Whether you’re headed to an unfamiliar area for work, vacation, or relocation it’s great to learn the trail systems in the area. You can always look at a map or conduct an internet search for area trails, but often the most efficient way to check out the website of or get in touch with the local ultra or trail running club. Accordingly, there’s a need for a comprehensive list of trail and ultra running clubs and we’ve yet to see one. It’s iRunFar’s aim to put such a list together. To make the task a bit more manageable, we’re going to do this region-by-region and we’re going to get warmed up with what we’ll call the mid-Atlantic, as it’s what we know best. Our “mid-Atlantic” includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Below we take quick looks at the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners, the Trail Dawgs (DE), the Lancaster Road Running Club (PA), the Iron Mountain Trail Runners (VA), the NCR Trail Slugs (MD), and the Rise Up Runners (MD).
Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHTRC)
This club is at the heart of the ultrarunning community in the northern Virginia, southern Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Given its awesome website, wide geographic coverage, and loose structure, the VHTRC could be called an internet running club. However, there are many low-key Happy Trails events throughout the year that supplement their premiere events: the Bull Run Run 50 mile (April), the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run (May), and the Women’s Half Marathon Trail Run (September).
West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners (WVMTR)
The West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners have long had a great group of runers and now they’ve got a great website to match. The website has a ton of great information. The WVMTR put on the High Sky Trail Run (40 miles) in June and the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness (50 miles) in late August. They also coordinate the Mountain State Trail Run Series, a series of 7 trail races that range from 10k to the half marathon. Aside from races, we’ve yet to see much information on West Virginia’s trails on the WVMTR website – please let us know if we’ve simply over looked group runs, maps, route descriptions, and the like.
The Trail Dawgs
The Trail Dawgs are, not surprisingly, a trail club based in northern Delaware. Unlike most of the other trail clubs listed here, the Trail Dawgs have numerous weekly organized runs – 5 at last count. If you think the Trail Dawgs have a glut of training runs, you should see their event calender! Among the many events they host are the Phunt 50k (January), the Trail Triple Crown (5k, 10k, half marathon & marathon – April), the Longest Day Challenge 100k (June), Stumpy’s Marathon (September), and the Delaware 100-Miler (September).
Lancaster Road Runners Club (LRRC)
Ok, so it may seem odd that we’ve included a “road running club” in this post, but don’t let their name fool you – the Lancaster Road Runners Club is dirt-ty. To start with, they’ve got a great page describing the trails in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Second, they put on some great shorter trail races including Mrs. Smith’s Challenge (5 miles – May), Smith’s Challenge (10k or 20k – June), and the Conestoga Trail Run (12 miles – September). Most importantly, the LRRC is home to the Buzzards. While the Buzzards keep a low profile on the web, they are a fun group of ultrarunners who happen to host the Buzzard’s A.C. Marathon in March.
Iron Mountain Trail Runners (IMTR)
The Iron Mountain Trail Runners are am upstart group of trail runners based in southern Virginia – Damascus, to be precise. As far as we know, the IMTR does not have a traditional website, but they do keep a blog that’s updated between 5 and 10 times a month. The blogposts include member updates as well as descriptions of various runs in and around the Iron Mountains. Eric Grossman’s Iron Mountain Trail Run (50 miles – October) benefits the IMTR.
NCR Trail Slugs
The NCR Trail Slugs are a Baltimore-based trail and ultrarunning club. The club has a weekly Saturday group run.
Rise Up Runners
The Rise Up Runners are a small group that recently formed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The group currently holds multiple weekly group runs including long train runs on Saturdays. This is an early bird rather than a night owl club, with more runs beginning at 4:45 or 5 a.m. with some runs beginning as early as 3:30! Check out the comments to see what RUR member Mike Valliant has to say about the club.
Please let iRunFar know if you know of any additional trail or ultramarathon focused clubs in the mid-Atlantic Region. Also, feel free to add any information about the above noted clubs in the comments.