Right or wrong, it’s the Fodderstack!

By John W. McCarthy
The Fodderstack 10K Race is at 9 a.m. Oh, and we’re moving the starting line.

Last year, for the first time, the Fodderstack 10K Race began at precisely 9 a.m.

The race started fine with no pile-up of over-eager type A runners, no children pushed aside by the overly aggressive, and no genial amateurs run over by pros obsessed with getting in the best time.

There were no rescue calls for exhausted runners, no ridiculous clock foul-ups and no misplaced spindles with times at the finish line. Awards were handed out as scheduled and cleanup went fine.

Frankly, those of us at the Rappahannock County Recreational Facilities Authority (RCRFA for short, though we are often referred to simply as “You idiots”) were mortified.

Stupid errors are our calling card after all and what appeared to be the utter lack of them was, well, disturbing. Fortunately, within a day or two, we got calls and e-mails from folks telling us that we had started the race almost 75 yards from where we should have. Whew!

This year, accordingly, we’ll shove you down from the packing shed in Flint Hill closer to the branch so you people who are actually counting won’t have a fit. We know full well that we’ll start it at 9 and then have dozens of people show up at 9:45 with an affronted look on their faces, a whole bag of bad attitude and a shot of rage to chase it. But you know what?

The race is at 9 a.m. people! Not where we started last year, either!

So get ready for the 32nd Annual Fodderstack 10K Race following a course from just north of the Vierlings’ Packing Shed (home of, among others, the Flint Hill Vintage antiques shop) into the town of Washington.

The first-, second- and third-place trophies crafted by local artisan Merrill Strange for males and females in each of now 12 categories should act as a major incentive. Perhaps the Eva Smith Memorial trophies to the first finishing Rappahannock County resident (male and female) also add some fleetness of foot to a field which is otherwise rather short on attitude but long on . . . well . . . being long.

If you are not currently on a respirator, the odds are good that you’ll be able to lurch home with a trophy.

In addition to the awards, T-shirts and the cheers of those lining the race course, for the ninth year we are offering drawings for gifts donated by local businesses. The Middleton Inn will offer overnight accommodations for two (must be 21 years old), Rappahannock Cellars offers a wine-tasting tour for 2 (must be 21 to win), the Country Café and 24 Crows, the Beauty Box and Glassworks Gallery are offering gift certificates, and the Rappahannock News and Piedmont Virginian magazine will have complimentary subscriptions.

You must be present at the awards ceremony to win prizes (even if you started the race an hour late)!

The race would, of course, be impossible without our sponsors, who thus far include the Inn at Little Washington, and the Rappahannock National Bank, Hampton Stock Farm, the Gay Street Inn, Philip Herzig Fence and Farm, Rappahannock Title, Carl and Barbara Romney, Harris Hollow Foods, Jean Lillard, Jennifer Manly, Cheri and Martin Woodard, Stephen Morse, Blue Ridge Mac and Tour D’Epicure.

Also present at the finish line the day of the race will be On the Run Sports from Warrenton offering goods for runners and supporters (they’re donating water bottles, etc. for the door prizes, too)!

The race runs from the Flint Hill Packing Shed down Rt. 522 to a right turn onto Fodderstack Road. It winds down Fodderstack Road where some helpful local residents will keep runners from wandering off the course.

Water stations sponsored by Rappahannock National Bank, Griffin Tavern and Rose Hill Veterinary Clinic will be located along the course and the rescue squad will be perched on Lee’s Hill for the faint of heart, short of breath and imminent of death. By then, runners will be on the home stretch and it’s (almost) all downhill from there.

A sheriff’s deputy will direct runners left in Washington so they head to the Courthouse on Gay Street and to the big finish line.

Since its inaugural run, the Fodderstack has become a high point in the local calendar of events. Both long-time local runners, Rappahannock weekenders and the occasional ringer (we’ve had Olympic runners, folks) travel to Rappahannock for what is often the first great day of spring. There have been only two rainy Fodderstack Races in the last 18 years.

Bus service begins from Washington to Flint Hill at approximately 7:15 a.m. Registration in Flint Hill at the Volunteer Fire Hall starts at 7:30 and runs until 8:50 in time for the race’s start at 9. Preregistration (postmarked by April 11 to PO Box 124, Flint Hill, VA 22627) is $20, and is $25 on the day of the race. For more information go to www.fodderstack10k.com.

Win or lose a good time will be had by all, and we urge you to come out and run, walk, crawl or roll the race. Failing that, come out and enjoy the day by cheering the runners and attending the awards ceremony on the Courthouse steps, which should begin about 10:30, due to, you guessed it, the race starting at 9 a.m.!

Rappahannock County Administrator John W. McCarthy serves on the RCRFA, and is pretty much always like this.

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