The Fodderstack Classic 10K at 40

When the starting pistol is fired at 9 a.m. to begin the county’s annual Fodderstack 10K race on Saturday, April 21, it will be the 40th time in the event’s history. The First Annual Fodderstack Classic 10 Kilometer Road Race, as it was originally called, occurred April 21, 1979 — 40 years to the day of this year’s race.

Virginia runner Karsten Brown crosses the finish line in last year’s Fodderstack 10K Courtesy photo

Time does race by, just like the hundreds of participants who over the years have run the 6-mile course along Fodderstack Road, following the historic hills and valleys between the towns of Flint Hill and Washington.

The Rappahannock County Recreational Facilities Authority is already taking registrations at their website. Fees are $30 per person until March 31. On April 1, the fee increases to $35 until online registration closes. Waiting till race day will cost you an additional $5. If you register three or more family members in a single transaction online, you can save $5 per runner.

This year, as in the past 39, all proceeds from the race will go to benefit the Rappahannock County Park, located on Route 211 outside Washington. Among the planned improvements on RCRFA’s drawing board are to make the park entrance ADA-compliant, improving the accessibility for people with disabilities.

The organization is working with the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) to have the park designated a Dark Sky Park. Two Dark Sky events are scheduled for March 17 and April 14. As part of that initiative, Rappahannock Electric will replace the park lighting with downward-shielded fixtures to help protect the dark skies.

The park was just a gleam in the eyes of the Rappahannock County Recreation Center Association (RCRCA) in 1974 when Col. Earl E. Holmes donated the six-and-a-half acres along the Rush River.

“It was a very kind thing for you to do,” wrote Granville Eastham, RCRCA president, in a letter to Holmes dated July 8, 1974. “It is clearly understood … that this gift is given in memory of your mother and father, and that the land is to be used for recreational purposes only.”

In 1978, then president of the Recreation Center, Doug Baumgardner, sought funding for “an all purpose athletic court, a tennis court, and possibly a swimming pool,” according to correspondence from the time.

Jean Lillard, Secretary/Treasurer of the Rappahannock Recreation Association in 1979 (and still an active member of RCRFA), wrote in a recent summary of the park history that the Rappahannock Women’s Club and other community groups donated some of the first playground equipment.

“After a few Fodderstack races,” wrote Lillard, “we accumulated enough money to build our two tennis courts … and eventually a basketball court, [and] trail to the Rush River with picnic tables and horseshoe pit.”

The 40th Annual Fodderstack 10K. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., April 21, at the Flint Hill Volunteer Fire Dept. on Fodderstack Road. The starting point is at the packing shed in Fling Hill, a half-mile from the registration area. Parking is available either in Washington or Flint Hill.

Bus service will be provided from Washington to the starting point of the race throughout the morning and back to Flint Hill after the race and the awards ceremony.

Ample parking is available at the Flint Hill Fire Department (registration area) as well as in Washington. For more information, email: or write the Recreation Authority at: PO Box 172 Washington, VA 22747.

About Patty Hardee 271 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.