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

Keith Knipling

2019 Report

December 28, 2019  •  Luray, VA

57 starters, 49 finishers


The 14th edition of the Boyer’s Furnace 40 miler, held on Saturday December 28, 2019, featured gorgeous weather, sunny skies, amazing volunteers, hard-core ultra runners, and a finish line feast with bonfire. 57 starters toed the line at 7:30 am in the Camp Roosevelt “horse lot” (out of the 103 entrants), and 49 made their way back around the course to the finish.

Group shot before the 2019 Boyers Furnace
Group shot before the start of the 2019 Boyers Furnace.
Boyers Furnace 2019 podium
Boyers Furnace 2019 podium. Left to right: Paul Jacobs, Michael Wardian, and Adam Watkins.

Paul Jacobs blew away the previous course record by over 1/2 hour. He finished in 6:16, besting the previous record that was set by Aaron Schwartzbard (6:47) in 2007. Adam Watkins led for the first 17 miles, the most treacherous stretch of the course, before giving up the lead and finishing second in 7:04. Michael Wardian took third in 7:14.

Mikala Shremshock was the first female (8:42). Kristen Gray, a newcomer, ran neck-and-neck with Mikala through the Edinburg aid station. Kristen came in 2nd (9:09). Emily Clay rounded out the women’s podium (9:13). Kelly MacDonald still holds the course record (7:56), set in 2018.

We got lucky again with the weather this year. With total sunshine and highs in the low 60s, layers were flying off right and left after the first mile’s climb up to Edith Gap. The Boyer’s Furnace 40 miler lived up to its reputation of being an incredibly difficult course, with leaf-covered rocks providing obstacles on the two lengthy Massanutten Trail sections included in the run course.

Veach Gap Aid Station Volunteers
Veach Gap Aid Station Volunteers

This run would not have been such a success without the support of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, and another stellar turnout of rock star volunteers. This year’s volunteers were Sheila Veibert (Veach Captain), Cara Foley, Josh Howe (who was on-site from the start to finish), Charlene Howard, Erin Altemos (now firmaly established as the Boyer’s sweep extraodinaire), Stephen Wancowicz; Tony Escobar (Woodstock captain), Tracey and Larry Thibodeau, Erik Kuhlmann and Mike Zinn (Edinburg captains), Tom Simonds, Justin Faul, Arif Khazi and Nelline (finish line chef/captains, creator of amazing tortellini soup and haute cuisine quesadillas, and provider of the finish-line sound system), Levi Mason (course marking), and Quatro Hubbard (logistics).

The 15th annual Boyer’s Furnace 40-miler will take place on Saturday, December 26, 2019. Entry will open on Monday November 16, 2019. Mark your calendars now!

Massanutten Trailhead sign - Woodstock Tower
Massanutten Trailhead sign - Woodstock Tower


A collection of Photos on Flickr.


Results for the 2019 Boyer’s Furnace 40 Miler, held on a picture-perfect, nearly spring-like, day in the southern part of the Fort Valley in northwestern Virginia. The weather no doubt assisted in seeing 49 of the 57 starters complete the full distance. Several of the DNF’s were knocked out of the race by injury, which is a particular issue on the notoriously leaf-covered rocky sections of the Massanutten Trail that the runners negotiate over the first 17 miles, and then again for 8 fairly treacherous miles from Woodstock to Edinburg. All seemed to enjoy this great day in the mountains, and to get a great kickstart to 2020 ultra training, particularly those planning to take part in the winter series of “training academy” runs for the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 mile race.

Besides the amazing weather, the glorious views, and the amazing support from Race Director Carol Cohen’s cadre of volunteers, the race was highlighted by a new course and event record, set by Paul Jacobs. Paul bested not only the course, but also a stellar men’s field for this year’s race. To be clear, Paul did not just set a new record. He shattered the old mark, beating Aaron Schwartzbard’s 2007 time of 6:47 by a mind-blowing 31 minutes! The women’s winner was Mikala Shremshock. Mikala’s 8:42 allowed her to hold off strong efforts by 2nd place Kristen Gray and 3rd place Emily Clay; the course record, established with a 7:56 finish in the 2018 race by Kelly MacDonald, remains intact for another year.

Last updated January 3, 2020