The Fodderstack 10K starts at . . .

The Fodderstack 10K

Pre-registration (postmarked by April 10 to Box 124, Flint Hill, VA 22627) is $20, and is $25 the day of the race, which starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 16. For more information, visit

For the third year in a row, but from the second location, the Rappahannock County Recreational Facilities Authority will be starting the Fodderstack 10K race at 9 a.m. (That’s on Saturday, April 16.)

We keep telling people this as they keep showing up like errant Big Lebowskis at 9:50 wondering, “Dude, whaddya mean you already started the race?”

Since we’re tired of being told “Not cool, man,” let this suffice as the final reminder: 9 a.m. Saturday, April 16, is the starting time of the Fodderstack 10K. The Dude abides, but he also needs to roll out of bed a bit more promptly.

As to the issue of where to start from, it is still in Flint Hill, “nearish” the Packing Shed. We’ve dithered with GPS and plane geometry and then repurposed 14 DIA, CIA and other federal agency spy satellites, spending more money determining where the 10K begins and ends than you’d really care to know, but we think we’ve got the right spot now.

Trinity Episcopal Church participants pose after the 2010 Fodderstack race. Photo by Ruthie Windsor-Mann.

So get ready for the 33rd Annual Fodderstack 10K Race, which will run from just north of the Vierling Packing Shed in Flint Hill to Gay Street in Washington. This year we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Shenandoah National Park — the beauty and grandeur of which is visible from every step of the course!

The first-, second- and third-place trophies crafted by local artisan Merrill Strange for males and females in each of now 15 categories should act as a major incentive. And perhaps the Eva Smith Memorial trophies to the first-to-finish Rappahannock County resident (male and female) will also add some fleetness of foot to a course which is otherwise rather short on ‘tude but long on . . . well, length. If you are not clinically dead, you may very well win a trophy.

In addition to the awards, T-shirts and the cheers of the teeming multitudes (mostly bovine) lining the race course, for the 10th year we are offering drawings for gifts donated by local businesses.

The Middleton Inn will offer overnight accommodations for two (must be 21). Gadino Cellars and Rappahannock Cellars both offer a wine-tasting tour for two (must be 21). The Merry Moo Market, the Theatre at Little Washington, Country Cafe, 24 Crows, the Beauty Box, Ragged Mountain Running Shop, Iron City Hot Dog Shop and Glassworks Gallery are all offering gift certificates. The Rappahannock News and Piedmont Virginian magazine will offer complimentary subscriptions. There are other gifts as well. You must be present at the awards ceremony, on the courthouse steps after the race, to win these prizes!

The race would, of course, be impossible without our sponsors, which thus far include the Inn at Little Washington, Union First Bank, the William and Mary Greve Foundation, Griffin Tavern, Rose Hill Veterinary Clinic, Gay Street Inn, Hampton Stock Farm, Carl and Barbara Romney, Margy and Steve Morse, Harris Hollow Foods, Rappahannock Title, Thomas and Talbot Real Estate, T.G. Taylor Construction, Jean Lillard, Jennifer Manly, Culpeper Farmer’s Coop, Hopkins Ordinary, Fairlea Farm B&B, Settles Cars & Trucks and Country Places Realty — thanks!

Also present at the finish line the day of the race will be On the Run Sports of Warrenton, offering their goods for runners and supporters (they’re donating water bottles and more for the door prizes, too). We’ll also have representatives (Rangers! Stylishly kitted out for spring in green!) from the aforementioned 75-year-old park at the finish line, and they will be joining the Inn at Little Washington in handing out trophies.

The race runs from the Flint Hill Packing Shed down U.S. 522 to a right turn onto Fodderstack Road. It continues winding down the Fodderstack Road, where some helpful local residents will keep you from wandering off the course and will call out times at the one-, two- and three-mile markers for those of you who actually are trying hard (and you know who you are).

At several points, water stations sponsored by Union First Bank, Griffin Tavern and Rose Hill Veterinary Clinic will be passing out water (or watering those passing out), and the rescue squad will be perched on Lee’s Hill as both a physical manifestation of our confidence in your abilities and a safety net if you fall short of them.

A sheriff’s deputy will turn you left in Washington, lest you continue down Main Street and over the spike strips we use for exceptionally off-course runners (not really), and you’ll go right to the courthouse on Gay Street and a big finish where the standing-room-only crowd (standing mainly as there are no reviewing stands) will notice your big finish, unless something more entertaining is going on. (I figure we should promise low; that way you can only be pleasantly surprised.)

Since its inaugural run, the Fodderstack has become a high point in the local calendar of events. Both long-time locals, Rappahannock weekenders and the occasional actually serious runner travel for what is often the first great day of spring. We must add that there has been only two rainy Fodderstack races in the last 19 years. (Notice that hair-splitting; there’ve been 10 in the last 32, but we like to hit the high notes.)

Bus service begins from Washington to Flint Hill at about 7:15 a.m. Registration in Flint Hill, at the Flint Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue station on Fodderstack Road just west of U.S. 522, starts at 7:30 and runs until 8:50, in time for the race’s start.
Which is at 9.

1 Comment

  1. I wish I could still run, and I wish I could’ve remembered to have sponsored this year…But I swear, right now; if John McCarthy continues to write the article I will promise to sponsor each year he writes! Good Luck to All ! (I’ll resist the temptation to describe the event where I beat Frank Reynolds to finishing line (hint: 1980).

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