Frequently Asked Questions

Starting the 2009 Women’s Half Marathon.
Starting the 2009 Women’s Half Marathon.
How many runners are there?
The race is limited to 240 women.
What’s the bathroom situation?
We’ll have a few Port-O-Potties at the start/finish line, and the park has a small, three-stall bathroom near the start/finish. There are no bathrooms on the course. Showers are not available at Fountainhead Regional Park.
Since there’s no bag-check, where can I leave my post-run stuff?
Your car — the finish line is just steps from the parking lot.
Can my friends and family come cheer for me?
Certainly! The Fountainhead Aid Station (located near the park parking lot) is where your fans can catch you as you blaze down the trail.
Kirstin Corris finishing the 2011 Women’s Half Marathon.
Kirstin Corris finishing the 2011 Women’s Half Marathon.
How can I become a member of the VHTRC?
We’d love to have you. You can sign up here.
How should I train?
Just as you would for any long-distance road race, by gradually building up miles during regular long training runs. And we highly recommend running on some trails before the race. The VHTRC is hosting two official practice runs on the course. Learn more on our Training Runs page.
What should I wear?
Clothes, please! Totally up to you, though we suggest you plan for the weather and don’t try to race in anything you haven’t run in before. Trail shoes are nice but not necessary for this race.
Should I carry water/food with me during the race?
That’s up to you. If you want to carry food or drink, please do. If you don’t, we’ll take good care of you: The race has three aid stations you’ll pass through a total of five times (see the Course page for more details). Each aid station will have water, sports drink, soda, salty snacks and sweet snacks. Please note: We will not provide sports gels or blocks.
Can I run with my dog?
Sorry; Fido has to stay home. There’s not enough room on the trail for 240 runners and their pets.
Can I wear headphones?
This event complies with the VHTRC policy on personal listening devices, and we strongly discourage the use of headphones during this race. This is for your own safety and the courtesy of all your fellow runners.
Energy drink, soda, light snacks: a typical aid station at the Women’s Half Marathon.
Energy drink, soda, light snacks: a typical aid station at the Women’s Half Marathon.
What can I expect at the aid stations?
The race has three stations you’ll pass through a total of five times. An aid station is basically a folding table set up in the middle of the woods, manned by our incredible VHTRC volunteers. Each aid station will have water, sports drink, soda, salty snacks and sweet snacks. Please note: We will not provide sports gels or blocks.
How can I volunteer?
Why, thank you for asking! Check out our Volunteer page.
Are there prizes?
Awards will be given to the top three finishers and the first VHTRC member to finish. Additional award categories include: under 20, over 60, and five-year age groups in between. The top three mother/daughter teams will also receive awards. Finishers must be present to receive their awards. We’ll also have some random prizes to give away, so stick around for the awards ceremony for your chance to win!
Alisa Springman with her mother, Chari, in the Do Loop during the 2011 event.
Alisa Springman with her mother, Chari, in the Do Loop during the 2011 event.
What’s the mother/daughter team competition?
We are recognizing mother/daughter runners again this year with a special “team” competition. This is a chance to convince your mother or your daughter to run the race. Combined times will be used to calculate the winners. For example, if one member of the team finishes in 2:30 and the other in 3:30, the two times will be added together for a combined time of 6 hours. The team with the lowest combined time will receive first place. You can run together or separately. Each mother/daughter team member must indicate the other member of her team on her race application. You can’t form a team on race day.
What will I get at the finish line?
Mostly, the satisfaction of a run well done. Oh, and a well-deserved spread of post-run food.
What if it rains?
Trail runners don’t shy away from nature. The race goes on.
If I can’t make it, do I get a refund?
Short answer: It depends on when you decide not to run. See our Entry page for all the details.
Aaron Schwartzbard, VHTRC photographer extraordinaire.
Aaron Schwartzbard, VHTRC photographer extraordinaire.
Will there be a photographer?
Yes, the club has a wonderful volunteer photographer, and you’ll be able to access your race photos on our website — for free — after the event.
What’s the course record?
1:37:38, set by Martha Nelson in 2009.
Where can I see past results?
Our Results page has prior results, race reports, and links to photos.
How long has this been going on?
The VHTRC first hosted this race in 1993 to encourage more women to run trails. We’re pretty sure the club’s founding fathers were trying to scare up some dates, too. A list of the prior race directors is on the Results page.
Will there be mile markers?
No, but we’ll post the mileages at each aid station. Note that the Bull Run Trail (the second part of the course, from Fountainhead to the finish) also has permanent mile markers.
Finishing the Women’s Half Marathon.
Finishing the Women’s Half Marathon.
Are there animals on the course?
Besides you? Well, it is a park, so you might encounter birds, squirrels, snakes, or even deer. Encounters with bees, wasps, or yellow jackets are also possible. Just stay alert and tread lightly through these creatures’ home.
What if I need to drop out during the race?
You must drop out at an aid station, and you must tell the aid station captain that you’ve chosen to stop racing.
Where and when is packet pick-up?
We like to keep this low-key! You can pick up your race bib and particpants shirt on race day at the start line.
Yes, the Do Loop is marked (in places).
Yes, the Do Loop is marked (in places).
How did the Do Loop get its name?

Back when the VHTRC first started using these trails in the early ’90s, the Do Loop trail was primitive and not well marked, so many runners would get lost, miss the loop’s exit, and have to run the loop again. (One guy did the loop three times before he got out!) A computer nerd gave the loop its name.

The Do Loop has been a longtime part of the VHTRC’s Bull Run Run 50 Miler, whose runners have loved and hated it. As you’re running in the loop, watch for relics of 1950’s America: abandoned washing machines, a Ford Fairlane, and — the highlight of any trip to the Do Loop — the Nash Rambler.

More recently, the Do Loop has been better marked. You’ll see blazes on the trees and a more distinct trail. But you’ll still be tackling some super-steep hills. Good luck!

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