A New Summer Trail Series: One Way To Keep Kickin’ It Old School

AJW writes about a new Virginia summer trail-racing series.

By on May 1, 2015 | Comments

AJWs TaproomReaders of the Taproom know that from time to time, the old-school curmudgeon in me comes out and I complain about the growth of the sport, changes in the culture, and the general snarkiness that has crept into the trail running community over the past few years. While I know many find this annoying, self-righteous, and arrogant, I do feel that certain aspects of the direction the sport has taken have been damaging to the old-school community I cherish.

Therefore, in that context, many of you have urged me to put my money where my mouth is and do something. And so I have! Working with a great group of kindred spirits here in Charlottesville, Virginia, we recently announced the first annual Charlottesville Summer Trail Series to take place this summer.

David Smith and Christian Dahlhausen, founders of the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners (CATs), and John Andersen, owner of Crozet Running, have joined forces with me to create a new, fun trail series.

Designed along the lines of summer road-racing series around the country, this trail series consists of four races between 5k and five miles at four different trailheads around town. Two of the races are on Saturday mornings and two are on Tuesday evenings. And, they are each intentionally and unabashedly old school.

Series scoring will be in the classic cross-country format. Finishers will be handed a popsicle stick with their finishing place on it to record their place. The race venues have been chosen specifically to engender a laid-back vibe and intimate community feel. And, in keeping with the best in trail running culture, the series will culminate with a cookout awards ceremony and beer bash. Best of all, in the event of a tie after the fourth race, those runners tied for the series lead will square off in a one-mile ‘runoff’ immediately following the race to determine the series winner.

I know that whining and complaining about change is not all that productive and I will continue to resist the temptation to do so. And, as I hope our new series attests, it is our desire to introduce the old-school feeling that we love so much to many entry-level trail runners who, frankly, have little to no interest in running ultras but have great interest in soaking in the uniquely warm environment of the trail running community. Perhaps this little series here in our corner of Virginia will inspire other running communities to do the same.

Bottoms up!

 AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week is one of the most popular craft beers in Virginia. Devils Backbone Brewery in Nellysford has won countless awards for their easy-drinking Vienna Lager. Using a classic Austrian recipe and putting their own American craft-beer spin on it has allowed Devils Backbone to create the perfect summer-party beer. I plan to have kegs it on hand for our final race series party in August!

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Is your trail running community actively creating experiences that harken back to American trail running’s history?
  • How does your trail community create an environment that welcomes new trail runners?
  • Do you participate in a summer race series, either on the trail or road?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.