2020 Chessie Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, & Marathon Relay
Run The Chessie!
Run North America’s best rail trail! The seven-mile Chessie Trail, situated at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley, parallels the scenic Maury River and connects historic Lexington, Virginia, with the boom-town community of Buena Vista. The smooth, flat, gravel and grass trail runs along the former Chesapeake and Ohio rail line and parts of the earlier James and Kanawha Canal towpath. You’ll run through an ever-changing landscape along the wild Maury River, through farmland and leafy canopies at their peak of fall color, past ruins of massive stone locks and dams. View wildlife from fish and ducks to rabbits, wild turkeys, river otters, and even bald eagles (if you are lucky), feel the cool moist air as you pass small caves, and enjoy the serenity of a breeze rustling through a bamboo forest.
This year the Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K are back and for the first time we will be running a Marathon Relay! In the spirit of the day, all runners racing in their Halloween costumes are eligible to receive a free vintage t-shirt and prizes will be awarded for best costumes. Runners setting overall course records will receive a $25 cash prize.
Marathon runners will get to see the whole trail twice. You will be amazed at how the landscape changes as the sun comes over the cliffs transforming the narrow valley and the sparkling river at its bottom. Spectators will agree that this is the best marathon course ever as they cheer on their loved ones five times without ever having to leave the park-like setting of the start/finish area. And while we certainly hope this doesn’t happen, if you have to change your marathon run to a half marathon or ¾ marathon, you won’t have to worry about hitchhiking back to your car. Ideal for the first-time marathoner!
Half Marathon runners will see nearly all of the trail as they head east towards Buena Vista, loop back to the starting line on the way to Lexington, and then loop back down to the finish line.
5 K runners will head towards Lexington, running along remote sections of the Maury River through forests and fields, and at the base of towering limestone cliffs. When the river bends into a double horseshoe, they will loop back for a slightly downhill finish.
Marathon Relay runners will follow the same course as the Marathon. There will be four legs to the relay of approximately 7.8m, 5.3m, 7.8m, and 5.3m. Runners may run more than one leg for their team. Each team will be issued a standard aluminum relay baton, which they will be required to carry on their bodies for the entire race. All exchanges will take place at the start/finish area. Teams are encouraged to decorate their baton with their team colors, logo, etc. The winning team in each division will be awarded a trophy and the batons from all the other teams in their division (which they may give back if they are feeling magnanimous). Winners will be determined by first across the finish line (not chip time). There will be three divisions, all female, all male, and mixed female/male. Relay team captains will be required to pay the registration fee for the team and set up a team name and password so that other team members may enter their information on the registration website.
Walkers are welcome in both the Half Marathon and 5K.
Full Marathon registration includes a custom embroidered finisher’s hat, complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students & minors), long sleeve tech t-shirt, race sticker, custom medals for all finishers, awards to top overall finishers and age group winners, and post-race pizza, snacks, and beverage.
Half Marathon registration includes a complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students & minors), long sleeve tech t-shirt, race sticker, custom medals for all finishers, awards to top overall finishers and age group winners, and post-race pizza, snacks, and beverage.
5K runners will receive a tech t-shirt, race sticker, medals to top overall finishers and age group winners, and snacks and beverage following the race.
Marathon Relay registration includes a complimentary brew from Lexington’s own Southern Inn (except students & minors), long sleeve tech t-shirt, race sticker, custom medals for all team members, trophies for the winners of each division, and post-race pizza, snacks, and beverage.
There is plenty of free parking near the start and plenty of other activities to make a weekend of it in the most beautiful part of Virginia! Registration for each race is limited to the first 300, so register now to ensure your spot.