The Bull Run Run is a 50 mile run hosted by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, traditionally in early April of each year. The race is held on trails that parallel the Bull Run and the Occoquan River along the Fairfax and Prince William county line in Northern Virginia. The course traverses forested, rolling terrain. Less than 1% of the course is on asphalt. The remainder is generally single-track dirt. There are a handful of small stream crossings, particularly in the first out-and-back section of the race course. Most of the trails drain well, but historically this early spring race has at least some muddy sections, and much more so in wet weather. While certain very short sections are rocky, and the trail can offer a few roots and other challenges, the trail is, on the whole, not technical in nature.
The event is held in the height of Virginia’s spring beauty. While we have had both warm and cold weather, brutally hot, humid weather on race day is unlikely. Most years the weather is pleasant, but some years the race has been held on one of the first truly warm days of the year; in other years it has been chilly, with snow a remote possibility.
The 2021 Bull Run Run was postponed from its usual April race date. The date for this year’s race is October 2nd.
The 2021 Bull Run Run will start at 6:30 AM, Saturday, October 2nd, at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, located near the picturesque village of Clifton in Fairfax County, Virginia. The race has a 13-hour limit with intermediate soft and then hard cutoffs. We do not offer early starts. Runners who come in to an aid station after a soft cut off should know that, historically, their chances of finishing the race under 13 hours are low, but they will be allowed to continue the race if they wish to do so. Persons missing a hard cutoff must withdraw from the run.
We anticipate holding the 2021 race with the full 250 runner field and without the need for wave starts, but circumstances may change due to the pandemic as we get closer to race day. More information will be made available through this website and direct communication with the runners prior to race week, if new Covid protocols need to be put into place. Any changes will be made based on updated CDC guidance and requirements from state and local authorities that may emerge in the fall.
Note that this October date for the 2021 race is a one-off due to the pandemic. We anticipate returning to our traditional second weekend in April race date for next year’s race, so pencil in April 9, 2022 on your race calendar! You will want to come back when the bluebells are again in bloom along some of the more scenic sections of the course.
One other difference between our traditional April race date and this year’s October date is that we will have about 75 minutes less daylight. The sun rises at 7:05 and sets at 6:50 in northern Virginia on October 2. So lights will be needed for the start, and runners who may finish in over 12 hours should plan to have a light for those final miles, as well.
Yes, we have them. We try to have reasonable rules and only what we need. We ask that you review the rules and comply with them. We are hang-loose and fun-loving, but we have our anal streak, too. Please humor us and review the Rules - Warnings - Frequently Asked Questions.
Hospitality — Entry Premium and Food
The Bull Run Run is noted for good entry items and finishers awards, and this year’s race will be no exception. All entrants in the 2021 race will receive a wearable entry item and finisher’s award.
In 2021 we will not be holding a pre-race dinner at Hemlock. We are planning to have light fare available pre-race on Saturday morning, and to have our now traditional and highly-anticipated post-run barbeque.
In years’ past we have offered accommodations in the cabins at the host site, Hemlock Regional Overlook Park. This year those cabins will not be opened to the runners. Camping in open areas behind the building complex at Hemlock will be allowed for those who wish to pitch a tent on Friday night. There is no camping permitted after the race.
Sorry, no RV-type vehicles permitted at Hemlock Overlook. Please do not drive your RV to the event at all. We don’t have room for it.
All finishers will receive a quality premium. Any twenty, fifteen, ten, and five-time finishers will receive special recognition. There will be awards for male and female winners of each age division (open, masters, seniors, and super-seniors). We will not have formal awards ceremonies this year, but instead will endeavor to present awards once winners are identified. We don’t mail awards.
The highly popular team competition will once again be held in 2021. We will also have awards for teams in several categories. Team information
We will be discontinuing the competition between the North and South “armies” starting with this year’s race. We feel it is no longer appropriate to ask runners to choose between running on behalf of the Confederacy or the Union. The race will continue to commemorate the battles that made the Bull Run famous by retaining the Civil War logo and theme.
Last updated May 24, 2021