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2018 Chessie Trail Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5K

Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chessie Trail @ McKethan Park McKethan Park LexingtonVA  24450
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chessie Trail @ McKethan Park McKethan Park LexingtonVA  24450

About This Activity

Run The Chessie!

Run the trail with the best new marathon in the United States! The seven-mile Chessie Trail, situated at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley, parallels the scenic Maury River and connects historic Lexington, Virginia, with the boom-town community of Buena Vista. The smooth gravel and grass trail runs along the former Chesapeake and Ohio rail line and parts of the earlier James and Kanawha Canal towpath. You’ll run through an ever-changing landscape along the wild Maury River, through farmland and leafy canopies at their peak of fall color, past ruins of massive stone locks and dams. View wildlife from fish and ducks to rabbits, wild turkeys, and even bald eagles (if you are lucky), feel the cool moist air as you pass small caves, and enjoy the serenity of a breeze rustling through a bamboo forest.

For the first time, this year we are including a full marathon! Runners will get to see the whole trail twice. You will be amazed at how the landscape changes as the sun comes over the cliffs transforming the narrow valley and the sparkling river at its bottom. Spectators will agree that this is the best marathon course ever as they cheer on their loved ones five times without ever having to leave the park-like setting of the start/finish area. And while we certainly hope this doesn’t happen, if you have to change your marathon run to a half marathon or ¾ marathon, you won’t have to worry about hitchhiking back to your car. Ideal for the first-time marathoner!

Half marathon runners will see nearly all of the trail as they head east towards Buena Vista, loop back to the starting line on the way to Lexington, and then loop back down to the finish line. 

5 K runners will head towards Lexington, running along remote sections of the Maury River through forests and fields, and at the base of towering limestone cliffs. When the river bends into a double horseshoe, they will loop back for a slightly downhill finish.

Walkers are welcome in both the half marathon and 5K.

Full Marathon registration includes a custom embroidered race hat, complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students & minors), long sleeve tech t-shirt, custom medals for all finishers, awards to top overall finishers and age group winners, and post-race pizza, snacks, and beverage. 

Half marathon registration includes a complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students & minors), long sleeve tech t-shirt, custom medals for all finishers, awards to top overall finishers and age group winners, and post-race pizza, snacks, and beverage. 

5K runners will receive a tech t-shirt, medals to top overall finishers and age group winners, and snacks and beverage following the race.

Plenty of free parking near the start and plenty of other activities to make a weekend of it in the most beautiful part of Virginia! Registration for each race is limited to the first 300, so register now to ensure your spot.

Event details and schedule

Registration: Registrations and payment will only be accepted online at Active.com. Student registrations do not include beer. Students will be required to show proof of current enrollment at packet pick up. Registration will be cut off on October 26, 7 p.m. ET and there will be no race day registration. We cannot guarantee t-shirt availability for late registrants. We are sorry that we cannot make refunds or transfers for any reason. Runners may defer their registration to a future race, up to 30 days before the race (email race director). After 30 days before the race we can not make any deferals.

 Full Marathon Registration:

Student (student ID required) $35

Super Early Discount 1/1/18 – 3/29/18 $55

Early 3/30/18 – 6/28/18 $60

On-Time 6/29/18 – 9/27/18 $65

Late 9/28/18 – 10/26/18 $80

 

Half Marathon Registration:

Student (student ID required) $25

Super Early Discount 1/1/18 – 3/29/18 $45

Early 3/30/18 – 6/28/18 $50

On-Time 6/29/18 – 9/27/18 $55

Late 9/28/18 – 10/26/18 $65

 

5K Registrations:

Student (student ID required) $20

Super Early Discount 1/1/18 – 3/29/18 $25

Early 3/30/18 – 6/28/18 $28

On-Time 6/29/18 – 9/27/18 $30

Late 9/28/18 – 10/26/18 $35

 

Amenities:

Full Marathon:

  • Custom embroidered race hat.

  • Custom long-sleeve tech race t-shirt.

  • Complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students and minors).

  • Free parking near start/finish line.

  • Chip timing.

  • Custom medals for all finishers.

  • Drop bag table at start for personal belongings.

  • Aid/drink stations thoughout the course.

  • Awards to top overall finishers and winners of 12 age groups.

  • Post race party with pizza, snacks, and beverage.

  • Results posted online.

 

Half Marathon:

  • Custom long-sleeve tech race t-shirt.

  • Complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students and minors).

  • Free parking near start/finish line.

  • Chip timing.

  • Custom medals for all finishers.

  • Drop bag table at start for personal belongings.

  • Aid/drink stations thoughout the course.

  • Awards to top overall finishers and winners of 12 age groups.

  • Post race party with pizza, snacks, and beverage.

  • Results posted online.

5K:

  • Custom tech race t-shirt.

  • Free parking near start/finish line.

  • Chip timing.

  • Drop bag table at start for personal belongings.

  • Aid/drink stations thoughout the course.

  • Awards to top overall finishers and winners of 12 age groups.

  • Post race party with snacks, and beverage.

  • Results posted online.

 

Awards & Age Groups: Custom medals will be given to all finishers of the marathon and half marathon. Top overall finishers for males and females in each race will also receive medals, as will the winners of each age group. Age groups male and female: 12 and under, 13-18, 19-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70 and over.

 

Packet Pick-Up: All registrants may pick up their packets, Friday, 10/26/18 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m at Walkabout Outfitters, 21 S. Main St., Lexington, VA 24450. You may pick up someone else’s packet, with their permission, and a copy of their ID. Packets may also be picked up prior to the race near the starting line, Saturday, 10/27/18, 6:30-7:00 a.m. Participants will be required to show ID to receive their packet and students must have current student ID.

 

Course Description & Map: The trail follows a very gentle grade throughout (except for a short distance at the South River detour). The surface is smooth gravel and grass, usually about 10 feet wide. Overhanging trees may drop branches and nuts, adjoining cliffs may drop rocks, there are still a couple of sections where livestock may be dropping things, there are a couple of small springs which may be seeping, and very rarely there may be a small root in the trail. So you will want to keep your eyes on the trail at all times, and watch where you step for many reasons.

 

Full Marathon Course: Start time 8 a.m. The course starts and ends at the midpoint of the Chessie Trail. It consists of an out and back loop east towards Buena Vista, and then an out and back loop west towards Lexington. The full route will be completed twice.

 

Half Marathon Course: Start time 8 a.m. The course starts and ends at the midpoint of the Chessie Trail. It consists of an out and back loop east towards Buena Vista, and then an out and back loop west towards Lexington.

 

The race will start and finish on the Chessie Trail at the McKethan Park/I-81 overpass. From McKethan Park the course will go approximately 3.92 miles towards Buena Vista. There is one detour due to a washed-out bridge over the South River where the trail shifts over to Stuartsburg Road for 1/3 of a mile. [Please stay on the west (trail) side of the paved road, both out and back. This is the only section of the course where you will encounter a very short, very steep hill at Old Sheppard Road.]. Just before the Buena Vista trailhead, the course will turn around and retrace the trail 6.55 miles towards Lexington. It will pass the starting line and continue until reaching the Veterans Memorial Bridge (Route 11) in Lexington. At the Veterans Bridge, the course will return 2.63 miles back to the finish line at McKethan Park.

 

5K Course: Start time 8:30 a.m. Race will start and finish on the Trail at McKethan Park/I-81 overpass. From McKethan Park the course will go towards Lexington, 2.5 K, then turn around near the middle of the two horseshoe bends, and proceed back to the finish line at McKethan Park.

 

Aid/drink stations will be set up at the start/finish, all turn-around points, and at Old Sheppard Road. Porta-potties will be set up at the start/finish, Old Sheppard Road, and Veterans Bridge.

  

Course Rules: No strollers or pets. Ear buds are permitted, but are discouraged for safety reasons. Stay to the right when encountering oncoming runners. Walkers are welcome in the 5K and half marathon races.

 

Spectators: Spectators may park at McKethan Park for free, and walk a short distance down to the trail and the start/finish line. There are very few access points to the trail and none with good parking. So the best choice for spectators is to remain at the start/finish line. The full and half marathon runners will come back by the start line 7.8 miles into the race. The start/finish area is beneath an I-81 overpass, so spectators may stay out of the sun/rain, if they so choose.

 

Results: Results will be posted at runroanoke.com

 

Refunds & Transfers: There will be no refunds or transfers for any reason.

 

Volunteer: Sign up to volunteer for race support! Volunteers will be expected to be available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. or from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For their efforts, volunteers will receive a custom “Race Crew” t-shirt, and join in the post race pizza party. Contact Laura Post at runthechessie@gmail.com for more information or to sign up.

 

Area Lodging: There are many hotels and B&Bs in the Lexington, Rockbridge, Buena Vista area. Usually there is plenty of capacity, but depending on events at the area colleges and the Virginia Horse Center, they can fill up. So don’t delay in making your reservations.

https://lexingtonvirginia.com/directory/lodging

 

Race-Day Info: Average race day temperatures are perfect for endurance running with a low of 36° and high of 61°. 

Parking at McKethan Park will open at 6:30 a.m. Look for signs from Old Buena Vista Road. Packet pick up will be available from 6:30 – 7:30 at the second pavilion across from the baseball field. If you do not pick up your packet on Friday night at Walkabout Outfitters, you will need to do so before heading down to the race start/finish. After this, then you can proceed down to the parking area and head down to the start/finish. There are bathroom facilities at the pavilion 2/packet pickup area. If you do collect your packet on Friday, there is no need to stop at the pavilion. A bag drop area for personal belongings will also be set up near the starting line and you must have your bib number to drop and pick up your bag. Porta-potties will also be available near the starting line. Snacks and beverages for the runners will be set up near the start/finish line.

 

The full and half marathons will start at 8:00 a.m., and the 5K will start at 8:30 a.m. Awards will be presented as results become available. All race support functions will cease operation at 3 p.m..

 

For best results your bib number should be worn on your front, at chest height.

 

Please do not try to access McKethan Park except on race day. The park is the property of VMI and is not open to the public without a permit.

 

Drop Bags: A drop bag area will be set up near the starting line. Runners must have their bib number present when checking bags in and out. Do not put valuables such as money or electronics in your drop bag. We will make every effort to see that your belongings are safely returned to you, but can not take responsibility for the loss or damage of any valuables.

 

 

Links:

friendsofthechessietrail.org

https://lexingtonvirginia.com

http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/lexington-va/24450/weather-forecast/336205

 

Contact: runthechessie@gmail.com, Laura Post – Race Director

 

 

FAQ’s:  

 

I used to be a student, can I register at the student rate? No. You will be required to provide proof of current enrollment at packet pick up.

 

Is there a time limit for the race? The trail remains open to the public until dusk, but all race support functions will cease at 3 PM, 7 hours after the start of the full marathon.

 

Is the course fast? The course is smooth and follows a very gentle grade. Some of the lesser-used parts are mostly covered with grass, which is mowed. The course half marathon record of 1:16:51 was set at the 2017 race. All of which is to say that a PR is definitely not out of the question.

 

Can I register the day of the race? No, there will be no race day registration. Online registration will remain open through 7 pm October 26, but if you wait until the last minute you may not receive a t-shirt, and your name may not make it into the timing system.

 

Can I mail my registration or pay at packet pick-up? No, registrations will be accepted only online through Active.com.

 

Can I receive a refund or transfer if something comes up and I can’t run? No. We are sorry that we will not be able to offer refunds or transfers for any reason. You should purchase insurance through Active if you want to be able to get a refund due to injury.

 

Will the race be cancelled if it rains? No. As long as there is not lightning the race will proceed as scheduled. In the event of severe and unsafe weather, the race may be postponed a short amount of time, or cancelled.

 

Organizer Info

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Map & Direction

Chessie Trail @ McKethan Park McKethan Park LexingtonVA  24450
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