This is the year to hit the ground running in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia! Event organizers throughout the region are putting on a spectacular running season with 18 races that show off the natural beauty of the area as well as our vibrant downtowns. Start training now for increased endurance and stamina; you’ll need both with our hills and valleys.
Who’s up for a mud run? The sixth annual Mad Anthony Mud Run will be held at Coyners Springs Park in Waynesboro on February 25. Previous years’ temperatures have ranged from a bitter six degrees to a balmy 60 degrees. With the “unknown” looming, never let anyone tell you a mud run is not a competitive race. You’ll have the nastiness to prove your worth and hopefully the medal to prove your muster. All Hail Mad Anthony!
You’ll have to be in full beast mode to tackle the Terrapin Mountain 50K and Half Marathon in Sedalia on March 18. Both races are part of the esteemed 2017 TrailRunner Magazine Trophy Series and will show off the trails of Terrapin and Goff Mountain, as well as White Oak Ridge and Hunting Creek, all part of Jefferson National Forest.
No foolin’, the first annual “NUTT” races will be held on April 1 in Keezeltown, just outside of Harrisonburg. This loop course runs the service roads and mountain biking trails of the western slope of Massanutten Mountain. It’s not called The ‘NUTT’ Endurance Challenge for nothing. Choose between the one-lap 5K, five-lap 10K, or 10-lap 50K. May the odds be ever in your favor.
A rail-trail is a good first race, if you’re new to competitive running. Lexington’s Chessie Trail is mostly flat and offers some inspirational views as it meanders along the Maury River. The Chessie Trail Spring Half Marathon & 5K is April 15 at McKethan Park with both starting and finishing there.
Dubbed “America’s Toughest Road Marathon,” the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke is an incredible challenge for even the most fit athlete. Held April 22, the course features a one-mile warm-up of rolling hills before throwing the big climbs of Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain at its participants. Total elevation change for this epic run is 7,430 feet. This one is not for the faint of heart.
The Park-to-Park Half Marathon from Stuarts Draft Park to Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro will be held April 29. Expect a fairly easy run with tame hills and plenty of gorgeous spring scenery.
The Valley Health 10K Race is a key event occurring during the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. The 36th running of the race will be held May 6 with an 8:30 a.m. start. While runners will be undoubtedly focused on the course, on-lookers will be treated to the convenience of it all as the route winds through downtown.
In the scenic Harper’s Ferry area of West Virginia, check out the Harpers Ferry Half Marathon & 5K Runs, with a challenging and hilly course covering the expanse on Harpers Ferry National Historical Park on May 13.
If you subscribe to the “will run for beer” philosophy of thinking, you’ll want to sign up for the Skyline 4-Miler featuring Seven Arrows Brewing Company in Waynesboro. The race starts and ends at Seven Arrows on June 3. This is likely the easiest of our 17 race picks and includes craft beer and live entertainment at the end. Everyone’s a winner with this one!
Another run for beer lovers (but quite a bit more challenging) is The 72.4M Growler Team Relay on June 18. Gather your best beer-loving, running buddies and make a plan to outpace the competition as you run relay style from Brothers Craft Brewing in Harrisonburg to Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet … AND BACK. There’s plenty of fun, however, as your teammates can solve riddles and puzzles to win extra beer tickets and race perks! The after party will be one for the ages.
The Jackson River Scenic Trail Race Series has a run for everyone in the family. Held at the Intervale Trail Head off of US Route 220 in Covington, a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and one mile fun run are available for your active day on the rail trail. It all starts at 7 a.m. on June 24.
Run for the red, white, and blue on July 4 in Harrisonburg! It’s the Valley 4th RUN, but folks of all abilities and ages are welcome to participate in either a one mile, 5K, or 10K race. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome, as are leashed pets. Wear your patriotism on your sleeve and run for a great cause of your choice. Yes! This is a charity event and YOU choose the recipient.
The Shenandoah Half Marathon on September 2 will feature some challenging climbs but rewards runners with a lakeside finish. You’ll start at Hawksbill Recreation Park in Stanley and finish at Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park in Luray. Elevation gain for this race is just under 1,000 feet, but as race organizers note, “downhill courses are for wimps.”
Here it is. The race for wine lovers! The Valley Vines Twilight 5k is a run through the vines of CrossKeys Vineyard in Mount Crawford. When you’ve flown through the finish line, you’ll find live entertainment and award-winning Virginia wine waiting. It’s happening September 15 at 6 p.m. ahead of the fall harvest season, so your view through the vines will be amazing.
When the Blue Ridge Mountains are at your backdoor, you tend to be quite eager for the autumn leaves to appear. We love the waves of orange, red, and yellow so much that we thought we’d invite you enjoy the view with us. The Fall Foliage Run in Waynesboro’s Constitution Park is timed for near-peak foliage: October 15. Both 5K and 10K run/walk options are available, as is a Kids Fun Dash. Bring the family and love the view!
Roanoke’s Explore Park is as beautiful a setting for a race as it is a picnic. But wait. You won’t have any views with this run. Billed as “the Roanoke Valley’s most unique event,” the October 28th Into the Darkness Trail Run can be something of a challenge. Armed with only your own light source, you’ll run three miles of single track bike trails and one mile of grass and asphalt. Careful out there.
Before you stuff yourself with turkey, spend your Thanksgiving morning (November 23) in Harrisonburg for the Rocktown Turkey Trot. It’s a family-friendly four-miler with a side of fun at the Gobble Gobble Kids Dash. Costumes are welcome and encouraged.
After you’ve run off the tryptophan, but on your jingle bells and elf costume for the Warrior Jingle All the Way 5K and Fun Run in Stephens City on December 9. It’s an easy run on pavement, gravel, and grass, and the perfect way to wind down the 2017 running season.
Best of luck in your running adventures!