with the first step down the path, and that we can all join in and be an ally in creating communities of recovery,” Lavender added. “Right here in (southern West Virginia), there’s such good work happening with organizations like Fruits of Labor, Active SWV, Fayette Prevention Network, and so many other folks putting in time and energy to build out healthier, happier communities free from the ravages of opioid addiction.
“We’re stoked to be a small part of that.”
At the Color Run, the majority of volunteers will be coming from Recovery Point West Virginia, which also sends more than 100 volunteers to Healing Appalachia to handle tasks such as stage-building and security to assisting vendors and festival staff. Healing co-founder and show producer Charlie Hatcher, who also helps produce Mountain Music Fest at ACE, also works with Recovery Point in building out one of the nation’s first recovery-to-work programs for event production crew.
Three-day tickets are on sale for the 2023 Healing Appalachia concert set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-23, at The State Fairgrounds of West Virginia. Appearing at Healing Appalachia, which features nearly 30 nationally touring acts, will be one of its founders, RCA recording artist Tyler Childers, and his band. Other headline acts include Trey Anastasio and the Classic TAB, Umphrey’s McGee, Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule, Charles Wesley Godwin, Marcus King Band, Amythyst Kiah, Tommy Prine, Katie Pruitt, Tre Burt, Emily Nenni, Jocelyn and the Sweet Compression, John R. Miller and more.
Festival passes (which include three days of free primitive camping onsite) are on sale through the State Fair of West Virginia ticketing office at https://www.etix.com/ticket/k/9740995/healing-appalachia-3-day-festival-pass-fairlea-the-state-fair-of-west-virginia .