While not quite living up to its former name of Helltown, a very windy and somewhat hilly course in Front Royal made for a challlenging late Feburary 5K.
Front Royal, about 75 miles west of Washington, D.C., was such a rough frontier town in the 18th century it was called Helltown, attracting mountaineers and river travelers looking for booze and women. Most of the buildings in Front Royal as well as all of Warren County were destroyed during the Civil War. The Battle of Front Royal, in which the Union suffered 773 casualties to the Confederate’s 36, was part of General Stonewall Jackson’s successful 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign.
The race, put on Shenandoah Valley Runners, started and finished at the Warren County High School just outside of downtown Front Royal. The race director said he made the course as flat as he could. And, given the size of the surrounding mountains, he did a pretty good job. But there was nothing he could do about the winds that gusted at more than 35 mph.
It was the seventh race in the club’s winter series that has grown rapidly over the last couple of years. One person told me that the races attracted 30 or so runners as recently as three years ago. Now, it isn’t unusual for more than 200 to show up. Just over 150 competed in this race.
Eight runs down – 126 to go.
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