View to the east and the Shenandoah Mountains, taken in the early miles of the 2014 run.
December 26, 2021 • Luray, VA
26 starters, 19 finishers
After the COVID-19 pandemic inspired a shorter, safer Boyer’s Lite 21.5 miler in 2020, we returned to the original Boyer’s Furnace 40-mile course on Sunday December 26, 2021. Mother Nature graced us with gorgeous weather for the 15th official edition of this run, and our amazing volunteers blessed us with a rolling buffet and finish line bonfire. 26 starters toed the line at 7:30 am in the Camp Roosevelt “horse lot,” including Andy Peterson, who arrived at 0 dark 30 with a chain saw to prep wood for the bonfire. 19 officially finished; of the seven runners who did not make it back under their own power to the finish, four were victims of the one on-course cut-off in the run: 5:30 pm (10 hours) at the 50k mark at Edinburg Gap.
Keith VanGraafeiland took first place in 8:08. Newcomer Ali Mohammed, whose first ultra was Boyer’s Furnace two years ago (!), held on for second in 8:23. Justin Faul and Nick Drozdiak (Mr. “I’m going to spend all the time in the world at the aid stations, this is just a shake out run”) shared the third place position on the podium just five minutes later (8:28).
Charlene Howard was the first female, finishing in 11:18. She arrived back at the Camp Roosevelt horse lot a full 48 minutes ahead of Angela Huang. Angie went down an old wagon road with John Calabrese at the tricky Milford Gap intersection 12 miles into the run, and added roughly two bonus miles as a result. To the well-meaning hiker out there who took down our markings, please don’t do it again. Our sweep extraordinaire Erin Altemos – back for his fourth year! – was out there to remove those blue ribbons, while he kept our back-of-the-packers on pace. This year Erin was willing to up his already considerable game on run day, adding the first 17 miles on the Massanutten and Veach Gap trails to his sweeping responsibilities. In years’ past, he had waited until after Veach Gap to start sweeping the runners and the course. This change in plans allowed for the clearing of those ribbons place mid-week at key intersections by Andy Peterson (at least those ribbons not cleared prior to run day by person or persons unknown). It also allowed Erin to experience what is the most scenic section of the course.
We got lucky with the weather this year, with sunshine and highs in the mid-50s, a far cry from last year’s 14-degree start. So when the runners were slipping and sliding over leaf-covered rocks on the two lengthy Massanutten Trail sections, they were at least falling on warmer ground.
We were also blessed with a rock star volunteer crew that stepped up to the plate and made the day epic. They surprised the runners with grilled cheese, pizza bites, chicken soup, perogies, tater tots, and fudgy brownies. They went hiking for missing/late runners, shuttled dropped runners, filled water bottles, taped toes, and even cleaned graffiti off rocks between runners coming through the aid stations. This year’s volunteers were Jon Jester (Veach Captain and incoming VHTRC Board member), Will Weidman (also an incoming Board member), John Stacy and Stephanie Danahy (Woodstock Captains), Carl and Kevin Bligan (Edinburg captains), Ram Oruganti (who was out there from start to finish), Erin Altemos (sweep extraordinaire), and Quatro Hubbard (who did everything, really).
The 2022 holidays once again fall on the weekends, making scheduling for the 16th edition of the Boyer’s Furnace 40 Miler tricky. As the state holiday for Christmas “observed” will be on Monday December 26, 2022, we will once again reconvene at Camp Roosevelt in the southern end of the Fort Valley on Boxing Day. Mark your run calendars now! You will want to join us, not only for this scenic, challenging and varied course, but also to get your very own BFF finisher’s sticker! Entry will open up on Monday November 21.
Below are the race results, and following them are the results with the splits from the three aid stations.