- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 5, 2001

SUMMERSVILLE LAKE, W.Va. Most of us runners have a particular route or two that we alternate throughout the week.

For me, it's on the grassy section alongside the George Washington Parkway from Old Town to Reagan National airport or through the neighborhoods of Alexandria.

Every once in a while, my wife and I treat ourselves to the 4.75-mile wooded loop trail around Burke Lake Park, but it comes at the cost of a 30-minute commute each way, without traffic.

Sometimes these daily runs on the same paths can become monotonous. They are predictable, to the point where you begin to know every little pothole and marking on the bike path and every little divot and piece of debris on the grass.

Even training intervals on the same track every other day can be mentally numbing, too.

So occasionally we pack the car for a long weekend just to find some new, interesting and quiet place to run to do little else but run.

I have made the five-hour trek from Washington to Summersville Lake nearly in the center of West Virginia since 1983. If whitewater rafting is your source of excitement, then you may have heard of this rafting mecca.

You probably would not have heard about the place otherwise, except maybe in the national news. Early last week, heavy rains devastated surrounding counties, leaving hundreds homeless and a few dead from the floods.

The lake is huge and serene. Hard to believe that it is manmade. The Army Corps of Engineers built a dam here more than 30 years ago that feeds the Gauley River, home to some of the nation's best whitewater rafting.

We found plenty of quiet rolling well, mountainous hills on paved roads throughout the lake area, and there also is a long wooded running/hiking trail around the lake that, unfortunately for us, still was flooded.

But we found soft gravel to enjoy at the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, where Union troops clashed with the Confederates in a 1861 Civil War battle. We also crossed paths with a deer and her two fawns, a beautiful sight for us but maybe not for them. We looked pretty sweaty and beat at that moment.

The lake is close to hiking trails and miles of dirt roads and quiet pavement just 30 miles away in the Monongahela National Forest, complete with a botanical garden and scenic waterfall everything a runner needs to have a relaxing, regenerating weekend.

Bait and switch? Last week, a subscriber to an area e-mail group discovered that when you searched for the Baltimore Marathon Web site with the address www.baltimoremarathon.com, you got the Web site for the Washington D.C. Marathon. The site is now disabled.

The address for Baltimore is www.thebaltimoremarathon.com.

So what are the organizers of the Washington event trying to do here?

Some people call this cybersquatting. I cannot recall hearing of any other race in this country playing such games with its Web site. What is to be gained here except a reputation for sleaziness and deception?

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