Lovers of adrenaline-fueled adventures are in for a wild year of excitement in the Shenandoah Valley. Strength and endurance are key when battling elevation and the elements. Do you have what it takes to fly through mud, push beyond salt in your eyes, and run until your legs burn off? Here’s the run-down of 2023 adventure events and races in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Get hype.
2/15-19 – The Wild Oak Trail (TWOT) Run | Mt. Solon-ish
The Wild Oak Trail is a National Recreation Trail. The 25-mile loop (and then some) through George Washington National Forest includes more than 7,000 feet of elevation gain. No aid. No course markings. No nothing. Just you and your determination. Run the 25 or make it 100 or 200; it’s your race.
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2/25 – Mad Anthony Mud Run | Waynesboro
It’s exactly what you think: running in mud. Four miles of fields, wetlands, 16 obstacles, and a beer-laden afterparty.
3/11 – Frozen Foot Challenge | Sky Meadows State Park
Frozen feet? Ask the Mad Anthony runners about that …
Okay, to be fair, this is a little more intense than fighting the mud and hurdling yourself over big things meant to slow you down. No, this is an adventure race involving mountain biking, deciphering clues, and trekking across 30-45 miles (the 8-hour option) or 10-15 miles (the 4-hour option). Do it alone or as a team.
4/1 – The Nutt Endurance Challenge | Massanutten Resort
Western slope trails are the course for this trail run. Choose a 5K, a 25 K, or a 50K through this beautiful forest as it bursts with spring foliage.
4/15-16 – Shenandoah Epic | Skyline Ranch Resort
This 24-hour adventure race covers 30-40 miles of trekking, 12-16 miles of paddling, and 40-50 miles of mountain biking. Open to soloists and teams of 2, 3, or 4 people.
4/22 – RockStar Challenge | Harrisonburg to Roanoke
Choose your pavement: trail, gravel, or pavement. Pro Tip: The paved route is the shortest and has the least climb. *wink*
4/22 – Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon | Roanoke
America’s toughest road race, the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon features the most elevation change of any other road course in the country. If you can’t swing the marathon, take a smaller bite: half-marathon, Anthem Star 10K, Freedom Firest team relay, or America’s Slowest 5K. (We’re definitely up for that last one.) Have kids? There’s a Carilion Children’s Fun Run. One marathon not enough? There’s a DOUBLE marathon. Sheesh. Overachievers.
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5/6 – Lexington Road & River Relay | Lexington
Run, cycle, kayak, and run again, if you can, for a total of 16.1 miles. 2023 will be the 46 th running of the great relay on and along the Maury River.
5/12-14 – REV3Endurance 50-Hour Challenge | Seven Bends State Park
This a brand new race, so if hitting the “first annual” of anything is your jam, here you go.
The 50-Hour Challenge is an expedition race of running, biking, paddling, and navigating your way to the finish line. The estimated distance is 110-130 miles. Whew. “Elite teams could clear this course in 30 hours.” Are you among the elite?
5/13 – Seven Bends Adventure Race | Seven Bends State Park
Akin to the Frozen Foot Challenge in March, this 4- or 8-hour adventure includes a multitude of activities, so let’s hope you’re a well-rounded individual.
5/20 – Shenanduo | Shenandoah River State Park
“Endurance mountain biking” is at hand; are you ready? Make a team and hit the 6-hour course, but know this: Shenanduro is as much about the atmosphere and camaraderie as it is for the medals. Pitch a tent to stay the night and enjoy a cook-out, firepits, music, and a great host location.
5/21 – Rocktown Rambler | Bryce Resort
Cycle 26 miles of backroads that are 70% gravel and/or dirt. Spoiler alert: this race is open to casual riders as well as racers. Maybe add Ludacris to your race day playlist?
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6/10 – Smoothie Man’s Mud Mile | Harrisonburg
It’s for the kids, man. Kids ages 4 to 13, to be precise. Let the littles conquer their own mile-long mud run – the first time for glory and the second (or third, or fourth) for fun. Their afterparty includes smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Café.
9/16 – Shenandoah River Adventure Race | Shenandoah River State Park
Get ready to get wet as you find your way through this State Park in a 4-, 8-, or 12-hour adventure challenge. The 4-hour version is billed as a mash-up of The Amazing Race and Survivor, but great for first timers. Give it a go!
9/16 – Shenandoah River Aquablaze | Shenandoah River State Park
That Shenandoah River is going to be full of competition! The Aquablaze can be a marathon or 30K – your choice. Participants will run (or walk) along a state park trail as well as navigate the waterway.
9/22-24 – Grindstone Trail Running Festival | Natural Chimneys Regional Park
One of the most challenging trail running events is centered in the National Forests of Augusta County this fall. Choose from the 100M, 100K, or the 21K. Choosing the 100M is choosing what is “considered by many to be the most incredible ‘hundo’ east of the 100th meridian.”
10/14 – Conquer the Mountain 50K Ultra & Half-Marathon | Bryce Resort
Near peak foliage will be a sight for salty eyes, and we know you’ll love it. Beautiful Bryce Resort is the backdrop for these arduous runs. The 50K is a single-loop course comprised of gravel, pavement, and trails. The half-marathon is considered one of the most challenging in the country with an 1,800-foot climb.
10/14 – Conquer the Mountain Adventure Race | Bryce Resort
Just like the adventure races mentioned up ‘til now, this one is multi-discipline and includes time options: 6 hours or 24. Those who choose the 24-hour race choose 80-100 miles at a difficulty of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.
10/14 – Conquer the Mountain Aquablaze | Bryce Resort
Will you take the 6K or 10K option? Run and paddle your way to the finish line and one of those shiny medals.
10/14 – Conquer the Mountain Biking | Bryce Resort
If you’re hell on two wheels, give this thing a go. Like the rest of the CTM series, there are options: A 43- or 31-mile mountain bike race and a 31- or 62-mile gravel grinder. Whichever terrain happens to be your sweet spot, there you will excel.
10/20-22 – Hot TWOT (The Wild Oak Trail) Run | Mt. Solon
Like the February race (see above) but in the midst of glorious autumn. The Hot TWOT features the 25+ and 100+ race options.
But Wait! There’s More!
There’s always more. It’s only January (as of this writing) and many dates have yet to be finalized. We have an idea of when to expect them, but it feels irresponsible to publish them. Therefore, keep an eye on Massanutten Resort Events & Races for updates about their YeeHa and Hoo-Ha races – annual races loaded with fun.