Getting the drop bags to the proper aid stations is a big job. Fortunately, thanks to the great work over the years of Bill Sublett, we have a system that works well without excessive strain on our volunteers. Bill has moved into a well-earned retirement, and this role has now been taken on by the director of the VHTRC’s Massanutten Training Academy night training run, the Chocolate Bunny, Larry Tumblin. Help Larry, and the other volunteers working with the dropbags during the race, to help you by taking the time to read and comply with the guidance here.
- The runner’s items must be in a bag, i.e. a pliable container — no plastic or cardboard boxes or other rigid containers.
- The runner’s drop bag package must fit in our box. That means that it can be no longer than 16 inches, no wider than 10 inches, and no higher than 6 inches.
When are drop bags due?
Check the event schedule for the time by which you must give us your drop bags. We cannot take drop bags after that time.
What can go in drop bags?
Here are some considerations for what can go in your drop bag:
- Glass and Breakables
- We try to treat your drop bags with care, but we cannot treat them as fragile. Don’t put glass or other breakables in your drop bags.
- Even though your bag will go in a box with a lid and be transported in a covered truck, we cannot guarantee that it will not be in rain at some point. Wrap clothes and other items that you want to keep dry in waterproof food bags, or similar.
- Drop bags get lost. Don’t put anything in them that is irreplaceable. We assume no responsibility for your property.
- Hiking poles
- Hiking poles do not fit in the boxes we use to transport drop bags. Hiking poles, even collapsed, are not allowed in drop bags as a result. Also, anything that is as long as a collapsed hiking pole may not be put in a drop bag.
- Please only pack what you really will need. Excessive weight or bulk makes it harder for us. The aid stations are very well-stocked!
- Pack and mark your bags before you come to the event. Preparing your bags is not an insignificant task.
- Do not use gym bags, airline bags, luggage, backpacks, or bags made of leather or heavy rubber. These are too bulky and don’t pack well. The best bag to use is plastic — similar to what you would get in the shoe store or at most packet pick-ups. Plastic bags work fine. The only kind that seem to break are the very thin kitchen garbage bags. Please squeeze all air out of your bags so that they are as small as possible.
- Mark your bags. Put your bib number, name and the name of the aid station on each bag. Do not put the aid station number on your bag. Don’t put “AS #12.” Put “Visitors’ Center.”1
- Be sure that the markings on your bag are clear and indelible. A good system is to use duct tape and a marking pen such as a Sharpie. Writing directly on a plastic bag may smudge. We read the numbers and names on the bags to sort them at the aid station. The names are not just there in case the bag is lost. Make your bib number and your name legible and permanent, please!
- Put anything you want to remain dry in a second, sealed food bag. We will try to keep your bags dry, but we may not be successful. At some aid stations, dry space is scarce.
Getting Your Drop Bags Back
We will take your drop bags back to the finish line at the conclusion of the event. The schedule for taking the bags back is complicated and varies by aid station. If you finish near the end of the event, your bags should be waiting for you at the finish line. If you finish near the front of the pack, or if you drop out, some of your bags will not be at the finish line when you arrive, particularly those from the latter third of the course.
Please pick up your drop bags or make arrangements for someone to do it for you. They will be left for you in a tent adjacent to the entrance road into and out of the start/finish area at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp, and thus are directly on your way out at the end of the race. It is a major hassle for us each year to deal with drop bags that are left at the event. If you finish early or drop out and don’t want to wait at the finish line to collect your bags, please find someone to pick up your bags for you. Some early drops and finishers also make their way to later aid stations in person as they are leaving the event in order to collect their bags before they have been transported back to the finish. We will not mail drop bags after the event.
Aid station numbers create confusion on drop bags. If the runner with bib number 12 has gone through the Visitor Center aid station, any bag with a 12 on it is likely to be sent back to the start/finish even if its owner has not yet arrived at the aid station. ↩
Last updated June 2, 2023