Virginia Creeper Marathon

While we try to put as much information as possible on this web site, we realize there are a variety of questions that remain unanswered for the inquisitive runner… perhaps this page will help.

If there’s still something you need to know, feel free to e-mail the race director at




I notice you have a field limit of sorts. Do you typically fill up?

Yes, we do, and in recent years our "closed" date has come as much as six months before race day! At that point, we work off a waiting list, which we'll explain in more detail when that time comes. We suggest interested parties not dilly-dally.


Is there some way I can register online?

Nope, the only option is printing out our entry form and mailing it in. Yep, we know, kinda 20th-century .....


Do you send out confirmations? How will I know you've received my entry?

No, we do not send out confirmations. We list registered runners (i.e., those who are "in") on our "Who's Comin'?" page, which we endeavor to update frequently.


So, is yours a good race for first-timers?

Gee, we'd like to think so. We realize there are few things quite like that first marathon attempt, and each year we're pleased and honored to host a number of first-timers in our race field. If friendly, personal support and a run in the beautiful countryside are what you're looking for, we're your race. If you think you'll need screaming urban crowds and live music to get you to the finish line, we're not.


But ... do you really not have T-shirts? Or medals?

Nope and nope. We realize that, for many runners, those are some of the perks that make marathons (and all that training!) worthwhile. We certainly understand! We just chose from the start to take a different tack with our event, in the process keeping runner expenses minimal. We do, by the way, offer nice paperweight mementos, which have been quite popular.


Is your course certified?

Yes, it is. The certification number is VA12004MS, which, yes, means it's a Boston Marathon qualifier.


Is it fast?

Well, it's not a burner, but it's not inordinately slow, either ... average, perhaps? Each year, we do have several runners muster Boston-qualifying times here. We suggest you check our runners' critiques on for a little more insight, not only about the course, but the race in general.


So, what's the footing like? Do I need trail shoes?

As far as "trail" courses go, this one's about as nondescript as they come, and the footing is typically good, even during and/or following inclement weather (tho we've certainly tested that on occasion!). Some folks wear trail shoes, but most do not.


Do you utilize chip timing?

There are a couple spots on the course where you might encounter cow chips, but no, we do not use the type you'd want to find on your shoes or clothing.


What do you supply at your aid stations?

All our aid stations provide water and Gatorade. You should also find, at a minimum, fig bars, plus other food items as individual workers might supply. Please note that we do NOT provide gels of any kind.


And what about your "facilities"?

There are several porta-johns at the start/finish area, so you'll see them several times. There are also restrooms at the golf course aid station, which you'll pass four times. Oh, and there's a porta-john at the elementary school parking area. Hopefully these will take care of your needs, but do keep in mind you'll be out in the woods for most of your run ....


Where can my family/friends go to watch during the race?

Actually, if your support folks hang around the start/finish area, they'll also see you pass by at 2, 9, 18, and 25 miles ... and if they feel inspired to help out at the aid station located there (which some do, actually), we will gratefully put them to work!

Meanwhile, the more adventurous can also drive to the turnarounds in Abingdon (miles 5.5 and 21.5) or Alvarado (mile 13.5) if they wish. The turnaround points are just a short walk in from the respective trailheads.


Since you shuttle runners from the parking area at Watauga Elementary to the start/finish, is there somewhere we can store our gear during the race?

Absolutely. We have a drop area at the start/finish (which, again, you'll pass a few times during the race as well) where you can leave a bag, food/drink, etc.


Do you have a time limit?

No, we don't. Our course workers and finish timers will remain at their posts -- cheerfully! -- until the last participant has finished. Of course, if you know up front that you're going to be out on the course for a while (read: six hours is a reasonable rule of thumb in this case), you have the option to start early, and in fact are encouraged to do so. You will merely need to advise the Race Director accordingly and check in beforehand. Please note that early starters are self-timed (yes, we trust you!) and do count as official finishers, but are ineligible for our few awards.

Early starters should also note that, while course markings (mile signs and turns) will be in place very early on race day, course support (workers and supplies) will not be in place 'til closer to the regular start time, so you may be "on your own" for a while.


Do you allow walkers?

Yes, walkers are welcomed (in a typical year, we'll have two or three), tho we must ask that you start early. Please note the info in the previous item.


Do you have a minimum age limit?

No, there is not a minimum age to participate in this marathon. We do, however, ask parents/guardians to use their best judgment regarding their minor child's ability to tackle the significant task at hand. Do note that those under the race-day age of 18 must have the signature of a parent/guardian on the entry form.


How long will it take me to get there from _________ ?

Our race is located near the town of Abingdon, in far southwestern Virginia. To reach the race site (and "host motel"), take Exit 19 from Interstate 81. From that point, the "course map" provided on this site also includes sufficient direction to get you where you need to be.

Note: The address for Watauga Elementary School (i.e., runner parking) is 23181 Watauga Road, Abingdon, while the start/finish area is (roughly) 24293 Watauga Road.


How about by air?

The closest commercial airport is the Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI) in northeastern Tennessee, roughly 35 miles/40 minutes from the aforementioned Exit 19. From some points of departure, flying into McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS) at Knoxville, TN, may be less expensive, but that's a couple hours' drive.


May I wear an iPod, MP3, Walkman or headphones during the race?

A few years back, USATF amended Rule 144.3, which pertains to the use of headphones and other electronic devices, giving race directors the discretion to allow the use of headphones by runners in non-championship races. The rule previously had banned the use of headphones by all runners.

Such devices present issues of both safety and politeness, since the user's ability to hear and properly interact with race officials and with other participants is significantly impaired.

Our position, then, is this -- while we strongly prefer that participants not wear such devices, we acknowledge that some runners view them as indispensable equipment. We do, therefore, allow their use.

If you have any questions, please contact the Race Director.