CIRCLEVILLE, W.Va. — Ain’t no mountain high enough.
Amy For Africa runners Chris and Amy Compston may find that out this weekend during the sixth running of the West Virginia Trilogy, a grueling three-day stage race that takes runners 94 miles in 72 hours through the breathtaking scenery of the Monongahela National Forest.
The AFA husband-wife have been preparing for the last several months with between 60 and 70 miles of running a week.
If that seems extreme, you don’t know Amy.
“With any serious long distance runner, once you complete one goal, you’re always looking for something to challenge you a little more,” she said. “I’ve never done two Ultras back-to-back, plus a half marathon. Just step it up another level. Whenever you do that, it increases your faith. It’s not something you can get through on your own. The Lord has been so gracious. We’ve not had one injury. We’ve run hills, roads, 70 miles a week. We’ve been very blessed.”
The Compstons will be among 70 participants trying to conquer the Trilogy that takes runners 31 miles (first day), 50 miles (second day) and 13 miles (third day) through the incredible fall scenery
Runners will be rewarded with spectacular views of waterfalls, fall foliage and vistas that may forever be etched in their minds. The race headquarters is The Mountain Institute’s 400-acre outdoor education facility in the shadow of Spruce Knob.
“People ask if we’re ready,” Compston said. “I’ve never done anything like this. I can’t say yes we’re ready (but) I know we’ve put in all the miles we’re required to put in.”
Amy missed only one week of training because of caring for her nephew, Ian Wesolowski, who was facing life-threatening illness. She has walked through an emotional time with her sister, Amanda, as they have dealt with Ian’s illness and multiple trips to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Chris Compston, who ran six marathons last summer, has been diligent with training as well, Amy said. “His goal more is to just finish,” Amy said. “Our goals are a little different. I hope to compete (for the win).”
She hopes to finish the first leg on Friday with a pace in the 10 minute per mile range.
On Saturday, in the 50-mile run, participants have to complete it in 14 hours. Amy ran the Nashville 50-mile race in 2013 in 7 hours and 36 minutes.
However, this one is different with the 31 miles the previous day and with trail running.
The second day “is going to be the most painful day,” she said. “I think we’re probably going to hit the wall earlier because of 31 miles the day before. We’ll start feeling it around 20 miles.”
However, Compston said she’s confident that they will finish the race. “Unless something horrible happens, like a broken limb, I know Chris and I will finish.”
Adam Casseday, who is the race director and a running mentor of Amy, invited her to compete. His training and advice helped her prepare for and conquer the 50-mile ultra in 2013.
Whatever is accomplished, Amy said, it’s for the organization and ultimately for God.
“One thing I’m really thankful for is the AFA support team that’s going to be there. More than 30 people are going to be there. That’s about half the size of the runners in the race. We will be known by the time we leave there. When people ask us what Amy for Africa is all about, it will open up opportunities to witness and share.”
Racing begins Friday morning.