McCarthy: Reports of race being over are premature

Despite vicious rumor-mongering and serial obfuscations masquerading as questions (and on my part, as answers), the race committee is gearing up for our 37th annual Fodderstack 10K race. We’ve retained professional race management services for the third year running (lame pun intended) in what is proving to be a difficult-to-sustain façade of capable, reliable, sure-handed leadership.

Come one, come all for a bang-up 37th Fodderstack race at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 25!

Once again, race numbers imprinted with number sponsor Union Bank and Trust will have a transponder chip attached, which will track runners’ times automatically, ensuring that once you cross the finish line your time will be accurately recorded. In addition of course, we will be attaching tags to the left ears of all runners (local anesthetic accorded to the weak, if requested).

The first-, second- and third-place trophies crafted by long-time trophy artisan Merrill Strange will act as a major incentive . . . and perhaps the Eva Smith Memorial trophies to the first finishing Rappahannock County resident (male and female) will add some fleetness of foot.

In addition to the awards, T-shirts and the cheers of the fresh-scrubbed faces lining the race course, we offer a continuing round-robin existential debate about the nature of our finish line, entitled, “If There Is No Town of Washington, Is There a Finish Line?”

Also, for the 14th year, we are offering drawings for gifts donated by local businesses. Rappahannock Cellars will offer four complimentary wine tastings for two, while Gadino Cellars will be offering two complimentary wine tastings for two (for both of these you must be of legal drinking age). The Beauty Box offers a gift certificate for a cut, shampoo and styling. The Rappahannock News offers a one-year free subscription, as does Piedmont Virginian Magazine. As for dining, the Country Café offers a gift certificate for a lunch for two. Valley Green Naturals offers a gift bag of different products, and Little Washington Wellness and Spa offers a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure as well as a gift certificate of a one-hour facial. You must be present at the awards ceremony to win these prizes.

The race would, of course, be impossible without our sponsors, which thus far include The Inn at Little Washington, Union Bank and Trust, Hampton Stock Farm, Rick Fischer and Anne Lavigne, Griffin Tavern, Bill and Linda Dietel, Jean Lillard and Flint Hill Realty, Jennifer Manly, Margy Day and Steve Morse, Cheri Woodard Realty, Harris Hollow Foods, Jeff Riley and Barney Glo Riley, Lois Markee, Peggy Ralph, Williams Tree Service, Tour d’Epicure Virginia Cycling Adventures, Fairlea Farm Bed and Breakfast, Gay Street Inn, Hampton and Massie Construction and Rappahannock Real Estate Resources Inc. Thanks!

The race as always runs from the Flint Hill Packing Shed down U.S. 522 to a right turn onto Fodderstack Road. Continue sprinting 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 competing.

At several points, water stations sponsored by Union Bank and Trust, Griffin Tavern and Rose Hill Veterinary Practice will be passing out water to runners, and the rescue squad will be perched on Lee’s hill as a physical manifestation of our belief in your capacity as a runner and our deep concern (hah!) for your well-being.

A sheriff’s deputy will turn you left in Washington, lest you continue down Main Street, and you’ll go right to the Courthouse on Gay Street and a big finish where those who believe the Town of Washington does and should exist will be locked in philosophical battle with those who believe it does not and should not; lawsuits, ad hominem attacks, outraged indignation, pedantic lectures and truly Homeric-level raging narcissism not included; except that it is. Please discuss.

Since its inaugural run, the Fodderstack has become a high point in the local calendar of events. Both longtime locals, Rappahannock weekenders and the rare serious runner travel for what is often the first great day of spring.

Bus service begins from Washington to Flint Hill at approximately 7:15 a.m. Registration in Flint Hill at the fire hall starts at 7:30 and runs until 8:45, in time for the race’s start at 9. Preregistration is $25 (available at; it’s $30 on race day. For more and perhaps more coherent information, visit

Come on out and support the runners, and your community, and celebrate the beauty of Rappahannock in the spring.