September 7, 2022 - The annual Coal Dust Run will return to downtown Williamson, West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Leigh Ann Ray, director for the race, said the partnership between the Tug Valley Road Runners Club and the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce began for the first race 10 years ago.
“In 2012, color runs were all the rage, but were trademarked, so we couldn’t do an actual color run here,” Ray said.
She said the first race was conceptualized as a lead-in for the annual King Coal Festival.
“Natalie Taylor was the executive director of the chamber at that time and I was vice president,” Ray said. “We somehow came up with doing black dust and calling it the Coal Dust Run to set the stage for the King Coal Festival events that would start the next week.”
Ray said the use of black dust over the multicolor traditionally used in color runs was their way of paying homage to the coal industry.
“We made homemade coal dust, invited people to dress like miners and got dirty as an homage to the industry that has kept our region running for more than 100 years,” Ray said. “That’s really what it’s all about — honoring our miners. It’s not about having another reason to run. It was just a fun way to end up looking like we just came up from a shift underground.”
The proceeds of the event benefit the Coal House in Williamson, which is a unique tourist attraction that also pays homage to the long history of coal mining in southern West Virginia.
Registration for the event costs $25 until race day, then it goes up to $30. The race will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 10. Pre-registration can be done online, or in person at the Coal House or Williamson Health and Wellness Center. Registration will also be open from 4 to 5:45 p.m. on race day.
For more information, visit the Coal Dust Run/Walk 5K Facebook page.