Battle Report
Bull Run Run 50 Mile

April 13, 2013

Overall Results

Brian Rusiecki in the bluebells
Winner, Brian Rusiecki, in the bluebells
Photo: Aaron Schwartzbard
The 21st Bull Run Run saw almost good weather on an almost good course. It was a beautiful day that got a bit hot with beautiful trail that was a bit muddy. Brian Rusiecki won his second Bull Run Run in a row. Rachel Bell Kelley was the women's winner, completing her first 50 miler. There were 295 official finishers.

Before we go any further, we need to thank the 100+ volunteers to made the day possible. They worked very hard to mark the course, get everyone parked, have full service aid stations, provide timely and accurate results and put on a fantastic party at the finish line.


  • Lost and Found: We have found some lost items. More information
  • Sizing of Finishers Awards: We will try to help. See below for more information.

Also, we need to thank the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains the trails we used, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which owns the trails we used, and Adventure Links, which manages Hemlock Overlook. The support of these folks was not grudging or bureaucratic. They are a pleasure to deal with.

If you have a comment about the run, or pictures or reports that you think should be linked from this page, e-mail Anstr at


Rachel Bell Kelley
Female Winner, Rachel Bell Kelley
Photo: Aaron Schwartzbard


See note
Entrants List (for identifying runners)

NOTE: Links below open new windows or tabs. Your back button won't get you back here, but this should keep you from getting lost in the pictures.

Reports (Mostly on blogs)


North-South Competition

North-South Competition
Under 10 Hours
North 81 81
South 37 71.8235294122
Total 118  

Unlike the real war and modern politics, the competition between the North and South is not very serious. One indication that it's not serious is that many runners from Virginia run for the North.

After a rare win last year, the South went back to its losing ways. The event replicated the outcome of the real war but not the two battles for which it is named. Runners for the North will get the low bib numbers in 2014.

It had started out well for the South with three of the first five finishers wearing yellow numbers. About a half hour from the 10 hour point, the South was looking good. But then a blue wave came crashing in to seal the victory for the Yankees.

Initial Battle Report

Photo: Anstr Davidson

When the Bull Run Run began, its founders did not know about the bluebells. That just sort of happened. But the beautiful, blue flowers are the star of the event. Last year, the bluebells came out early and were gone by race day. This year, the bluebells were in their glory. The runners, while fresh and in the cool morning, ran through a sea of blue. It was typical Bull Run Run again.

Besides bluebells, fun is the other point of the event. Regulars were worried that the well-earned retirement of Margie and Stan as captains of the Wolf Run Shoals aid station would take the fun out of the event. They need not have worried. Alex Papadopoulos took the aid station over and, after help from Margie and Stan, continued the tradition. Wolf Run Shoals had a pirate theme. But that was not all. There were two other aid stations with themes. Also, for the second year in a row, the turnaround in the bluebells was a wild scene. We envy whoever was the official supplier of blow up dolls to the event.

Brian Rusiecki, from Massachusetts, won the event for the second year in a row. James Blandford was second, and Brian Schmidt was third. Phil Reutlinger had led over the first half of the event, but went out a bit fast in his first 50 miler and faded at the end.

While New England continued its dominance of the podium on the male side, a southerner took the female win. Rachel Bell Kelley was the woman's winner. It was her first 50 mile run. Alexandra Peterson was second and Sheila Rao was third.

Wolf Run Shoals Aid Station
Pirates at Wolf Run Shoals
Photo: Anstr Davidson

Though it was not a year for records, Dawn Hamel, 57, from Canada, was very impressive. She ran the second fastest time of any 50-year old female at BRR.

Also, noteworthy was the finish of three 69 year olds - Bill Wandel, Gary Knipling, and Frank Probst. Frank is the oldest of the three and, since his 70th birthday was five days after the event, we are pretty sure he is the oldest person to have finished the event. Gary Knipling became the fastest 69 year old, breaking 11 hours.

Speaking of Frank, he joined Tim Stanley and Tom Green in finishing all 21 BRRs. Bill Wandel finished his 19th BRR, the most by a runner who normally runs for the North. Marcia Peters was injured and couldn't run, but she still has the most finishes by a women, 14. Michele Harmon and Suzi Spangler are close behind her with 12 finishes.

The team competition was again more about fun than serious competition. Some unfortunate drops undermined a few teams. The team competition is described elsewhere, but we should note here the pitiful performance of the Yard Dogs in the Oldest category. The winning team had a total age of 266 years (over 66 average). The total age of the Yard Dogs was 80. That is an average age of 20. It turns out that they all go to a college on the Severn River.

Nash Rambler
Nash Rambler with Kathy, in the Do Loop
Photo: Eric Levy-Myers

The finish line was a center of fun. After crossing the line, runners received a cup with ice water and a cold towel. Dave Quivey again led his stellar staff at the Furbutt Cafe. Everyone, runners, volunteers, and friends were able to get a burger and more. And there were showers. And great weather. It was a fun end to a fun day.

We gave three mementos to long-time volunteers this year. These were people who have served the event from its beginning. The recognition went to race founder, Chris Scott, long-time Wolf Run Shoals aid station captains Margie Schlundt and Stan Duobinis, and volunteer extraordinary Jane and Derrick Carr.

Overall, 2013 was a great year at Bull Run Run. The weather was good, the course was only a bit muddy, there were no major mishaps. The fantastic volunteers again were critical to the great success of the day.

The only big problem with Bull Run Run is the pressure it puts on those who manage it. It has a long, proud tradition of excellence. Those who went before set a challenge that is not easy to meet. The continuation of what makes Bull Run Run great is not a given. The people who volunteer to manage this event need your help and support. It's a tough job to continue the tradition.

Happy trails!

Anstr Davidson
Race Director, 2009-2013
Runner or Volunteer, 1993-2008

Note on Photos

We had two primary volunteer photographers this year -- Aaron Schwartzbard, and Bob Fabia. We have also received other contributions. There should be a photo of most runners at least somewhere. The volunteer photographers would be happy to let you use a photo for private, non-commercial purposes. If you want to do anything else with one of their pictures, please ask first.

Popes Head Creek
Popes Head Creek - the first stream crossing
Photo: Bob Fabia

BRR Home Page | Top of Page

Finisher Award Sizing: We have heard from some finishers, all male, who say that their awards are too big. We will make exchanges to the extent that we have alternatives available.

We do not have any more male smalls. If, by chance, anyone wants to trade for a larger size, we can probably arrange a swap easily. If, as we think is more likely, everyone wants to trade down, we may not be able to make everyone happy. We will offer a female medium for those needing a male small. The shirts look the same. (Just don't look at the tag that says, "Lady.")

Here is what to do now:

  • If you think you want to swap, don't wear your shirt. We don't want to swap used shirts.
  • E-mail the RD explaining what your size problem is, what size you have now, and what size you want. Don't mail anything anywhere until you hear from us.
  • Only after we say we have a shirt and have reserved one for you, send your current shirt back to us at your expense. We will send you a new one at your expense. (Any shirts sent before we say it's ok, will not be returned.)

A final point. We made you take your requested size initially, but we did have a box at the finish line where you could make exchanges. We realize that not all knew or cared about the box. We will do what we can, but we don't promise that we can or will make everyone happy.