Dancing on the rocks during the 2016 Reverse Ring.

Keith Knipling

The Ring

A clockwise tour of the 71-mile Massanutten Trail surrounding Fort Valley, VA.

Date
  • Sat Sep 4, 2021
Start location
Start time
  • 7:00 am
Distance
  • 71 miles
Total ascent/descent
  • 13,500 feet
Aid stations
  1. Milford Gap (13.3 miles)
  2. Camp Roosevelt (24.9 miles)
  3. Crisman Hollow Road (34.4 miles)
  4. Moreland Gap (40.7 miles)
  5. Edinburg Gap (48.7 miles)
  6. Woodstock Tower (56.9 miles)
  7. Powell's Fort Camp (62.4 miles)
GPX file
Print or download
Sunrise & sunset
  • Begin civil twilight 6:18 am
    Sunrise 6:45 am
    Sunset 7:38 pm
    End civil twilight 8:05 pm
What to wear
In charge
Reports
Course records
  • Paul Jacobs
    13:29:20 (in 2019)
    Kathleen Cusick
    17:22 (in 2016)

There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

Will Rogers

The Ring

Massanutten Trail blaze
“Stay on Orange” is the mantra of the The Ring runner.

The Ring is a circuit of the entire 71-mile orange-blazed Massanutten Trail in the George Washington National Forest, on the ridgelines of the eastern and western ranges of the Massanutten Mountains around the Fort Valley, situated roughly between the towns of Front Royal and Luray. The “trail” is hard, rocky, and slow. Sections of the trail have been around for centuries, but the entire, uninterrupted, 71-mile Massanutten Trail was not completed until 2002.

Even before the trail could be officially dedicated in the summer of 2002, Chris Scott convinced a reluctant Anstr Davidson that they had to be the first to run the entire Massanutten Trail. Having beaten others to the glory of christening the trail when they completed that initial circuit run in April of that year, Anstr and Chris were then kind enough to serve as the hosts for the first organized running of The Ring in the fall of 2002 (for others foolish enough not to heed their warnings that a sane person would not really want to do this run). Over the next four years the Lords of The Ring continued to induct new members into the Fellowship of the Ring. After a one-year sabbatical in 2006, The Ring returned in search of more victims, but under two new Ring Leaders. Chris and Anstr passed the burden on to Mike Bur and Quatro Hubbard, who have remained in charge since.

The Ring is a typical fat ass run in that there are no entry fees, no significant awards, and no t-shirts.The support from this race comes from the generous sponsorship of the VHTRC. Entrants in other Fat Ass events are generally admonished that there will be no wimps and no whiners. In this instance, just choosing to start The Ring proves you are not a wimp, and everyone whines at the end. We would be disappointed if it appeared as though the runners were actually having fun. So when it gets to be your turn to whine about how badly Signal Knob sucks, try to be at least a little bit creative.

The course

Aid StationSplitCumulativeCrew accessDropbagsCutoffMap
Milford Gap13.3 mi13.3 mi
Camp Roosevelt11.6 mi24.9 mi
Crisman Hollow Road9.5 mi34.4 mi
Moreland Gap6.3 mi40.7 mi9:30 pm
Edinburg Gap8.0 mi48.7 mi1:30 am
Woodstock Tower8.2 mi56.9 mi6:00 am
Powell’s Fort Camp5.5 mi62.4 mi

There will be some aid at the Milford Gap crossing of the trail (mile 13.3). This will be mostly a water pit stop for the runners. The biggest mistake runners appear to make is getting behind in their fluids early, so take full advantage of this water stop in the middle of the opening 25-mile stretch of The Ring. The first full aid station, where you will encounter your roving runner bag, will be at Camp Roosevelt at mile 25, so plan accordingly. The other official checkpoints are listed below, and if all goes according to plan, your runner bag will be waiting for you at each of them (through Woodstock). We will not shuttle your bag to the last aid station at Powells Fort Camp, but instead will return it to the finish at Signal Knob after the aid station at Woodstock closes. Plan accordingly!

There are three hard cut-offs at The Ring. The first is at Moreland Gap (mile 40.7), which you need to leave before 9:30 pm to continue the run with our support. The second is at Edinburg (48.7), where you need to be out by 1:30 am. The final enforced cut-off is at Woodstock (56.9, and last runner bag station), at 6:00 am. We hope that these cut-offs will put you on pace to get through Powells Fort Camp before 8:00 am and then on to the finish before noon on Sunday (29 hour pace). These cut-offs are put in place for the benefit of the race volunteers, and they will be strictly enforced.

Drop bags

Each runner will be allowed a single, sturdy, well-marked runner bag, which will be collected prior to the start in the parking lot. By “well-marked” we mean PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. ON THE OUTSIDE. On something that will be be visible to volunteers in the aid station. Using a method of marking that will stay attached to your bag. This means YOU! Sigh - don’t be that person this year!

We will shuttle that single bag around the course for you. You will not see it at Milford Gap (the first aid) nor at Powells Fort Camp (the last aid station). But you should see it at every aid station in between. Please try to keep the size of your runner bag within reason. Make sure that it will also reliably and easily seal so that the contents remain in your bag during transport. And did we mention that it should have your name clearly marked on it?

PATC Maps

Unless you know the course well, we recommend that you obtain Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) map G. These are topographic maps that cover the trails in the Massanutten Mountains north of US 211) and are printed on water-resistant, tear-resistance synthetic stock in six colors.

You can order on the PATC Web site.

Map G is also available at REI.

Other resources

Entry

Registration for the 2019 running of The Ring opened on July 22, and closed on the evening of July 29 (Monday to Monday). The lottery was not needed; all final entrants were entered into the field.

Entry will again be strictly limited to only those who meet the qualifications detailed below. Seriously. We check. So please don’t try to enter if you don’t meet these simple qualifications.

In order to enter The Ring, you will need to demonstrate that you are “qualified” to run in this event. A runner who is already a member of The Fellowship obviously meets this requirement. Otherwise, we are just looking for runners to fall into one of the following two simple categories in order to gain entry into The Ring:

  • Completion of a trail 50 miler AND recent experience on the Massanutten trails (e.g. “Massanutten Training Academy” MMT 100 training runs).
    or
  • Completion of any 100-mile race.

Backcountry experience and the ability to read a map would be helpful since there will be no ribbons or glow sticks to follow, just the “native” trail markings (i.e. those orange-painted blazes on the trees). Carrying a course description and the PATC Map G is highly advisable (see link below).

The Lottery

2016 was the first time we conducted a lottery for this event. Frankly, we never thought it would come to this point for an event of this nature. But entry to not only The Ring but other club “Fat Ass” events has become more and more competitive, in that those runners who happen to have access to a computer and the awareness that entry to an event has opened are getting in, while others end up shut out. This lottery was created to make the ability to get into this event that much more equitable and fair, and much less stressful for all concerned.

The initial lottery was entirely based on the random numbers issued to the runners at the time of entry, and the DOW. The lottery was not utilized in 2016 as the number of entrants was close enough to our goal of 55. So we let all 61 entrants in. New entrants after that point were placed on a wait list. All told we had over 80 entrants for the 2016 event, and 53 toed the line on race morning.

There was a lottery for entry into The Ring in 2017. The lottery into that race opened on Monday July 24, 2017, and closed on Monday evening July 31. The lottery was run based on the Dow Jones close on Tuesday August 1, and the field of 55 was set that evening. A wait list was built from those 28 additional runners not initially selected for entry. We ultimately moved 70 runners into the final entrants list, due to the number of volunteers who had committed to help, the number of runners left on the wait list, and the uncertain weather forecast (which we thought might lead to a number of last minute drops). 61 runners started.

2018 - again, the lottery proved useful. Of the initial 95 runners, 55 were selected. With the number of volunteers committed again allowing for some growth, the field was expanded to 65 a week before the race. After much attrition from the entrants list and the still-oversized wait list, 65 made up the final field. 59 started on race morning.

For 2019, the lottery was not needed, as there were 83 official entrants, and historic attrition rates would indicate that the desired field of roughly 60-65 runners toeing the start line should be achieved by just letting them all in from the get-go.

If you decide that you will not be participating in The Ring, let Bur and Q know, so that we can remove your name from the entrants’ list. This helps with our final planning for race weekend.

Volunteer

Anyone interested in volunteering at The Ring should contact Q and Bur – we would love to have your help. We are specifically seeking volunteers to handle the following roles during the race:

  1. To head up each of the aid stations along the course
  2. At least one additional volunteer at each aid station for clipboard and other support
  3. At least three “roving aid” volunteers, who will leave each aid station one, two and three hours after the lead runner with drops bags.
  4. A night-time “rover” to help with shuttling not only late bags, but runners who have dropped at the later aid stations.

Volunteers - 2019

  • Mike Bur
  • Quatro Hubbard
  • Larry Tumblin - Milford Gap/Rover
  • Jose Cardenas - Milford Gap
  • Erik Price - Milford Gap
  • Denise Coll - Camp Roosevelt Captain
  • Bob Gaylord - Camp Roosevelt
  • Katherine Renken - Camp Roosevelt
  • BJ Shannon - Camp Roosevelt
  • Chelsea Butler Smith - Camp Roosevelt
  • Ashley Carr - Camp Roosevelt
  • Brian Carr - Camp Roosevelt
  • Mike Hart - Camp Roosevelt
  • Tom Buell - Camp Roosevelt
  • Christian Stanton - Crisman Hollow Road
  • Elaina Stanton - Crisman Hollow Road
  • Tammie Garstecki - Crisman Hollow Road Captain
  • Jeff Garstecki - Crisman Hollow Road
  • Gavin Watson - Crisman Hollow Road
  • Tom Simonds - Moreland Gap Captain
  • Bruce Tweedie - Moreland Gap
  • Charlene Howard - Moreland Gap
  • Larry Watson - Moreland Gap
  • Michael Gildea - Edinburg Gap
  • Melissa Gildea - Edinburg Gap Captain
  • Laurel Lundstrom - Edinburg Gap
  • Dani Sevel - Edinburg Gap
  • Steve Campbell - Edinburg Gap
  • John Fitz - Woodstock Tower
  • Alvin Lee - Woodstock Tower
  • Nate Best - Woodstock Tower Captain
  • Jeff Best - Woodstock Tower
  • Homer Komthirath - Woodstock Tower
  • Guy Towler - Powells Fort Camp
  • Katie Burke - Powells Fort Camp Captain
  • Dan Fogg - Powells Fort Camp
  • Mike Edwards - Powells Fort Camp
  • “White House” Tom McNulty - Signal Knob Finish Line (Night)
  • Babs McMullen - Signal Knob Finish Line (Night)
  • Joel McMullen - Signal Knob Finish Line (Night)
  • Sarah Curtis - Signal Knob Finish Line (Day)
  • Eric Watson - Signal Knob Finish Line (Sunday)
  • Rick Bennett - Signal Knob Finish Line (Sunday)/Rover (Saturday)
  • Kevin Bligan - Rover
  • Ryan Brown - Rover
  • Barry Hauptman - Rover
  • Josh Howe - Rover
  • John Hord - Rover (Night)
  • Peter Forlan

The Fellowship of The Ring

The Fellowship of The Ring — those who have previously completed The Ring — currently consists of 242 members. Previously, the best part of being a member of The Fellowship was that, unless you were the first finisher the year before, you were not eligible to run The Ring again. That original rule prohibiting recidivism has been eliminated. If you have run The Ring in previous years, you are now welcome to come back and infllict all of this punishment on yourself again.

The selective amnesia of most trail runners is an amazing thing to behold. Virtually every finisher touches on these three themes before they drift off to sleep after completing their 71-mile run: the aid stations and volunteers were great; the finishing descent down Signal Knob sucks; and thank goodness that this is done, so that I never have to do it again. Yet somehow many do return to beat themselves up on the rocky Massanutten Trail yet again.

Now the best part of being in The Fellowship is that only its members are eligible to run the Reverse Ring in late February. So plan ahead for 2020! Get this prerequisite course completed in 2019 so that you will be eligible to come back and play on the same beautiful trail in the middle of the winter, which is when it really shines.

The Lords of the Ring

  • Anstr Davidson
  • Chris Scott

The Class of 2002 (6)

  • Harry Bruell
  • Scott Mills
  • David Horton
  • Bethany (Hunter) Patterson
  • John Dodds
  • Gary Knipling

The Class of 2003 (9)

  • Ryan Henry
  • Randy Dietz
  • Jaret Seiberg
  • Steve Pero
  • Deb Pero
  • Mike Dobies
  • Alex Papadopoulos
  • Bill Turrentine
  • Ed Demoney

The Class of 2004 (15)

  • Sue Johnston
  • Scott Brockmeier
  • Mike Bur
  • Scott Crabb
  • Bill Wandel
  • Quatro Hubbard
  • Sophie Speidel
  • Margie Hughes
  • Anita Finkle
  • Barb Isom
  • Vicki Kendall
  • Dru Sexton
  • Graham Zollman
  • Bob Phillips
  • Carolyn Gernand

The Class of 2005 (12)

  • Jeff Wilbur
  • Steve Burton
  • Mike Broderick
  • Greg Loomis
  • Tom Corris
  • Kerry Owens
  • Ed Cappuccino
  • Bill Gentry
  • Bill Losey
  • John DeWalt
  • Bob Combs
  • Jeff Washburn

[No event in 2006]

The Class of 2007 (10)

  • Mike Schuster
  • Joe Clapper
  • Jim Harris
  • Diana Widdowson
  • Debbie Shaffer
  • David Snipes
  • John Straub
  • Teresa Sukiennicki
  • John Prohira
  • Gerard Pritulski

The Class of 2008 (9)

  • Keith Knipling
  • Jon Norris
  • Dave Garman
  • Bryan Banning
  • Frank Probst
  • Bob Anderson
  • Jen Jacobs
  • Alan Roche
  • Mark Mckennett

The Class of 2009 (12)

  • Sean Andrish
  • Dan Rose
  • Justin Faul
  • Mason Parker
  • Ryan Fulwider
  • Karsten Brown
  • Zsuzsanna Carlson
  • Paul Crickard
  • Marti Kovener
  • Gary Lukacs
  • Robert Andrulis
  • Caroline Williams

The Class of 2010 (13)

  • Jack Kurisky
  • Dave Yeakel
  • Ernesto Casarez
  • Elise Harrington
  • Rhonda Stricklett
  • Alan Gowen
  • John Godinet
  • Scott Millar
  • Gary Maier
  • Rick Moyer
  • Jill (Devereaux) Jacobs
  • Carolyn Wilson
  • Kim Love-Ottobre

The Class of 2011 (8)

  • Rande Brown
  • Cam Baker
  • Kari Brown
  • Jeff Best
  • Yukiko Nishide
  • Hiroyuki Nishide
  • Brian Beduhn
  • Jeff Gura

The Class of 2012 (11)

  • Danny Mowers
  • Kent Gallup
  • Matt Smythe
  • Ken Wolters
  • Gray Weaver
  • Ed Rangel
  • Charlie Joyce
  • Stephen Cooper
  • Larry Huffman
  • David Quivey
  • Doug Sullivan

The Class of 2013 (15)

  • Brad Hinton
  • Jack Anderson
  • John Cassilly
  • Joe Schramka
  • Kathleen Cusick
  • Jay Finkle
  • Paul Lefelhocz
  • Ron Eshleman
  • Michael Gildea
  • Tony Escobar
  • Mitchell Potter
  • Diane Behm
  • Shelly Cable
  • Todd Hanks
  • KC Guevara

The Class of 2014 (14)

  • Chris McIntosh
  • Grace (Evan) Fisher
  • Robin Watkins
  • Gavin Watson
  • Mike Sutherland
  • Heath Harris
  • Dave Herring
  • Irawan Balcet
  • Steve Boutilier
  • Gaynor Bourgeois
  • Tom Hendell
  • Leonard Martin
  • Rachel DuBois
  • Katie Raezer

The Class of 2015 (21)

  • Joey Cohen
  • Angela Russell
  • Erik Price
  • Andrew Simpson
  • Chris Pabian
  • Aaron Ellison
  • Eric McGlinchey
  • Scott Lee
  • Daniel Winkle
  • Bruce Tweedie
  • Greg Trapp
  • Stephanie Dempsey
  • Betsy Nickle
  • Carol Cohen
  • Todd Lewis
  • Gilbert Gray
  • Katie Keier
  • Jen Page
  • Bob Gaylord
  • Andrew Thomas
  • Sarah Curtis

The Class of 2016 (24)

  • Jake Rankinen
  • Jeff Garstecki
  • Eric Harris
  • Levi Mason
  • Patrick Vaughn
  • Danny Rogers
  • Rick Bennett
  • Larry Watson II
  • Michal Kawecki
  • Lara Zoeller
  • Casey Fisher
  • Adeline Ntam
  • Philip Yeager
  • Dave Woll
  • Alvin Lee
  • John Fitz
  • Rob Kolb
  • Dan Aghdam
  • Marty Fox
  • Guy Towler
  • Don Riley
  • Ed Walsh
  • Jayme Dubinsky
  • Chris Miller

The Class of 2017 (32!)

  • Adam Watkins
  • Christopher Moore
  • George Sefzik
  • Paul Jacobs
  • Sheila Vibert
  • Jesee Fuller
  • Todd Ellick
  • Ronald Green
  • Brett Martin
  • Doug Massengale
  • Adam Katkhouda
  • Andy Peterson
  • Josh Wadlington
  • Josh Jones
  • Rob Tidwell
  • Justin Peake
  • Andrew Burnette
  • Dan Hawk
  • Jeff Pence
  • Samantha (Pitts-Kiefer) Neakrase
  • Ashley Carr
  • Brian Carr
  • Brian Chiles
  • Kathy Hoegler
  • Larry Tumblin
  • Hillary Peabody
  • Richard Sisson
  • Kelly Fletcher
  • Judith Weber
  • Ken Furman
  • Joyce Fendley
  • Jamie Greenawalt

The Class of 2018 (29)

  • Dan Fogg
  • John Marciari
  • Matt Christovich
  • Michael McDonnell
  • Jose Cardenas
  • Daisy Weill
  • Ryan Brown
  • Josh Howe
  • Charlene Howard
  • Jim Lopez
  • Barry Hauptman
  • Paul Valenzuela
  • Dawn Gray
  • Steve Andrews
  • Jimm Ouellette
  • Homer Komthirath
  • Jesse Parker
  • Derek Fox
  • James Miller
  • Stephanie Fonda
  • Mandy Pierce
  • Dani Seiss
  • Kurt Byrnes
  • Jason Maruccio
  • Jeffrey Klemm
  • Elsa Araujo
  • Jon Jester
  • Amanda Lichy
  • Lisa Johnston

The Class of 2019 (18)

  • Jeremy Lucier
  • Christie Taylor
  • Heather Dougherty
  • Ryan Nebel
  • Matt Banning
  • Carl Bligan
  • Michael Zinn
  • Raymond Rogers
  • William Fallier
  • Jason Farr
  • Luc Claessens
  • Daniel Gracias
  • David Peppelman
  • Kevin Walker
  • Travis Bertram
  • Lou Brooks
  • Derek Kennedy
  • Sirisha Golla

Last updated July 27, 2020

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.