Ultrarunning and Trail Running Clubs: Mid-Atlantic Region

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)
Virginia Happy Trails Running Club VHTRCThis 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
Trail Dawgs DelawareThe 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
Rise Up RunnersThe 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.

There are 7 comments

  1. Mike

    I joined the VHTR Club as soon as I moved down here – great idea – took me a while to find them. And as you know (b/c I've asked you), finding trails when you're new to an area isn't easy – this should really help.Value-added post – thanks

  2. Michael Valliant

    We've got a fledgling running group on the Eastern Shore of Maryland called Rise Up Runners: http://riseuprunners.blogspot.com It's been a blast of a group and the motivation and energy of a running group has pushed me to new levels in running. We try to stay pretty active racing–everything from a girl shooting to qualify for Boston for a second time, an ultra runner stepping up from 50 milers for his first hundred next year at Umstead, the Trail Dawg races, and three of us heading to Vermont to go play in the mud on Sunday :)The RUR's have had multiple group runs each week since late February, with weekends being trail days.Truly been a blast and a great opportunity to be a part of a (preferably trail) running group.

  3. Meredith

    my running group out of Valley Forge, PA (outside of Philadelphia) has a good number of ultra runners. http://fasttracks.homestead.com/ On Monday nights and Saturday afternoons there are always organized trail runs. There are three of us that run 100's, and one woman just ran her first 24 hour and won it! A ton of members have run 50Ks with us and a couple each year venture longer into 50M.

  4. Trail Goat

    Steve,you can find plenty of hard courses in the 5-10 mile range on the trails of Rock Creek Park, the Potomac Heritage Trail, and even tiny Potomac Overlook Park.

  5. Bill Susa


    You really can't beat the Appalachian Trail in VA or MD for some hilly & rocky runs. There are lots of easily accessible trailheads and you can do as many miles as you want with an "out-and-back" route.

    Also, check out the Harpers Ferry area. The Loudoun Heights and Maryland Heights trails offer great climbs and killer views.

    Bill Susa

  6. Brian K

    Just a half hour south of the trail running hot bed of The Finger Lakes ( http://www.facebook.com/groups/17533303336/ ), and just north of the trail running Mecca in Central Pennslyvania ( http://www.facebook.com/groups/75592622865/ ), right on the NY-PA border, we have access to close to 40 miles of trails in two parks. A number of us are hard at work trying to introduce the joys of trail running to the local road runners by introducing them to these under used trails through our growing group, the Valley Running Club:

    http://www.valleyrunningclub.org/ http://www.facebook.com/groups/107211832662053/

Post Your Thoughts