_ 2017 Chessie Trail Spring Half Marathon & 5K:
Run The Chessie!
Run one of the most awesome rail-trails in the lower fourty-eight 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 spring wildflowers, 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.
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.
Half marathon registration includes a free, pre-race pasta dinner (except student registration), a complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Blue Lab Brewery (except students & minors), long sleeve 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 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.
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.