By Chuck Jackson
Northern Virginia Daily Sports Correspondent
Go To: Race Report
There's an Old Dominion 100 after all and it's running this weekend in Shenandoah County.
It's not exactly the original Old Dominion - the one hosted by Fort Valley resident Pat Botts and her family - but race secretary Mike Robertson is back for the reincarnated OD 100.
Botts decided over the winter to cancel this year's run. Robertson was against the idea of cancellation and persuaded another county resident, Brent Smart, to take a stab at being race director.
"Brent has done everything I asked him to do," Robertson said.
Officially this race is named the Old Dominion 50- and 100-Mile Memorial Run. The course will begin this year at the Ramada Inn, in Woodstock, and will take the familiar run up Woodstock Tower Road and down into Fort Valley. From there, runners will trek on public roads - the George Washington National Forest disallows use of its trails for official endurance runs on holiday weekends - to aid stations set up on Boyer Road and Mertz Farm.
The 14 runners taking on the maiden 50-mile race will turn around and return on the same route to the hotel. The 100 mile runners, a total of 37, will do the route a second time after passing through a strenuous medical review scheduled to be set up in the hotel parking lot.
The race also features a four-hour cushion to earn a belt buckle, albeit a bronze one. Those running a sub-24-hour race will take home a newly-designed silver buckle.
Robertson will once again be running in addition to his official duties. Floridians Miles, 50, and Barbara (47) Frye-Krier have served on the race committee with Robertson and Smart and have also entered the fray.
Harvey Hall, 36, who also serves in the U.S. Army with Robertson, 51, will be returning as will the winner of last year's Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run, Serge Arbona, 37, of Baltimore.
Two teams have entered the race. To be eligible to win the team division, at least three team members must finish and one of the three has to be female.
Arbona, who had never run a 100 before last June's OD, returns to the Shenandoah Valley with four teammates (Lisa Smith-Batchen, 41, of Victor, Idaho; Darren Worts, 31, of Chatham, NJ, Joseph Desna, 33, of New York City and Don Meyer, 54 of Westminister, Md.
The Frye-Krier's, who hail from Largo, Fla., make up two-fifths of the Florida Ultra Group team. Joining the pair are Chris Rodatz, 56, of Orange Park; Richard Valentin, 55, of Stuart and John Wood, 52, of Seminole.
Andy Nazworth, a 38-year-old runner from Mt. Airy, Md., said he's glad the race is a go.
"It may not be the same course but that doesn't mean it's not the Old Dominion," Nazworth said. "I want to thank the race staff for working so hard to keep the tradition going."
Robertson added he's proud of the expected turnout.
"I'm thrilled to have 50 runners and hope we can take good care of them," Robertson said. "Hopefully, they'll want to come back next year when Pat and her family returns."
Chuck Jackson is a free lance writer, living in Maurertown, Virginia. He coverage includes ultramarathons in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and wherever else someone is willing to pay him. He may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
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