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Finish line in 2022

Keith Knipling

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting the 2009 Women’s Half Marathon
Starting the 2009 Women’s Half Marathon.
How many runners are there?
The race is limited to 200 women.
Are there time limits?
Runners must cross the finish line in 4 hours and 30 minutes for their official time to be recorded. To ensure that all runners finish within this timeframe, there is an intermediate cutoff time at the Fountainhead Aid Station (about 8 miles cumulative). If you arrive at Fountainhead more than two hours and 15 minutes into the race, you may not continue as an official entrant.
What’s the bathroom situation?
We’ll have a few Port-O-Potties at the start/finish line, and the park has a small, three-stall bathroom near the start/finish. There are no bathrooms on the course. Showers are not available at Fountainhead Regional Park.
Since there’s no bag-check, where can I leave my post-run stuff?
Your car — the finish line is just steps from the parking lot.
Can my friends and family come cheer for me?
Certainly! The Fountainhead Aid Station (located near the park parking lot) is where your fans can catch you as you blaze down the trail.
Kirstin Corris finishing the 2011 Women’s Half Marathon
Kirstin Corris finishing the 2011 Women’s Half Marathon.
How can I become a member of the VHTRC?
We’d love to have you. You can sign up here.
How should I train?
Just as you would for any long-distance road race, by gradually building up miles during regular long training runs. And we highly recommend running on some trails before the race. The VHTRC is hosting two official practice runs on the course. Learn more on our Training Runs page.
What should I wear?
Totally up to you, though we suggest you plan for the weather and don’t try to race in anything you haven’t run in before. Trail shoes are nice but not necessary for this race.
Should I carry water/food with me during the race?
That’s up to you. If you want to carry food or drink, please do. If you don’t, we’ll take good care of you: The race has three aid stations you’ll pass through a total of five times (see the Course page for more details). Each aid station will have water, sports drink, soda, salty snacks and sweet snacks. Please note: We will not provide sports gels or blocks.
Can I run with my dog?
Sorry, pup has to stay home. There’s not enough room on the trail for 240 runners and their pets.
Can I wear headphones?
This event complies with the VHTRC policy on personal listening devices, and we strongly discourage the use of headphones during this race. This is for your own safety and the courtesy of all your fellow runners.
Energy drink, soda, light snacks — a typical aid station at the Women’s Half Marathon
Energy drink, soda, light snacks — a typical aid station at the Women’s Half Marathon.
What can I expect at the aid stations?
The race has three stations you’ll pass through a total of five times. An aid station is basically a folding table set up in the middle of the woods, manned by our incredible VHTRC volunteers. Each aid station will have water, sports drink, soda, salty snacks and sweet snacks. Please note: We will not provide sports gels or blocks.
How can I /my significant other /my friend /my kid volunteer?
Thank you for asking! Check out our Volunteer page.
Are there prizes?
Awards will be given to the top three finishers and the first VHTRC member to finish. Additional award categories include: under 20, over 60, and five-year age groups in between. The top three mother/daughter teams will also receive awards. Finishers must be present to receive their awards.
Team Cawthorn — Deb and her daughter Leah — finish the 2019 WHM with Furbutt the bear.
What’s the mother/daughter team competition?
We are recognizing mother/daughter runners again this year with a special “team” competition. This is a chance to convince your mother or your daughter to run the race. Combined times will be used to calculate the winners. For example, if one member of the team finishes in 2:30 and the other in 3:30, the two times will be added together for a combined time of 6 hours. The team with the lowest combined time will receive first place. You can run the course together or separately. Each mother/daughter team member must indicate the other member of her team on her race application. You can’t form a team on race day. Form a team here.
What will I get at the finish line?
Mostly, the satisfaction of a run well done. And FOOD!
What if it rains?
Trail runners don’t shy away from nature. The race goes on.
If I can’t make it, do I get a refund?
Short answer: Probably not. It depends on whether there’s anyone on the official wait list. See our Entry page for all the details.
Are there age requirements?
You must be at least 18 years old on race day to enter. There is one exception: If you will be at least 16 years old on the day of the race, you may enter if you are on a mother-daughter team.
Can I sign up on race day?
Sorry, no. That messes with our race-logistics juju.
Aaron Schwartzbard, VHTRC photographer extraordinaire
Aaron Schwartzbard, VHTRC photographer extraordinaire.
What’s the course record?
1:33:33, set by Martha Nelson in 2013.
Where can I see race results?
Our Results page has prior results, race reports, and links to photos.
Are there any boring legal things I need to know?
Hey, it’s D.C. — of course there are. Here goes: This is an event with risks. You are responsible for your own safety. The VHTRC does not provide any medical care during the run. No doctors, nurses, or emergency medical technicians are available along the course, at any aid station, or at the finish. In case of an emergency, we will endeavor to get local emergency personnel to an injured runner as soon as possible. Each year, runners finish — or drop out — with scrapes or sprains. Runners have experienced cuts, bruises, bee stings, and asthma attacks. Please be careful! Be prepared! And most of all, be safe! You will be required to sign a liability release form.
How long has this been going on?
The VHTRC first hosted this race in 1993 to encourage more women to run trails. A list of the prior race directors is on the Results page.
Will there be mile markers?
No, but we’ll post the mileages at each aid station.
Finishing the Women’s Half Marathon
Finishing the Women’s Half Marathon.
Are there animals on the course?
You might encounter birds, squirrels, snakes, or even deer. Encounters with bees, wasps, or yellow jackets are also possible. Just stay alert and tread lightly through these creatures’ home.
What if I need to quit during the race?
You must drop out at an aid station, and you must tell the aid station captain that you’ve chosen to stop racing.
Where and when is packet pick-up?
We like to keep this low-key! You can pick up your race bib and participants shirt on race day at check-in.
Yes, the Do Loop is marked (in places)
Yes, the Do Loop is marked (in places).
How did the Do Loop get its name?

Back when the VHTRC first started using these trails in the early ’90s, the Do Loop trail was primitive and not well marked, so many runners would get lost, miss the loop’s exit, and have to run the loop again. (One guy did the loop three times before he got out!) A computer nerd gave the loop its name.

The Do Loop has been a longtime part of the VHTRC’s Bull Run Run 50 Miler, whose runners have loved and hated it. As you’re running in the loop, watch for relics of 1950’s America: abandoned washing machines, a Ford Fairlane, and — the highlight of any trip to the Do Loop — the Nash Rambler.

More recently, the Do Loop has been better marked. You’ll see blazes on the trees and a more distinct trail. But you’ll still be tackling some super-steep hills. Good luck!

Last updated August 6, 2021