W.Va. Games Start Amid September Scorcher

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Games kicked off a weekend filled with outdoor events, as some of the hottest weather of the season moved into the region Friday.

Temperatures hit the mid-90s on Friday and are expected to be in the mid-to-upper 90s Saturday.

Event organizers have been preparing for this weekend for months, but it's just in the last few days they learned there's going to be another challenge to deal with: the heat.

The third annual West Virginia Games will bring in athletes from around the state.

Organizers say some of them will fare a little better than others in this summer sizzler.

"For example in our gym where we work out, we do this stuff everyday. We do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We keep the temperatures up like this all the time on purpose just for occasions like this. We like to work out, to be in the heat," says Butch Hiles, coordinator of the games.

The Charleston Distance Run Saturday morning will send people along a grueling 15-mile course.

A 1-mile, uphill section of Corridor G is affectionately called "Capital Punishment."

"We are concerned about the temperature, particularly for the 15-mile runners that are going to be out on the course for a while. We're going to have water stations, Gatorade every mile. We also have medical volunteers in case anyone needs any medical attention during the course of the race," says John Palmer, the race’s director.

Palmer says about 600 people had registered for the 15-mile race as of Friday afternoon. When the shorter races are factored in, about 1,300 people have signed up for the event.

Even at the Funeral Parade, revelers off all kinds will be sweating it out along Capitol Street Saturday evening.

"Hot, muggy, humid, this is what we anticipate. And, every year it's been like that since I've been in it," says Keith Pickens, one of the parade’s organizers.

The parade starts at 5 p.m.

Even though the Regatta is off the agenda, this is still a big weekend for the city. So, officials hope the heat and humidity don't keep people home.

“We have estimated this has about a $1.1 million economic impact, so it's very powerful," says Patty Bradley, president and CEO of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Friday also marks the last "Live on the Levee" of the season.

The Carpenter Ants, a band that's in the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, will headline.

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