Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail - Runner Instructions

Welcome to the Dahlgren Heritage Rail Trail 50 km. This race is scheduled for the first Saturday in August each year.

We thank our volunteers from the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail Association, King George Amateur Radio Operators, Northern Virginia Gun Club, King George Fire and Rescue and King George Sheriff Departments.

Trail Description

The race starts at mile post 0 at the east end of the parking lot.

There are mile posts every ½ mile with mile post 0 in the west up to mile post 14.5. You can see mile post 0 at the start/finish line. Posts are painted white on the top with an orange streamer tape wrapped near the top.

For those of you who have run this race in the past, starting in 2015, we will not be using the Gun Club bypass trail. Follow the trail through the open gates at either end.

Just after mile post 14.5, you will be taking a detour around the Little Ark Baptist Church Cemetery. The part of the course is very rough footing with many tripping hazards. Stay between the orange surveyor flags until you connect back to the main trail. The detour is to the north of the main trail. You will be back on the trail around mile 15.

About 1500 feet after crossing Owens Rd, you will reach mile post 15.5 and the Wal-mart aid station. If you run past the Budget equipment truck, you have gone too far.

Once you reach mile post 15.5, turn around and return to mile post 0, taking the two previously mentioned detours.

There are not a lot of streamers on the trail. They are placed in areas where you might make a wrong turn off the trail. If you are on a paved road for more than 50 feet, you are off course.

The trail is wide and is in great shape. However, “look up, fall down”. There are still rail ties in the bed in spots. The footing is better in the west end of the trail rather than the east end.

The trail surface varies between crushed stone, crushed gravel, small gravel, larger gravel, grass and pine needles.

Aid stations

There are full service aid stations at 4.0, 8,1, 12.5, 15.5, 18.5, 22.9 and 27.0. There is water, Gatorade and food at each station. Additionally, there are PBJ sandwiches at 12.5, 18.5 and 27.0 miles.

Crossing Roads

If there is a yellow line in the middle of any road that you cross, cars are traveling at 55 mph. Make sure you look both ways before crossing. There is a crossing guard that can help.

Take Care of Each other

If a fellow runner goes down, your obligation is to stop and help.

Assistance

Runners can take assistance only at aid stations. Mules (carrying food and water for others) and outside pacing are prohibited. Crew assistance can only be provided at the designated locations.

Weather

We will not start with lightning in the area. However, once the race has started, it is up to you to take appropriate measures for your safety. Aid station personnel will be in their cars during lightning storms.

Parking in Rt 605

Please follow the parking attendants’ directions.

Little Ark Baptist Church

Any crew or family parking at LABC and walking through the cemetery to meet the eastern end of the trail will have their runner pulled from the race immediately.

Parking Elsewhere

If your crew or family want to watch, make sure all tires are off paved surfaces when parked on any road in King George County. The King George Sheriff will tow without warning any car where tires or vehicle parts are overhanging the pavement. The Meadows subdivision, on the eastern end of the trail, is a private subdivision. Parking off the road is considered private property and some home owners are unfriendly, calling to have cars towed. Except for the Rt 218 and Wal-Mart aid locations, we recommend, not viewing the race on the eastern part of the course.

Headphones

If you want to wear headphones on the rail trail it is ok. You should pull them out at aid stations and when crossing paved roads. Cars driving at 55 mph hurt when they impact bare skin.

Trail Hazards

Spider Webs – front runners will encounter webs across the trail. The deer flies are attracted to the webs.

Poison Ivy or Kudzu – In the clearings between mile post 2.0 and 3.5 there is either Kudzu or Poison Ivy on the trail. Both plants have leaves of three with fuzzy vines.

Bees – If you are allergic, bring your own epipen.

Ticks – They are in the area, low in numbers.

Deer Flies – Mostly between mile posts 6.5 and 10. They bite. If you are allergic to bees, you may be allergic to deer flies, too. They are attracted to the color blue and dark clothing. We have available deer fly paper to stick to the back of your hat.

Standing Water – Depending on rain, between mile posts 14.5 and 15.5, there may be standing water on the trail up to shin deep. During periods of heavy rain, there may be standing water along the entire trail.

Runner Tracking

You must check in at the start on Saturday morning. People who pick up their race number and do not check in will have their names called at the start. We need to keep track of everybody. If you drop, you must turn in your number at the next aid station. If you drop at Rt 218 aid, you must return your number to the Rt 605 aid station. We are tracking numbers at Indian Town and Wal-Mart. Make sure you tell them when you arrive. Any lost runner that does not follow these procedures will be charged for the cost of search and rescue.

Crews

Crews are allowed only at Rt 218 (mile 10.9 and 20.1) and Wal-Mart (mile 15.5) aid stations. Crews can provide unlimited aid at these points.

From Caledon to AID at Mile 10.9 and 20.1 under Rt 218 Bridge

This aid location is reachable on foot only. From the Caledon State Park, access Rt 218 at the far southeast corner of the park. Walk east on Rt 218, facing traffic. Just before you get to the highway bridge crossing the rail trail, cross to the south side of Rt 218 and go down the steep spur trail.

You can meet your runner at the bottom of this trail. At mile 10.9, they will be coming from the west, your right. At mile 20.1, they will be coming from the east, your left.

Cautions: Rt 218 is 45 mph and there are no crossing guards to slow traffic. The shoulder is very narrow in this area. The connector trail between Rt 218 and the Rail Trail is very steep for the first 20 feet at the top.

From Rt 605 (Start) to Caledon

Turn left from Rt 605 parking lot. After 1.3 miles, turn left on Rt 3. After 4.7 miles, turn left on Rt 206. After 2.1 miles, turn left on Indian Town Rd. After 3.0 miles, turn right on Rt 218. After 1.7 miles, turn left into Caledon.

From Rt 605 (Start) to Wal-Mart

Turn left from Rt 605 parking lot. After 1.3 miles, turn left on Rt 3. After 4.7 miles, turn left on Rt 206. After 5.8 miles, turn left on Rt 301. After 1.3 miles, Wal-Mart is on your left.

From Caledon to Wal-Mart

Turn left out of Caledon onto Rt 218. After 1.5 miles, turn left onto Rt 206. After 2.8 miles, turn left on Rt 301. After 1.3 miles, Wal-Mart is on your left.

From Wal-Mart parking to Wal-Mart AID at Mile 15.5

Looking at Wal-Mart, go behind the store on the right side. You will see a trail leading into the woods that run next to a fence around a retention pond. We hope to have surveyor flags along the path to the aid station.This trail intersects with the rail trail. At the intersection, turn left. The aid station is about ½ mile from the Wal-Mart parking lot.

From Caledon to Rt 605 (Finish)

Turn right out of Caledon onto Rt 218. After 1.7 miles, turn left on Indian Town Road. After 3.0 miles, turn right on Rt 206. After 2.1 miles, turn right on Rt 3. After 4.7 miles, turn right on Rt 605. After 1.3 miles, Rt 605 trailhead is on your right.

From Wal-Mart to Caledon

Turn right out of Wal-Mart parking lot onto Rt 301. After 1.3 miles, turn right on Rt 206. After 2.8 miles, turn right on Rt 218. After 1.5 miles, Caledon is on your right.

From Wal-Mart to Rt 605 (Finish)

Turn right out of Wal-Mart parking lot onto Rt 301. After 1.3 miles, turn right on Rt 206. After 5.8 miles, turn right on Rt 3. After 4.7 miles, turn right on Rt 605. After 1.3 miles, Rt 605 trailhead is on your right.

Drop Bags

You can drop bags at the tent at the RT 605 trailhead between 5:30 and 6:00 am on Saturday morning. These will be transported to the Indiantown (8.1 & 22.9) and Wal-Mart (15.5) aid stations. Make sure you mark your name and bib number on your bags and drop in the correct location’s bin. Bags from Wal-Mart should be back by 11am and from Indiantown by 1pm.

You can pick up your own drop bag at Indiantown until 12:30pm. Directions to Indiantown: Turn left on Rt 605. After 1.3 miles, turn left on Rt 3. After 4.0 miles, turn left on Rt 206. There is a Fast Mart and Food Lion at this intersection. After 2.1 mile, turn left on Indian Town Rd. There is a Dutch Mart at this intersection. Aid station is on the right after 2.1 miles.

Time Limit

There is an 8 hour limit. The course is flat. So if you keep moving at a 15 minute per mile pace, you will finish within the time limit. If you don’t make it to Wal-Mart by 10:30am, you will not make it back to the finish in 8 hours. This is a hard cutoff. Cutoffs for the return aid stations are Panorama, 11:30am, Indiantown, 12:30pm, and Comorn, 1:30pm.

Porta Pots

There is one at Indian Town and one at Wal-Mart. Make sure you go off the trail to do other business. Watch out for the poison ivy.

Awards Ceremony will be at Noon.


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