Hemlock Overlook

This one-off Fat Ass event will mark the return of trail racing to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park for the first time in nearly two years. A good, supported prep event for longer late fall/early winter races.

  • Sat Oct 2, 2021
Start location
Start time
  • 8:00 am
  • 50 km
Aid stations
  1. Bull Run Marina Outbound (5.0 miles)
  2. Fountainhead Outbound (12.0 miles)
  3. Fountainhead Inbound (19.0 miles)
  4. Bull Run Marina Inbound (26.0 miles)
Sunrise & sunset
  • Begin civil twilight 6:40 am
    Sunrise 7:05 am
    Sunset 6:52 pm
    End civil twilight 7:17 pm
What to wear
In charge

The Hemlock Overlook 50km will debut on October 2, 2021. This will also be the finale of the race. We are putting it on this year to fill the calendar slot that we had hoped to use for a postponed fall edition of the 2021 Bull Run Run 50 miler. We have had to cancel the 2021 BRR; it will definitely be back in April of 2022, however, so mark your calendar!

Entry to the Hemlock Overlook 50km is open. This is a Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Fat Ass event, so there is no entry fee to participate. There is no cap, and entry will remain open until September 30.

The race is not entirely free to you, however. There will be two aid stations, each of which you will pass through twice if you go the full distance. The VHTRC will provide the water and Gatorade, but all other aid will be provided by each runner. We will use the system that was developed during the pandemic for aid stations in our Fat Ass and other supported runs: you bring your own aid to the start and we will have it available at the two aid stations. So that means two ziplock bags, one each for the two aid stations, each with your name on it. We will bring the bags back to the start after the race. So if you are still around you will be able to reclaim your leftovers; otherwise they will just be disposed of. As a result, please do not put anything in the bags that you would be upset never to see again.

The Hemlock Overlook 50km will utilize the southern two-thirds of the BRR course. The start will mimic that of BRR. That means running a loop through the parking areas and back to the start, before exiting Hemlock through the front gate and then taking the red-blazed horse trail down to the blue-blazed Bull Run-Occoquan Trail. You will take a left on the BROT to head south (downstream), and follow it through the first aid station at Bull Run Marina, and then on to the trail’s terminus at Fountainhead, where you will find the other aid station.

From Fountainhead, you will run on a blue-blazed horse trail across the entrance road into Fountainhead and then out into the Do Loop section of the course. After completing this lollypop section (which will be the only section we plan to mark), you return on the BROT, first passing through the Fountainhead aid station a second time, then the Bull Run Marina aid station, and finally back up the red-blazed horse trail to the finish inside Hemlock.

For those looking for a sub-ultra trail running experience, you can run out-and-back routes. returning either from Bull Run Marina (for about a 10 miler) or from Fountainhead (about a 23 miler).

Parking can be tricky at Hemlock. We hope to use the close-in parking that is used for carpoolers at the Bull Run Run 50 miler, and that will be adjacent to the start and finish area. So just drive on in. But if that inside parking fills up, you will need to go back out and park in the regular BRR parking lot. That means a 5-10 minute walk, so you will have an advantage over the early birds, since this allows you to warm up! Take everything with you from your car that you will want after the run; you can leave a finisher’s bag under a shelter near the start/finish.

Important notes on the parking: Do not park in the pull off area adjacent to the entrance to Hemlock, as those spots are reserved for hikers and other users of the trail, and they must not be used by anyone participating in this race. The same holds true for the new, fenced-in gravel lot at the entrance to the field used for BRR parking. That area inside the fence is again for other users, and not for anyone in the race. Finally, do not even think about using the parking area for the winery directly across from the entrance to Hemlock! Our ability to get future permits to put on races using Hemlock very much depend on 100% cooperation in regards to these three off-limit parking areas, so thanks for your compliance. There should be plenty of space for parking between the close-in parking near the start of the race, and the more remote parking in the field.

If you are unable to run and would like to come out to participate as a volunteer, we would very much welcome your help! The two aid stations will need to be manned; the Do Loop will need to be marked and then swept; and some help at the finish would be appreciated. There will also be the need for some pre-race monitoring of the parking, which could be handled by runners as well as non-racing volunteers. Thanks in advance for stepping up to help your fellow runners!

Last updated September 9, 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.