The Bull Run Occoquan Trail meanders through a sea of bluebells.

Mark VanDyke


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 has been postponed, with a date still TBD in the fall of 2021. Check back for more details once the date is finalized and details can be updated.

The 2021 Bull Run Run will start at 6:30 AM, Saturday, April 10, 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 hard and soft cutoffs. We do not offer early starts. Persons missing a hard cutoff must withdraw from the run. 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.

As the race will be held prior to end of the pandemic, the likelihood is very high that we will need to institute wave starts. More information will be made available through this website and direct communication with the runners prior to race week, and will of course be largely dependent on guidance and requirements from state and local authorities.


Bridge across Bull Run. The course goes under its present day version.

Yes, we have them. We try to have reasonable rules and only what we need. 2021 will see the need for additional rules due to the ongoing pandemic, most of which should be familiar to those of you have participated in races over the past year. 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. 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, and to have a post-run barbeque.


Blackburn’s Ford — Today, the first aid station.

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


Please check this Web site first including the FAQs, then if you still have questions please contact the RDs.

Last updated January 31, 2021