5K in Every State: Virginia!

Eight states done!

Even though there is no official record of it (I’ll get to that), I checked off another state on my quest to complete a 5K in every state–woot woot! It was a quick 24-hour trip shared with my dear friend, Janet. It began with a Google search of Virginia 5K races in map view, I chose one that looked to be an easy drive from home, I registered for the YMCA 2017 Lakefest 5K in Clarksville, and off we went.

While it was less than two hours away, nearly the entire drive was on back roads which had us wondering if we were being misled by Maps. It’s been known to happen, right? To make matters worse, in the midst of yapping a mile a minute, I missed a turn onto a certain back road, so we then had to take an alternate back road. All these back roads had us in a tizzy!

The only thing to do when you think you might be lost is to call a friend, so we dialed up Karen for back-up navigation who confirmed we were indeed traveling in the right direction. Karen patiently listened to our giggles and babbling, and made sure we were on the Last Train to Clarksville. Ha!

In a small town along the way, the Virgilina Distilling Company begged to have its picture made

Never to plan too far in advance, I registered for the race late, and thus, searched for a hotel room late. Nothing to be had in Clarksville, so the next best was a place called the Berry Hill Resort in South Boston, VA. The pictures looked beautiful, but I’ve been duped by that ploy before, so I told Janet the place looked fine on their website, but who knows.

Well Holy COW, the place was everything and more than the pictures online. This is a breakthrough for me, since my hotel booking privileges were almost suspended within my circle of friends due to my inability to judge a book by its cover. We once stayed in a room that had mold hanging from the ceiling. No lie. Anyhoo, our stay at Berry Hill was fantastic from the minute we checked in until well after we checked out (we hung around for lunch and to explore the grounds a little). I have more to share about Berry Hill, but that’s going to take a post of its own. Stay tuned!

The main house, or Mansion, at the Berry Hill Resort

Back to the 5K: this little Lakefest thing is an annual event in Clarksville, VA (population 1,400) that attracts upward of 60,000 people each year. The festivities include hot air balloons (we saw the ascent while driving to the race), arts and crafts vendors, live music, food, the Gathering Of The Boats, and a fireworks show. This small town throws a big party!

Speaking of small town, the race registration email gave me an address for the race: Intersection of Hwy 58 and Hwy 15. End of directions. So I think, of course, it’s a small town. When we get to the intersection as noted, there will be the race. Oh no.

We drove to the intersection and saw nothing other than a couple of businesses and four corners. No sign, tent, registration table, not even a group of people hanging around. We pulled in line with a bunch of vehicles headed toward the festival. At the entrance, the gentleman directing traffic knew nothing of a 5K, but when I told him it was hosted by the YMCA, he sent us on our way to the Y. Sure.

Ten minutes later, we arrive at the Y along with nobody else. Just us. Luckily, the building was open and there was an employee inside who was filling in and had no details about the race, except a printed flier. A flier with the ADDRESS! Now why in the world would someone make the decision to include the address on the paper flier but not on the website? The Yooper in me says aye-aye-aye!

The kind fill-in guy sent us back to the original intersection, mostly. The registration tent was at a gas station that was just off the intersection that we couldn’t see as we drove by the first time. We pulled into the parking lot just in time to see the runners crossing the bridge. Running. As in the race had already begun.

I rushed to the registration table and notified them of the incomplete address online, grabbed my bib and swag bag, and off I went. Apparently I bypassed the timer, because I’m not listed on the results posted online. Hmph. I promise you, I finished all 3.1 miles. Palm to face.

Attached my bib and I was ready to roll…finally!

The bigger story is that the views were gorgeous. The 5K took us over the Roanoke river and through a quaint, downtown riverside neighborhood. The course went through a smidge of the vendor tents, but that’s as far as we got into Lakefest. It was a million degrees with as much humidity, and after the 3.1 miles my only thought was to get in the air-conditioned vehicle and get to the hotel for a shower. Once back at the resort, we made the co-executive decision to stay for lunch and then head back home. It was too hot for these old broads to Lakefest.

Roanoke River in Clarksville, VA
Another shot of the Roanoke River in Clarksville, VA
Crossing the bridge back to the finish line well behind the rest of the pack (they were already looking at race results)

This 5K in Every State adventure has taken me to some of the most beautiful places I would not have otherwise seen, and it has given me quality, belly-laughing time with my friends. I count myself fortunate to have put this on my bucket list, because who doesn’t love a win-win?