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

Keith Knipling

2021 Report

December 26, 2021  •  Luray, VA

26 starters, 19 finishers

2021 Boyer’s Furnace winner Keith VanGraafeiland with run director Carol Cohen

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.

Women’s winner Charlene Howard, relaxing around the post-race bonfire

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.

Making its debut at the 2021 run: the Boyer’s Furnace Forty-Miler finishers’ sticker!


Below are the race results, and following them are the results with the splits from the three aid stations.

Video of the race start, taken by Ram Oruganti

Boyer's Furnace 2021 Photos - Chelsea & Q

Boyer's Furnace 2021 Photos - Carol Cohen

1Keith VanGraafeiland40MVA8:08
2Ali Mohammed43MMD8:23
3Justin Faul41MVA8:28
3Nick Drozdiak40MDC8:28
5Eric Eldridge53MVA9:04
6Bruce Tweedie60MVA9:38
7Daniel Gracias41MVA9:54
8Ted Bielawa51MVA10:27
9Bruce Martin39MVA10:32
10Tony Taylor51MVA10:55
10Jesse Parker41MVA10:55
12Marty Fox71MVA10:57
12Jeff Pence63MVA10:57
12Travis Bertram48MVA10:57
15Andy Peterson65MVA11:15
16Charlene Howard50FMD11:18
17Rob Tidwell51MVA11:21
18Angela Huang36FVA12:06
19Daniel Barron58MVA12:07
DNFChelsea Smith35FVANope
DNFDan Aghdam53MVANope
DNFJohn Hord54MMDNope
DNFBrian McNeill63MMDNope
DNFFitzgerald Brown27MVANope
DNFStuart Brown70MVANope
DNFJohn Calabrese41MVANope

Of the runners who completed the Boyers Furnace 50k, the final four arrived after the 5:30pm cutoff: John Hord, Brian McNeill, Stuart and Fitz Brown.


Veach Gap Aid Station - 17 miles
Woodstock Tower Aid Station - 23 miles
Edinburg Gap Aid Station - 31 miles
Camp Roosevelt finish line - 40.3 miles

PlaceNameAgeSexHomeVeech ASWoodstock ASEdinburg ASFinish
1Keith VanGraafeiland40MVA3:294:316:308:08
2Ali Mohammed43MMD3:264:306:328:23
3Justin Faul41MVA3:384:456:518:28
3Nick Drozdiak40MDC3:424:546:548:28
5Eric Eldridge53MVA3:575:137:209:04
6Bruce Tweedie60MVA3:575:207:459:38
7Daniel Gracias41MVA4:125:367:599:54
8Ted Bielawa51MVA4:115:338:2010:27
9Bruce Martin39MVA3:585:328:1510:32
10Tony Taylor51MVA4:296:078:4410:55
10Jesse Parker41MVA4:296:048:4410:55
12Marty Fox71MVA4:336:008:4010:57
12Jeff Pence63MVA4:286:078:4010:57
12Travis Bertram48MVA4:185:568:4010:57
15Andy Peterson65MVA5:046:329:2011:15
16Charlene Howard50FMD4:366:078:5011:18
17Rob Tidwell51MVA4:306:078:5011:21
18Angela Huang36FVA5:217:069:5012:06
19Daniel Barron58MVA4:586:379:2812:07
DNFChelsea Smith35FVA4:266:048:4250k - Drop
DNFDan Aghdam53MVA4:266:048:4250k - Drop
DNFJohn Hord54MMD5:166:5710:1650k - Time
DNFBrian McNeill63MMD5:317:1611:0050k - Time
DNFStuart Brown70MVA5:327:1511:5850k - Time
DNFFitzgerald Brown27MVA5:327:1511:5850k - Time
DNFJohn Calabrese41MVA5:277:16 xxx23 Miles

John Calabrese assisted the sweep, Erin Altemos, during the section from AS #1 to AS #2, prior to withdrawing from the race. His time into Woodstock is approximated, based on the final runner’s time.

Last updated December 30, 2021