Run The Chessie! Run America’s most spectacular 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 event is sanctioned by USATF and all four race courses are now USATF certified. The Marathon is a Boston Qualifier.
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! USATF Certification VA22005DJR .
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. USATF Certification VA22004DJR .
10K runners will head towards Buena Vista first, turning back just after South River, then continue past the starting line towards Lexington, turning once more and running the final 2.5K downhill to the start/finish line. USATF Certification VA22003DJR .
5K 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. USATF Certification VA22002DJR .
26.2 Relay runners will follow the same course as the Marathon. There will be four legs to the relay of approximately 8.5m, 4.6m, 8.5m, and 4.6m. 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. 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 the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon.
Full Marathon registration includes a custom embroidered finisher’s hat, long sleeve, unisex, 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 long sleeve, unisex, 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.
10K & 5K runners will receive a short sleeve, unisex, tech t-shirt, race sticker, custom medals for all finishers, awards to top overall finishers and age group winners, and snacks and beverage following the race.
Marathon Relay registration includes, long sleeve, unisex, 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, so register now to ensure your spot.
Fun, Flat, Friendly, and Cows
While you're enjoying the great scenery, watch your step in the open range. Curious cows may leave some obstacles on the trail, but that's the only thing to worry about … MORE
While you’re enjoying the great scenery, watch your step in the open range. Curious cows may leave some obstacles on the trail, but that’s the only thing to worry about in this little race. It made me feel like a bunch of friends and neighbors organized a race and did a great job. It’s on a dirt trail in the woods that’s a little rough and rocky in a couple of sections, pretty smooth most of the way, and being on a retired railroad line next to a river, it’s flat. Really flat. I appreciated the great support from the race crew, spectators, and fellow runners. Parking was a little hectic because the race is on the verge of outgrowing the available space. In addition to the usual shirt and medal, I also got a very nice hat. Good snacks and pizza at the finish, too.
This race was a perfect fit for my preference to run smaller, lesser-known marathons on my 50-state journey. Put this one on your calendar.
A great race to run!
10/10 would recommend this race if you’re looking for a speedy scenic run on a well-groomed surface. I did the marathon relay for the second year in a row this … MORE
10/10 would recommend this race if you’re looking for a speedy scenic run on a well-groomed surface. I did the marathon relay for the second year in a row this year—it’s lots of fun to be out there with your teammates! Race day is very well organized, and there are great amenities both at the start/finish and at aid stations along the course.
Scenic local race worth traveling for
I have wanted to do this race for awhile since I am in Lexington often to see my daughter at W&L. Once you register, book your lodging ASAP because it … MORE
I have wanted to do this race for awhile since I am in Lexington often to see my daughter at W&L. Once you register, book your lodging ASAP because it is very limited. Packet pickup was easy and race day logistics were minimal. The trail was somewhat muddy from heavy rains the night before. Race conditions were pretty close to perfect, though, despite the mud. Cool start at about 46 degrees and overcast. By the end of the race it was sunny and high 50s so really awesome weather. Most of the runners are local or from Virginia but I thought it was worth traveling to do it. The course runs along the Maury river and through pastures so it is very scenic. I hit mile 13 and didn’t even realize I was almost finished. The marathon is the same loop twice, which really wouldn’t have been that bad. Technical long sleeved shirts in unisex sizes were ok. Would have liked women’s sizes. But really no complaints for a local race. I would do it again if I was going to be in the area.