The Old Dominion Ultra is a 100-mile ultramarathon that takes place annually in the mountains of Virginia, USA. The event has a rich history dating back to 1979, when it was first founded by Pat and Wayne Botts and designed to allow East Coast runners to complete 100 miles on foot in 24 hours or less over the rugged terrain of northern Virginia. In the inaugural race in 1979, 45 brave souls appeared to face an unknown challenge. It is one of the oldest continuously held ultramarathons in the United States and has gained a reputation as one of the toughest ultramarathons in the country.
The Old Dominion 100 is a Grand Slam of Ultra-Running event, a series of five races representing the oldest and most prestigious 100-mile races contested in the US. The series includes the Old Dominion 100 in Virginia, the Western States 100 in California, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado, and the Wasatch Front 100 in Utah. Strambecco rates the event as one of the Best Trail Events in the Mid-Atlantic.
The race starts and ends at the Shenandoah Country Fairground (in Woodstock, Virginia) and covers one-hundred miles through various terrains such as gravel, single-track, logging and ATV routes, rocks, streams, and payment. All runners should also plan for mud, depending on Virginia’s spring weather. It is well marked day and night with 24 aid stations and a way full of standard options for hydration and snacks. Several aid stations will have heavier meals like pancakes and burgers to keep racers fueled. Only 100 registrants are allowed, and participants must finish the course within 28 hours. Anyone who finishes in under 24 hours receives the sterling silver buckle.
The course is broken down into four sections. The first 26 miles tours Woodstock to Shenandoah River and crosses Burnshire Dam by bridge to start the steep gravel switchback to enter the George Washington National Forest. The second 26 miles include country roads, trail climbs, paved descents, and gravel terrain before turning to climb Moreland Gap. The third part of the course covers ATV routes, exposed trails, and beautiful scenery. After runners reach the Edinburg Gap, they enter Power Mountain Trail, which immediately becomes rugged and steep. Loops around Little Passage Creek are gorgeous. The final stretch after checking out Elizabeth Furnace is known as Sherman Gap. This part of the course allows participants to have dedicated safety runners as they complete the circle around Massanutten’s and over Woodstock Mountain through the town to the finish line.
Despite the challenging course, the Old Dominion Ultra has gained a reputation as a must-do event for serious ultrarunners. The event attracts top runners from around the world but also has a strong community of local runners who have competed in the race for many years. The race is known for its tough and supportive atmosphere, with runners encouraging and supporting each other throughout the event.
The Old Dominion Ultra is also notable for its unique qualification requirements. In order to enter the race, runners must have completed a 50-mile or longer ultramarathon within the past year, as well as a marathon within the past two years. This ensures that runners who compete in the Old Dominion Ultra are experienced and well-prepared for the challenge of the race.
The dedicated site has local information on travel, campgrounds, and other lodging options. Registration for the 2023 race opens on November 27th. Participants need to have completed a 50 miler or greater race between June 4th, 2022, and June 2, 2023, or a previous Old Dominion 100 under 24 hours.
Woodstock is a small town located in Shenandoah County, Virginia, in the United States. It is situated in the Shenandoah Valley region and is surrounded by scenic beauty and opportunities for outdoor sports and activities. Besides running, one of the most popular outdoor sports activities in Woodstock is hiking. The town is located near the Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest, which offer many hiking trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail. Visitors can also enjoy camping, fishing, and hunting in the nearby forests and parks. In addition to hiking and running, there are many other outdoor sports activities available in and around Woodstock, including canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on the Shenandoah River.