View to the east and the Shenandoah Mountains, taken in the early miles of the 2014 run.

Keith Knipling

Boyers Furnace

A 40-mile loop through the Massanutten Mountains, named for Boyer’s Furnace, one of four iron blast furnaces operated in Fort Valley area during the 19th century. Runners pass the furnace ruins roughly halfway through the circuit.

Date
  • Mon Dec 26, 2022
Start location
Start time
  • 7:30 am
Distance
  • 40.3 miles
Total ascent/descent
  • 6,500 feet
Aid stations
  1. Veach Gap (17.0 miles)
  2. Woodstock Tower (23.0 miles)
  3. Edinburg Gap (31.0 miles)
Entry
  • Entry opens on Monday November 21, 2022 at 9:00 am. Entry will be limited to 75 runners.
GPX file
Print or download
Sunrise & sunset
  • Begin civil twilight 7:00 am
    Sunrise 7:29 am
    Sunset 5:00 pm
    End civil twilight 5:28 pm
What to wear
In charge
Reports
Course records
  • Paul Jacobs
    6:16 (in 2019)
    Kelly MacDonald
    7:56 (in 2018)
The ruins of Boyer’s Furnace, the namesake of the run, located at roughly the halfway point alongside Boyer Road.

Boyer’s Furnace is a minimally-marked 40-mile loop through the Massanutten Mountains and around the southern half of the Fort Valley. The event is sponsored by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. The run was started in 2006 by Greg Loomis. It was under the able stewardship of Carter Cox (formerly Carter Wiecking) and then Tony Escobar for several years. 2022 will be Year Six under current Race Director Carol Cohen. Carol remains committed to providing the area trail running community with a quality “Fat Ass” race experience, on behalf of the VHTRC and in the tradition of Greg, Carter and Tony.

The event is named for Boyer’s Furnace, one of four stone blast furnaces operated in the Fort Valley area during the 19th century. Runners pass the furnace ruins roughly halfway through the circuit, on a dirt road section while crossing the Fort Valley on the edge of the George Washington National Forest boundary line.

Course Details

Boyer’s Furnace is a formidable, counter-clockwise 40-mile loop that combines sections of both the Old Dominion and Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 mile runs. The course is a fair challenge, and it should take between 6:30 and 12:30 to complete. The course can be broken into the following sections:

• 17 miles of technical Massanutten East ridgeline (stay on Orange to Veach Gap)

• 6 miles of primarily rolling dirt road

• 8 miles of tough Massanutten West ridgeline (again, stay on Orange)

• 9 miles of primarily rolling dirt road

There are 3 aid stations, at miles 17, 23, and 31. The aid stations will consist of liquids supplied by the club (water, Gatorade, Coke, and Ginger Ale), and aid bags provided by each runner. Bring three labeled Ziploc bags with your personal food and/or drink options to the start, and drop them in the appropriate bins when you check in pre-race. Historically, the aid stations have provided additional aid, but you should not count on it. The bins will make their way back to the start/finish after each aid station closes.

Aid StationSplitCumulativeCrew accessCutoffMap
Veach Gap17.0 mi17.0 mi1:00 pm
Woodstock Tower6.0 mi23.0 mi2:30 pm
Edinburg Gap8.0 mi31.0 mi5:30 pm

It is essential that each runner carry enough food/water to make it through the first, slow 17-mile section. This will take all but the fastest runners 4+ hours to complete. In past years individuals have left cars at the various aid stations, enabling them to cut the run short. That is fine — just plan ahead and let the RD know that you plan to do so.

There are cut-offs. The first two are suggested only: 5:30 (1 PM) at Veach Gap (mile 17), and 7 hours (2:30 PM) up at Woodstock Tower (mile 23). The last two are not: 10 hours (5:30 PM) at the Edinburg Gap aid (mile 31), and then 12:30 (8 PM) at the Camp Roosevelt finish. It should be getting dark around 5:30 (the sun sets at 5 PM at this time of year). Runners who finish in over 10 hours will need a flashlight for the closing stretch.

Sections of the Massanutten Trail are notoriously rocky, such as this stretch on the east ridge on a foggy morning.

This event is a classic “fat-ass” run. There are no entry fees or awards. Weather permitting, there will be a bonfire at the end so don’t forget your camp chair. What better way to kick off your 2023 training, and knock off some holiday pounds, while also spending time on the trails with old friends and new? And if the weather is cooperative, you will be treated to some incredible views on both ridges of the Massanutten Mountains.

Markings are minimal, so the runner must be comfortable navigating a course using a map and turnsheet in order to participate. This is a MUST! Some of you will know this course, but those who are not 100% sure of the route should be carrying a turnsheet and a map. Carrying your cell phone is also a wise option, not only in case of emergency, but so that you can document the trail, your fellow runners, the bears, etc. Note that there is a GPX file available in the column to the left for your use, as well.

Elevation profile of the Boyer’s Furnace 40 miler.

The event will be limited to 75 runners in the starting field. If the limit of 75 is reached, then entry will place you on a wait list, in order of entry (so ignore the randomly generated “lottery” numbers for this event). As a runner formally drops out of the field, the next runner on the wait list will be let in.

Confirm that this event really is for you, and then you will find the entry link below and on the panel to the left once the race entry is opened up (scheduled for 9 AM on Monday November 21, 2022). NOTE: Volunteers are very much needed, so contact Carol if you would like to help your fellow runners out!

Last updated December 29, 2021

Club Event Participant Medical Policy

This is an event with very real risks to your well being. The VHTRC does not provide medical care for runners at this event. Runners are responsible for their own health, safety, and well being at this event. No doctors, nurses, or emergency medical technicians, or anyone with any medical training are available along the course, at any aid station, or at the finish. The club does not supply any medical goods or services, including bandages, splints, antiseptic, or Ibuprofen or any other drugs to maintain the health of runners. Physical, medical, and emergency care is the runners' responsibility. In case of an emergency, we will endeavor to get local emergency personnel to an injured runner as soon as possible. Since most of our events are in remote areas, medical care may be far away in distance or time. Each year, runners finish — or are forced to drop out — with scrapes, deep cuts, hematomas, dislocations, and sprains. Runners have experienced cuts, bruises, bee stings, and asthma attacks. This is an event with very real risks.