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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Weather was perfect. They had two beer selections, Coors Light and something from Devil’s Backbone, and music played on a PA system.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
Woolwine, which is an exceptionally hilly place, has probably one of the nicest runs in the area, the Covered Bridge Festival 5K, every June.
Woolwine is worth two photos. Absolutely gorgeous.
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.
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.
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.