Local Races for 2020

A runner friend recently asked me to look up some local races and send her links so she can arrange a visit and a run at the same time.  This seemed like something that might be useful for others too so here are the coming race links that I sent her.  I used to run and I’ll include some pictures from past races where I have them.

April 4th – Miles in Martinsville Half Marathon & 5K

This may be the biggest race in the immediate area.  The half marathon runs on the Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail and the 5K runs through Uptown.  There is also a walk for the non-running crowd.  There is also a full line up of events the day before:

3 PM Tech Session: Running Form 101: Proper Running Mechanics for Injury Prevention and Longevity in the Sport

4 PM Tech Session: You Go Girl: Fitness for Women from Puberty through Postmenopause

5 PM Meet & Mingle

5:30 PM Pasta Buffet Dinner

7 to 8 PM After Dinner Speaker Bart Yasso

Running hoofing it through Martinsville Uptown as part of the Miles in Martinsville 5K
Running Through Uptown

 

A sign post along the Dick & Willie Trails shows that it is a well maintained trail.
The Dick & Willie Trail is the Martinsville equivalent to the Katy Trail in Dallas
April 18th – Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

This is a hard one but a big one and a Boston qualifier, I think.  It is called the “Toughest Road Marathon” with over 7,430 feet of elevation change.  For my friend who has run Boston at least twice, the nice thing about this is that we can explore Roanoke afterwards. If you can still walk.

May 2 – SOVAH Super Run 5K & 8K

This one runs through the Druid Hills/Forest Park residential neighborhood in Martinsville around the private Lake Lanier.  I haven’t run this one but I have run the Great Goblin Gallop 5K around Lake Lanier, which is very pretty.  The Goblin Gallop is held each year in October and is put on by Henry County.  This route in May should be very green and anything that flowers should be out in full force.

Runners along Lake Lanier in the Great Goblin Gallop 5K Held each fall by Henry County
Running Along Lake Lanier in the Great Goblin Gallop
May 16 – Strawberry Festival 5K?

There has been a 5K just before the annual Strawberry Festival for the past few years but I’m not seeing updated info about one for 2020.  Too early?

The nice thing about the Stuart Festival races is that they end just as the festivals start up and the festivals are definitely worth visiting.

Strawberry Festival has a lot of vendors and is held in uptown Stuart with a backdrop of forested foothills
Photo from a past Strawberry Festival
June 20 – The Covered Bridge 5K

The Covered Bridge 5K is arguably one of the prettiest runs in the area.  The area around Woolwine had two historic covered bridges – Jack’s Creek and the Bob White bridge.  Unfortunately, the more impressive of the two, the Bob White bridge, was washed away by heavy rains a few years ago.  Still, there is a  small festival that goes along with the 5K and the landscape is absolutely stunning.  They haven’t updated their web site yet but the Patrick County website shows the new date to be June 20th.  Of all the area races, this would be my top pick for showing off the natural beauty of this corner of Virginia.

Runners starting out on the Covered Bridge 5K. Photo shows the race on a paved two lane road with the Blue Ridge in the distance.
Runners Starting Out on the Covered Bridge 5K

And, yes, there are hills but they really aren’t all that bad.

Nearing the end of the race, photo shows lush greenery and low clouds in the distance.
Nearing the End of the Covered Bridge 5K
August 15 – The Martinsville Speedway Mile

I haven’t been to this one but it looks to be more competitive with two laps around the famous Martinsville Speedway looking for a pace of a six-and-a-half minute mile.  There is a non-competitive walk too.

August 22nd – Smith River Festival Helgramite Mud Run 

This one is part of the Smith River Festival and there are all kinds of events going on as part of the festival.  There’s, of course, the vendor booths, but there is also a rubber duck race down the river and a boat race.  Unless it rains, this one has a very high chance of fun. I’ve attended the festival once but it rained and they shut down early so I don’t have any photos.

October 2 – Harvest Moon Run 5K & 10K & Dancing on the Depot

The Harvest Moon run meets at the trailhead for the Uptown Connection Trail and is run entirely on the Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail.  Weather can be iffy.  It generally always seem to threaten rain but then holds off enough for the run.  There is food and music but the turn out for the Dancing on the Depot is generally small, consisting of runners and their friends and family.  The race is he central focus and the trail is beautiful.

Runners lined up for instructions at the Harvest Moon. Setting is on the edge of Uptown and gray clouds hang overhead.
Runners Receiving Instructions at Start of Harvest Moon

So this list is by no means exhaustive. I’ve left out Danville, which is close and has an active race calendar. I’ve also left out most of Roanoke and all of Greensboro.  I also left off some later in the year.

Be it as it is, these are the races I’ve suggested to my runner friend.

Until next time,

Have fun

Stuart’s Rail Trail & Apple Dumpling Festival

Who knew that rail trails would eventually become a thing?   Just recently, we went out to bicycle down the Virginia Creeper Rail Trail in Damascus and I’ve blogged about a 5K/10K on the Dick & Willie Rail Trail in Martinsville. This weekend was the annual Apple Dumpling Festival in downtown Stuart and this year it was kicked off by a 5K on Stuart’s rail trail, the Mayo River Rail Trail.   Continue reading “Stuart’s Rail Trail & Apple Dumpling Festival”

Martinsville’s Harvest Moon

The main reason why I’ve never run the Martinsville Harvest Moon race before now was that it was a 10K that started at 7PM and I have never been able to complete a 10K in under an hour.  I was afraid I would end up a lone straggler limping along the Dick and Willie Trail after dark.  According to Athlinks, my best time ever was 1 hour and 9 minutes (when I was in good shape). This year they added a 5K and a virtual race.  The 5K meant that I could expect to finish before sunset so I couldn’t resist the chance to see the Dick and Willie  Rail Trail.

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The Dick & Willie Trail near the Uptown Connection Trail

The race actually starts  on the Uptown Connection Trail and goes down .6 miles to join with the Dick & Willie.  Mother and I got there early and had time to walk from the start of the race down to see the intersection with the actual Dick & Willie Rail Trail and back.

There are interesting things to see along the way on this part of the trail.  DeShazo’s Silo has a placard along the Uptown Connection Trail explaining how, although it is called a silo, it was actually an incinerator for the DeShazo Lumber Company which closed in 1971.

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DeShazo’s Silo – Actually an Incinerator for DeShazo Lumber Company

The Uptown Connection Trail intersects with the Silverbell Trail  just before meeting up with the actual Dick & Willie Trail. The Silverbell Trail is a short trail, half a mile, but we didn’t have time to see it and the artwork that is supposed to be along the way.  That would have to wait for another day.

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The Silverbell Trail Meets Up With The Uptown Connection Trail

At the end of the Uptown Connection Trail, you can continue onto the Dick & Willie Trail but we turned around and headed back to get ready for the race.

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Where The Uptown Connection Trail Meets The Dick & Willie Rail Trail

I usually carry a small point and click with me when I run but I knew that light conditions would be too poor for that so I took a couple of pictures before the race with my phone.

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Harvest Moon Runners Milling Around Before The Race

Weather was perfect.  They had two beer selections, Coors Light and something from Devil’s Backbone, and music played on a PA system.

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Harvest Moon Runners Milling Around Before The Start of the Race

When it was time for the race, they brought out a map to be sure that the 5K’ers and 10K’ers, who would start at the same time, understood which way to go for their particular race.

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Receiving Race Instructions at the Harvest Moon Run

The path was easy for the 5K.  They had a water station where the Uptown Connection Trail met the Dick & Willie Trail that would point people in the right direction at the right time and there was a volunteer at a cone that was the 5K turnaround that made sure that we all turned when we were supposed to (the 10K’ers had higher number bibs).

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The Finish Line

I finished before the sun set and then caught this blurry shot a little while later of a runner crossing the finish line.  They had an event photographer at the finish to take everyone’s photo. His photos are posted on the Miles In Martinsville Facebook Page.

It was a good race and I would highly recommend it if you are considering running it in a future year.  The Dick & Willie Trail is beautiful and fun to run with some company like this. For more information on The Dick & Willie Trail, check out “Virginia Rail Trails: Crossing The Commonwealth”.

If you like small town races with local flavor, the next one coming up is the Run With The Cows 5K at the Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail in Reidsville, NC. Unlike most 5K’s, this one is on a Sunday afternoon.  While this is down in North Carolina, the history of the property there has some regional roots.

 

The Heat Index Hold

It’s been difficult to get up and moving lately with the summertime temps.  I used to enjoy running a 5K here and there but I’m the only one in the household that really enjoys that and, with Mother’s move, there just hasn’t been time.  And then there was this humid summer.

I just got a reminder in my email about the 3rd annual Stop, Drop, and Run 5K in Stuart coming up on September 10th and the 2016 Harvest Moon 5K & 10 K in Martinsville on September 16th.  Now I’m sitting here looking at pictures from past races and thinking, can I be ready by then? I’m so out of shape and its so hard to get going with the humidity and heat the way it has been recently.  It’s been practically tropical in southern Virginia this summer.

I’d love to run the Harvest Moon run in Martinsville because it is on the Dick & Willie Trail, a rail trail that runs all the way through town.   I started (but did not finish) the Martinsville half marathon training  in the winter of 2015 but I still haven’t been on the trail when it is all leafed out because every single person I’ve talked to has said that I shouldn’t go alone. In other words, I need a male escort.  I didn’t run the Harvest Moon in 2014 because I couldn’t finish a 10K in under an hour and it starts at 7PM.  This year they are offering a 5K and, if I can be fit enough to do that, it might just be the best of all possible worlds for me.

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2014 Harvest Moon 10K in Martinsville

Martinsville has a pretty active and close-knit running community.  Check out Miles In Martinsville for a list of events, training programs, and volunteer opportunities.  There are a lot of good runners with incredible patience willing to mentor the slower runners (like me).  There is also a Facebook Group called MHC Inspire that allows local runners (and mountain bikers, etc) to keep up with and encourage each other.  There is a group that meets on the Dick & Willie Trail by El Parral Restaurant every Sunday morning (I’m told) and runs six miles.  I haven’t gotten that fit yet.

All in all, though, the running community is pretty much just as vibrant here in the Martinsville-Henry County area as it was in McKinney, TX.

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2013 Cadillac Pizza Pub Runners – McKinney, TX

I was worried when I moved here about running in Virginia.  Friends teased me about all the hills.  Although I did eventually stop running, it wasn’t because of the hills. In fact, I’ve seen some of the most beautiful countryside here by running through it and no two races are exactly the same. The first race I ran in Stuart, The Strawberry Festival 5K,  was fairly easy.  The Caring Soles 10K in Stuart kicked me (if fact they sent someone out to make sure that I was okay).

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2014 Stop, Drop, and Run in Stuart, VA

Woolwine, which is an exceptionally hilly place, has probably one of the nicest runs in the area, the Covered Bridge Festival 5K, every June.

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2014 Covered Bridge Run – Woolwine, VA

Woolwine is worth two photos.  Absolutely gorgeous.

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2014 Covered Bridge Run  – Woolwine, VA

The Rebels 5K race in Critz (pronounced with a hard I) led me to find the Reynolds Homestead just a few miles north, if that far.

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2014 Rebel 5K – Critz, VA

Even the Peach Festival 5K in Meadows of Dan was not bad at all and they are at the foot of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  One guy even did it with a stroller.

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2014 Peach Festival 5K – Meadows of Dan, VA

There is also  Run With the Cows 5K on the Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail down in Reidsville, NC on September 25th that I’d like to do.  That’s three races in September.

If I do manage to get out there and get back to running, I have a separate Facebook page for pictures I’ve taken at races, Runs With Camera.  There’s an album for each race I’ve taken my camera on.  Most are in the Dallas area but, hopefully, I’ll get at least a few more from Virginia.