The W&OD is one of my favorite trails in Northern Virginia. The green oasis in the middle of the suburbs is, at least on the stretches I tend to run, mostly flat. It covers 45 miles, starting at the Weenie Beenie in Shirlington and going all the way to Purcellville’s railroad depot in Loudoun County. I’ve been on it well over 100 times.
At this event held in Vienna in Fairfax County, not only did the people taking registrations know me, but I saw at least a dozen local runners I knew well enough to exchange hellos. The occasional downpour on the late Saturday afternoon kept the size of the field down. It was bad enough at times that I thought about cutting my run short on the out-and-back course.
As I finished the 10K, the guy recording times had the rather disheartening question, “Are you the last one?” I was pleased to inform him that there were about a half dozen people behind me. Some were mostly walking, so he’d be out in the elements another 15-20 minutes at least.
The race benefited the Friends of the W&OD, a group dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and promotion of the trail that is owned by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Col & I found a couple of sunny mornings to cover other stretches of the trail, first in the city of Falls Church, and then in Shirlington, part of Fairfax County.
Fairfax County is the largest jurisdiction in the state by population at 1.1 million, or more than 13% of the state’s total. It has a median family income of more than $100K, making it one of the wealthiest places in the U.S. It has an economy larger than some small countries.
Falls Church, at the crossroads of Routes 7 and 29, is the state’s smallest independent city by area. It has a population of about 12,000. It was part of Fairfax until 1948, when it became independent so that it could keep its schools racially segregated. The schools remained segregated until 1961.
94 down, 40 to go