Quatro Hubbard

The Renegade Redeye

The 2019 running of the VHTRC’s Redeye 50k was a particularly noteworthy casualty of the Federal government shutdown. RD Dave Woll was forced to cancel the race late in the last week in December, after word was received that the permit had been pulled by the Park Service, which oversees the race’s host site, Prince William Forest Park.

But unlike the circumstances surrounding some previous government shutdowns, the park was not closed to the public, and the trails remained open. Other than the restroom facilities being locked, and the lack of staff to collect entrance fees, there was no change to the basic visitor experience at the park.

With this knowledge at hand, Lydia Durand decided to keep at least a version of the Redeye alive. Lydia used The Facebooks to share the word that at least a few runners would be meeting up at the usual Pine Grove location for the Redeye to run a loop or three of the traditional course. And thus was born the Renegade Redeye!

Run organizer Lydia Durand, sandwiched here by Sheila Vibert, Homer Komthirath and Blair Petrilli
Run organizer Lydia Durand, sandwiched here by Sheila Vibert, Homer Komthirath and Blair Petrilli.

As the race was officially canceled, the course was not marked, and no one “kept score” so no results were collected or tabulated. But the usual trailhead picnic tables were covered wtih donated holiday and trail aid. And those “few” runners were joined by somewhere north of another 40 other trail runners on New Year’s morning.

The bulk of the Renegade Redeye runners shoved off after squeezing into a Katie Keier selfie a little after 9 AM, but other smaller groups and individual runners started their own versions of Renegadism as early as the standard 8 AM start time, or as late as close to noon.

The trail running gods clearly were smiling on this non-event, as a warm front passed through pre-dawn, and most of the run was held in shirt sleeve weather in the 50s. The Rains of 2018 - a record setting wet year for the D.C. area - still got their last word in, as a fair amount of the Redeye Loop was muddy or even boggy.

To be fair to them, at least three runners went out of their way to not only complete three loops, but to tack on the “silly loop” portion of the Redeye Course in order to log the full 50k. So congratulations to 2019 Renegade Redeye finishers Bruce Tweedie, Larry Huffman and Marty Fox!

Thanks to Lydia, and to the other runners who joined her call for The Few to come out and run, for keeping the Redeye tradition alive for another year despite the ineptitude of our federal government. With any luck, the government will be back in business sometime in 2019, and the VHTRC and RD Dave will once again be able to host the Redeye race to start off the New Year, 2020!