Tue07222014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Runners on the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail brave the cold

For the fifth time, runners gathered at the Bloomsbury Road trail head for the half-marathon on the DRHT. A record 144 runners completed the course, which ran a little over six and a half miles down the trail, and then back.

The overall winner was Alex Hetherington from Vienna, in a time of 1:20:27, missing a record by just a little over a second. Hetherington was pretty much by himself for most of the race; the next five runners, closely bunched, were eleven seconds behind. This year the race was part of the Northern Neck “Winterfest” celebration.

The day started seasonably cold. Runners were warmed by the traditional bon-fire while they waited for the race to start. Finishers, who were plenty warm by the time they finished, enjoyed relaxing and chatting while they consumed hot soup and other snacks including the runners’ all time favorite: glazed donuts! A few even warmed them over the still-blazing fire. Grilled Do-Nuts, the epicurean delight!

The start was in eight waves separated by two minutes to provide some separation on the narrow trail. Of the starters, 19 were from King George, 99 from other parts of Virginia, and 26 from out of state. All the runners enjoyed being on the trail and were complimentary of the conditions.  That was welcomed news; the Friends of the DRHT had cleared some trees that had fallen and were keeping an eye on the trail since the last snow storm had caused the race to be postponed by a week.  Most of the snow had melted and the trail had drained well.

Several members of Team Red, White and Blue participated both in the race as well as having a table with information about their cause. RWB participates in races to promote awareness of injured service men and women and to support the Wounded Warrior Program.

Some of Team RWB runners run in full combat gear, or “battle rattle”, which weighs close to 50 pounds. They also run as part of the The Pledge organization with similar objectives.  We were proud to have them on the DRHT. They’re a great group of guys and gals and we hope to see them again on the trail.

Don Kirkpatrick and Andrew Morris from the local chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society came with one of their antique hand cars.  The hand-pumped rail car has become a tradition at the DRHT races, providing an escort for runners as they finish the last half-mile. Plus the kids enjoyed riding and helping to man the pump handles.

Ham radio operators from the Rappahannock Valley Amateur Radio Club provide an important service of monitoring the race at each of the aid stations. The “hams” relay back to the start the number of runners passing through, and the first and last runner. They also provided the sweep vehicle which had a mobile ham unit.

Thanks also to the team from the Northern Virginia Gun Club who once again manned the aid station at the turn-around point. Joe Primerano, Station Captain, and his gang do a great job. And kudos to the other volunteers at the start/finish and the road crossings. The runners can’t say enough about our volunteers. But hey, it’s King George right? We have high expectations!

Notable placing by King George residents include: Alice Pallotti, 3rd in the Women’s Open Division, Donna German, 1st in the Women’s 40-49 age group, Steve Dorton, 1st in the Men’s 20-29 age group and Elizabeth Gutherie, 2nd in the Women’s 60-69 age group.

Complete results are found on the Race Timing Unlimited website. Thanks to Vic Culp and his staff for helping us to continue to put on good races.

As the race was ending and the volunteers packing up, folks started to come in for an afternoon walk. The day was warming and becoming quite sunny. I chatted with a couple who had just moved to the county and were glad they had discovered the trail. They were actually familiar with the trail having done some research on the Friends’ website.

We’re fortunate to have this great resource in our county. I’m out there often so I’m sure I’ll see you on the trail!

Jim Lynch

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