The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club

Promoting trail running in the D.C. area for three decades.

Welcome to the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club

We are a fun group of trail runners of all abilities centered in northern Virginia. Many but not all of us run ultramarathons. Come play with us at our races and training runs!

The VHTRC is 30! We are celebrating with a year-long photo scavenger hunt. More information

Latest news

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2023 Massanutten Trail Work Party

  • May 18, 2023
  • Trail work, MMT

The week before MMT, 22 volunteers from the VHTRC were busy preparing the Massanutten trails by clearing more than 23 miles of trail, removing dozens of trees, and contributed 164 hours of labor to our public lands. After the work party, several volunteers attended the Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp Sun Pavilion Grand Opening, which the VHTRC also had a hand in making possible.

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Just a Training Run Backyard Ultra Race Report

  • May 16, 2023
  • Race report

Last person standing/backyard events continue to gain in popularity, and John Calabrese reports on a particularly epic weekend at the Backyard Ultra put on over the weekend of May 13-14, 2023, by Just a Training Run in Wakefield, in the Hampton Roads area of southeast Virginia.

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Four Buckles at the C&O

  • May 5, 2023
  • Race report

After several years of volunteering at the C&O Canal 100 Miler, John Hord made a successful return to running the race in 2023. Below he recounts the story of how he claimed his fourth C&O buckle.

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Upcoming stuff

Here’s what we have coming up. See our calendar for a full list of our (and others’) events

The VHTRC was founded to put on races. We are mighty proud of our courses and hospitality.

Sat Sep 9

13.6 miles

Fairfax Station, VA

Entry opens: Apr 10, 2023

A challenging yet chill race for women only … built for new trail runners and veterans alike.

Sat Feb 24

50 km

Westminster, MD

Entry opens: Jan 3, 2023

31 miles of trails, old woods roads, open fields, and plenty of hills with a couple of stream crossings thrown in just for fun.

Sat Apr 6

50.2 miles

Clifton, VA

Entry opens: Nov 15, 2022

A 50 mile trail run that parallels the Bull Run and the Occoquan River in northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. The course traverses forested, rolling terrain during the height of Virginia’s spring beauty. The run’s unique character includes a Civil War theme that honors the battles that occurred here over 150 years ago. The 13 hour time limit makes Bull Run Run an excellent first 50 miler.

Sat May 18

100.6 miles

Fort Valley, VA

Entry opens: Oct 30, 2022

A challenging, rocky 100 miler on the trails of the Massanutten Mountains in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The course includes short but rugged mountain climbs with more than 18,000 feet of total ascent. There is a 36-hour cutoff.

Events are open to the public and free to enter, but do require prior registration and many have entry limits.
Didn’t get in? Consider volunteering.

Entry opens Jun 19

Sat Jul 22

29.1 miles

Luray, VA

Entry opens: Jun 19, 2023

Popular event on the little-used trails in the southern section of the Massanutten Mountains, under the direction of Chelsea Smith.

Entry is open

Sun Aug 6

13.1 miles

Fairfax Station, VA

Entry opens: Apr 10, 2023

Low-key runs with no formal sign-up. Just show up and run.

Sun Jun 11

7-10 miles

Washington, DC

Explore the trails of Rock Creek Park on these low-key runs. We leave at 8:00 am from either Peirce Mill or Theodore Roosevelt Island and the runs are roughly 7–10 miles long.

Sun Jul 2

24.2 miles

Syria, VA

Also known as “Shenandoah’s National Park’s greatest hits,” this 24-mile loop’s highlights include White Oak Canyon, Hawksbill, Stony Man, all connected by beautiful ridge running on the Appalachian Trail.

Mon Jul 3

15.5 miles

Washington, VA

A figure-eight loop featuring Little Devil Stairs, a mid-run stop at Elkwallow, some excellent views from Hogback, and a long, bombing downhill finish.

Tue Jul 4

20.9 miles

Flint Hill, VA

Smooth, runnable loop up and over the Blue Ridge and back. Wear red, white, and blue.

Fri Nov 24

25.3 miles

Nethers, VA

Often referred to as “Shenandoah’s National Park’s greatest hits,” this 25-mile loop’s highlights include White Oak Canyon, Hawksbill, Stony Man, all connected by beautiful ridge running on the Appalachian Trail.

View our available SWAG More information

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