View to the east and the Shenandoah Mountains, taken in the early miles of the 2014 run.
• Luray, VA
The idea to put on a formal fat ass event came to me while running around my one mile x one mile compound in Egypt. I was having a hard time motivating myself to continue making boring loops in the desert and I thought, if only I had a race to look forward too. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and since I planned my leave back to the states to coincide with my wife’s break between law school semesters (Dec 20-Jan 7) not many races existed that really interested me. Thus, I decided to create my own event in my favorite Virginia mountains. A 100k got nixed due to poor logistics, then a tough point to point 50 miler got axed in favor of a more runnable 40 mile loop, and finally the Boyers Furnace 40 was born.
The race turned out to be 43 miles and went off on a spectacularly beautiful clear day. Temperatures in the 40’s at the start yielded to high 50’s by afternoon. The trails were dry, but did have some slippery leaves covering them along the eastern ridgeline. The course was a tough loop that included 33 miles of MMT ridgelines but allowed the runners to travel in the opposite direction of the MMT 100. The route also crossed the fort valley floor on beautiful dirt roads and allowed the runners to pass by the least known of the ancient furnaces that remain in Fort Valley at mile 20.
The 7 AM planned start came and went as the generous RD was too busy talking it up and making sure all who had indicated they were coming were in fact present. Eventually 38 runners from 5 different states headed off uphill on the orange blaze trail with the sun rising in the eastern sky. Aid was available at 5 locations and included pretty standard fair, but all stations were unmanned.
For a low key no frills race we had a total of 8 sponsored Montrail runners taking part. (Go VHTRC!) and as would be expected these folks took to the lead. Courtney Campbell and coaching partner Sean Andrish lead all through to Woodstock tower and the 23 mile mark in under 4 hours. This would become the most popular version of the Boyers 2006 version as 16 runners stopped here. Bethany Patterson lead the ladies to this shortened finish line in roughly 4 and a half hours. Times for this no frills event were very no frills indeed as the lazy RD did not time anyone. Like the saying goes you get what you pay for!
A group of five made their own course and ran from camp Roosevelt to the signal knob parking lot while three others managed to do a 50K version. The real heroes of the day were the 11 tough (or nutty) folks that managed to complete all 43 miles. Sean Andrish and Mike Schuster along with dog Minnie? crossed the finish line in 8 and a half hours while Michele Harmon lead a group of four ladies that finished under ten and a half hours.
All in all it was a great day and a great inaugural event. This newbie RD found out how much work it really is to put on a race, but really looks forward to doing it again soon!