Mario Raymond takes in the view from Reddish Knob at the 2013 Martha Moats Baker.

Mike Bur

Martha Moats Baker

A low-key run, created by Dennis Herr, exploring some of the other trails around the famous Wild Oak Trail in the Jefferson National Forest.

Date
  • Sat Aug 12, 2023
Start location
Start time
  • 7:00 am
Distance
  • 38.7 miles
Total ascent/descent
  • 8,000 feet
Aid stations
  1. Reddish Knob (13.4 miles)
  2. Wolf Ridge (22.7 miles)
  3. Grooms Ridge (30.2 miles)
Entry
  • Entry opens on Wednesday July 12, 2023 at 9:00 am. Entry will be limited to 50 runners.
GPX file
Print or download
In charge
Reports

MMB is the acronym for the Martha Moats Baker Memorial run. In 2022 the course was, by necessity, changed due to trail closures. Two new sections were added to the course, on either side of the new aid station #2 at the Wolf Ridge trailhead on Tilghman Road. As a result, the run will be held on a 60 km (roughly 38.7 mile) course, with a shorter 50 km “Party Route” option.

Course Description

Martha Moats Baker map

There will be markings to help at critical points along the length of the course, which the runners have indicated in past years allowed them to stay on course with little difficulty. Even with those markings, doing this run without a thorough understanding of the course and/or a waterproof copy of the turnsheet and the map is foolhardy. Even if you are “sure” that you will be running with someone who does know the course, and you have great faith that just following the occasional flour arrow on the ground is guidance enough, carry your turnsheet and refer to it at each station to prepare you for the next section.

Aid Station Split Cumulative Crew access Dropbags Map
Reddish Knob 13.4 mi 13.4 mi
Wolf Ridge 9.3 mi 22.7 mi
Grooms Ridge 7.5 mi 30.2 mi

Martha Moats Memorial

Martha Moats Baker memorial
Martha Moats Baker memorial, taken during the 2009 MMB.

The MMB Memorial site is about 2.5 miles north of Little Bald on the right side of the Bald Mountain Road between two oak trees. Once you pass the first gate, it’s at the northern end of the second large wildlife clearing area. Take a moment to seek her out and pay your respects. She will look after you for the rest of your run.

The inscription says:

Martha Moats Baker
Born 1880
Froze To Death Near This
Spot On Brushy Mt.
January 1925
Found Aug. 30, 1925

At the last aid station, runners will make the decision to do the Full Course and the climb up Grooms Ridge, or choose the Party Course and take the short, easy mile back to the finish. That decision is up to you and your running coach - until cut-off time arrives. We do not want runners completing the 60k in the dark. As a result, runners who do not get to the Grooms Ridge Aid Station, mile 30.2, before 4 pm will be compelled to take the Party Route. Download the GPX file for the 31.2 mile Party Course.

Aid

Aid at the event will be what has become the new normal for most VHTRC events. We will provide the liquids at the three aid stations (water, Gatorade, and sodas), and you will otherwise provide your own aid. As there are three aid stations, you can pack up to three ziplock bags with your name clearly marked on them, and we will transport them for you to access during the run. You can also mark them with the name of the aid station if you would like, but the key is to put the ziplock in the right bin at the pre-run check-in: Reddish Knob is Aid Station #1; Wolf Ridge is Aid Station #2; and if you plan to do the full 60k, then you can also have a ziplock at Grooms Ridge, Aid Station #3.

Note: These are small aid bags, with your special food, gels, powders and potions. These are NOT drop bags, so they should not include clothing items, shoes, or poles. We will get the bags back to the finish, but likely late in the run. So bear that in mind when it comes to what you pack in those marked ziplocks, and what you then leave behind after you access any one of your three ziplocks at the aid points.

2022 Runners at the Martha Moats Baker memorial
2022 Runners at the Martha Moats Baker memorial, 9.5 miles into the course.

Logistics

The start is at the same trailhead as the TWOT start/finish. If there is no room for your vehicle in the parking lot, park along the road near the lot, but with all four wheels off the pavement. You need to be careful in some places as there may be a stone culvert or ditch to be avoided. Another (and safer) parking overflow option: you can go back to the road junction about 200 yards from the parking lot, turn left and park along the side of the dirt road (Tilghman Road). Tilghman Road has a shoulder that can handle a couple dozen vehicles. Be careful parking on Tilghman, as runners have, in past years, ditched their vehicle while trying to pull off the roadway. Do not park at the Camp May Flather entrance, which you will pass on your way in.

While in the parking lot and on the trails, remember that we always want to leave our surroundings cleaner than we find them. Carry out not only any of your trash, but try to achieve some good trail running juju by picking up after other users. Leave No Trun!

Volunteers in 2022

RD Emeritus Dennis Herr
Quatro Hubbard
Guy Towler
Charlene Howard
Jesse Fuller

Please email Q to add your name to this esteemed list!

Entry

Entry to this event is limited to achieve a field of 40, due to Forest Service regulations and the logistics of parking in the start/finish area. The entry will open in mid-July, a month before the event date. Please review the posted details of this event before entering, and in particular, the location of this run. We have had a high rate of no-shows for the event in the past, and hope that all who enter know what they have signed up for, so that we can start as close to 40 runners as possible on the day of the event, if interest is that high.

Note to those who may be on an MMB wait list

This event has a history of huge pre-run attrition. Perhaps many of those who sign up don’t recognize where the event is held, and how hard it is, until the last minute? In 2018, over 25% of the entrants dropped in the last week. In 2017, over 40% of the entrants and wait listers ultimately dropped out of the field. So if you find yourself on the wait list, and you really do want to run this event, have faith, have patience, and plan to join us. The odds are outstanding that you will find yourself on the MMB entrants list once event week finally arrives.

Note to everyone

Again, since there historically has been decent demand to run MMB, make sure you have fully absorbed the wheres, the whens, the hows of this event before you commit to enter. The Wild Oak Trailhead parking lot is about 2:30 to 3 hours of drive time during non-rush from the DC Metro area; it is about 2 hours from the Richmond area, and about 1 hour from Charlottesville. This is a very remote, very difficult run in the heat of August. The average distance between aid stations is plus or minus 10 miles. If you get lost you will, quite literally, likely end up in West Virginia. This is not a recommended run for newbies to the trails and the ultra distance (though the 2022 run winner was running his first ultra trail event, so there was that).

Final word

So now that you have read this far, and hopefully have a good sense of the nature of this event. If you are still interested in joining us for MMB, then look for the entry link here in July!

RD Quatro Hubbard with precision timing at the finish of the 2016 MMB 50K
RD Quatro Hubbard with precision timing at the finish of the 2016 MMB 50K.

Last updated November 12, 2022

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.