Massanutten Trail Circuit Run
This is the "old" Web site for the Ring
the new site is here
There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. --Will Rogers
For the uninitiated, The Ring is a circuit of the entire 71-mile orange-blazed Massanutten Trail in the George Washington National Forest, on the ridgelines of the eastern and western ranges of the Massanutten Mountains around the Fort Valley, roughly between Front Royal and Luray. The "trail" is hard, rocky, and slow. Sections of the trail have been around in some cases for centuries, but the entire, uninterrupted, 71-mile Massanutten Trail was not completed until 2002.
at 2010 Event
Bryan White - Milford Gap
Dennis Herr - Camp Roosevelt
Cory McArtor - Crisman Hollow Rd
Teri Simonds - Moreland Gap
Dan Pesta - Edinburg Gap
Marianna Inslee - Woodstock Gap
Eva Pastalkova - Powells Fort Camp
Even before the trail could be officially dedicated in the summer of 2002, Chris Scott convinced a reluctant Anstr Davidson that they had to be the first to run the entire Massanutten Trail. Having beaten others to the glory of christening the trail with their run in April of that year, Anstr and Chris were then kind enough to serve as the hosts for the first organized running of The Ring in the fall of 2002 (for others foolish enough not to heed their warnings that a sane person would not really want to do this run). Over the next four years the Lords of The Ring inducted new members into the Fellowship of the Ring. After a one-year sabbatical, The Ring returned in search of more victims, but under two new Ring Leaders. Chris and Anstr have passed the burden on to Mike Bur and Quatro Hubbard. But have no fear, not too much changed (especially those Massanutten rocks).
The Fellowship of The Ring
The Fellowship of The Ring those who have previously completed The Ring currently consists of 88 members. Previously, the best part of being a member of The Fellowship was that, unless you were the first finisher the year before, you were not eligible to run The Ring again. The Fellowship would nonetheless reconvene every fall in the Massanuttens, in theory to provide "aid" along the trail for those poor misguided souls attempting to join their ranks. In reality, what draws The Fellowship back each year is the roving party and the opportunity to heckle those actually running.
The new Ring Leaders fully expect this perk of membership in The Fellowship to continue, but now with a bit of added temptation, since the rule prohibiting recidivism has been eliminated. If you have run The Ring in previous years, you are now welcome to come back and do it again.
The second best part of being in The Fellowship is that only members of The Fellowship of The Ring are eligible to run the Reverse Ring in late February. So plan ahead for 2012! Get this prerequisite course completed in September 2011 so that you will be eligible to come back and play on the same beautiful trail in the middle of the winter, which is when it really shines.
How to Enter
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Bur and Quatro we would love to have your help (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com). We are seeking a volunteer to run each of the aid stations along the course, an additional volunteer for the last three aid stations on the western ridge of the mountains, and we could use one or two volunteers to serve as "roving aid" in the evening as well.
The Ring is a typical Fat Ass run in that there are no entry fees, no awards, and no t-shirts. Fat Ass entrants are generally admonished that there will also be no wimps and no whiners. In this instance, just choosing to start proves you are not a wimp, and EVERYONE whines at the end (and whines for years to come, so when it gets to be your turn to whine about how badly the trail from Signal Knob to the finish sucks, try to be at least a little bit creative). So that Fat Ass law is not enforced at The Ring. In fact, the roving party would be disappointed if it appeared as though the runners were actually having fun.
Previously, you needed a 'sponsor' from the Fellowship willing to vouch for your ability to do the run successfully (or perhaps unconcerned enough about your well-being not to care what you were about to inflict upon yourself). We are doing away with the sponsor. In it's place, you will need to demonstrate that you are "qualified" to run in this event. Being a member of The Fellowship obviously meets this requirement. Otherwise, we are just looking for runners to fall into one of the following two simple categories in order to gain entry into The Ring this year:
- Completion of a trail 50 miler *AND* recent experience on the Massanutten trails (e.g. Tom Corris's "Massanutten Training Academy" MMT 100 training runs).
- Completion of any 100-mile race.
Backcountry experience and the ability to read a map would be helpful since there will be no ribbons or glow sticks to follow, just the "native" trail markings (i.e. those orange-painted blazes on the trees). Carrying a course description and the PATC Map G is highly advisable (see link below) and required for first timers.
Additionally, unlike previous incarnations of The Ring, repeat offenders are welcome to return. First-timers will get priority, should a cap to the field become necessary. As in the past, the field will not be large, and likely the nature of the event and the course will limit the number of entrants without our need to impose a cap. But the Ring Leaders do reserve the right to cut off entry if too many of you lose leave of your senses and try to get in. If entries are not capped sooner, then we will close "registration" after August 31.
The run will start at 7 a.m. on Saturday September 3 at the Signal Knob trailhead off of Route 678 near the northern entrance to Fort Valley. Each runner will be allowed a single, sturdy, well-marked drop bag, which will be collected prior to the start in the parking lot. Please try to keep the size of your bag within reason. We will shuttle that single bag around the course for you.
Be prepared to run the first 25 miles of The Ring before you come to the first official checkpoint and receive aid. For those of you who have run VHTRC events before, even the Fat Ass runs tend to provide everything you might need at an aid station. If you have special requirements, there is the drop bag option for you. You may have crew come out to follow you around, and even to run some with you if they can arrange their own transportation, but the Ring Leaders may press crew into more general checkpoint duties, so they should be forewarned of that possibility (likelihood).
In previous years members of The Fellowship have journeyed up the Veach Gap trail to provide an impromptu aid station at what is about mile 8.7 of the Massanutten Trail. Other reprobates have even made their way up to Milford Gap for the same reason (mile 13.2). Don't be surprised if this happens again this year, but the first official aid that we can guarantee you will receive will be at Camp Roosevelt at around mile 25, so plan accordingly. The other official checkpoints are listed below.
Check Points on the Ring
|Cp Roos - 25||Chrisman Rd - 34.3||Moreland - 40.7||Edinburg - 48.7||Woodstock - 56.9||Powells - 62.7||Finish - 71.1|
Directions to the start at Signal Knob
From the DC Beltway (I-495) take 1-66 West approx. 60 miles to US 340 south (Exit 6, - the second Front Royal exit). Follow US 340 south 1.1 miles to the traffic light at VA Route 55. Turn right onto VA 55 and follow it west for 5.2 miles to Waterlick. Turn left (south) onto VA Route 678. Follow VA 678 1.8 miles into George Washington National Forest, and a total of 3.4 miles to the marked entrance of the Signal Knob parking lot, located on the right-hand side of the road. Plenty of parking spaces are available in this lot. Map
Reports and Results of Prior Runs
- Mileages on the MT Trail (these milages are counter-clockwise -- NOT the way we (you) are going)
- Massanutten Trail Dedication
- Get Map G from the PATC
Sun and Moon Data for the Run
Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory
Astronomical Applications Department
The following information is provided for Front Royal, Warren County, Virginia (longitude W78.2, latitude N38.9):
Saturday 3 September 2011 Eastern Daylight Time SUN Begin civil twilight 6:16 a.m. Sunrise 6:43 a.m. Sun transit 1:12 p.m. Sunset 7:40 p.m. End civil twilight 8:08 p.m. MOON Moonset 10:19 p.m. on preceding day Moonrise 1:18 p.m. Moon transit 6:15 p.m. Moonset 11:08 p.m. Moonrise 2:22 p.m. on following day
Phase of the Moon on 3 September: waxing crescent with 38% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.
First quarter Moon on 4 September 2011 at 1:39 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lords of The Ring
The Class of 2002
The Class of 2003
The Class of 2004
The Class of 2005
The Class of 2007
The Class of 2008
The Class of 2009
The Class of 2010