James River Trail Runs

The James River Trail Runs will take place on October 1st, 2022.  The race takes place in gorgeous James River State Park, nestled near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Amherst Virginia.  The race offers 3 distances, a 10 miler, a 30 miler (50k) and a 50 miler.  The 50 miler is also available as a relay option.  All three distances begin at 7:30am on October 1st.  The cutoff for all three distances is 11:30pm (16 hour cutoff).


No DNF’s

This is a unique race in that it takes a page from fixed time distances.  Once a runner completes 1 loop (every loop is approximately 10 miles) you are counted as a finisher.  You sign up for the distance you want.  As long you complete a loop you will be counted as a finisher for a lesser distance.  The idea behind this is to encourage new trail runners to aim high.  In other words, if you sign up for the 50 miler and only complete 3 loops, you will be credited as a 50k finisher.


The course is a roughly 10 mile loop.  The first half of the loop features a mix of mostly singletrack and some double track.  There are short steep climbs (1/4-1/2mile) followed by an equal descent.  Though there are plenty of roots and rocks this stretch is very runnable.  The second half of the loop follows along the James River and features flat, wide trails.

The race begins at Shelter 1 near the canoe livery and group campground.  They follow Cabin Loop Spur to Cabin Loop.  After a short distance on Cabin Loop runners pick up Taylor Pond Loop.  After seeing Taylor Pond, runners pick up Running Creek Trail for a short steep climb up to Ridgeline Loop.  Runners turn right onto Ridgeline Loop and run this great section of single track.  After a lollipop on Ridgeline Loop runners pick up Running Creek Trail once again towards the front of the park.  After crossing Park Road runners pick up Branch Trail.  After a short, fast downhill runners climb a little.  Eventually they hit a nice descent towards branch Pond Trail connecter.  Here they run through the primitive campground.  At roughly mile 5, they pass a bathrooms and a small aid station.  After the aid station they begin a steep climb along a fire road.  Eventually they pick up Cabell Trail.  After a spell on Cabell Trail runners hit Dixon Landing Overlook.  This leads to a fast downhill section until runners hit a short pavement stretch which spills onto River Trail.  Runners will follow River Trail for a few miles around the James River.  After a few miles on River Trail runners will hit a stretch of pavement at the canoe landing/picnic area.  This begins the final, steep climb towards the finish line.

Runners completing the 10 miler will complete 1 loop.  30 mile runners complete 3 loops.  50 mile runners complete 5 loops

Aid Station/Drop Bags/Crew/Pacers

There is one main aid station, the start/finish line at Shelter 1.  Runners will pass this every ten miles.  They are welcome to keep drop bags and chairs at the start/finish line.  Crew can also access their runners at the finish line.  Crew can also access their runners at the secondary aid station.  The secondary aid station is located at the bathrooms at the primitive campground.  No drop bags are permitted at the secondary station.  Pacers are permitted for the 30 and 50 milers.  30 mile runners may have crew after the second lap.  50 mile runners may have pacers after completion of the 3rd lap.


Relay teams run the same course as everyone else.  Relay teams are made up of up to 5 individuals.  Relay teams can be same gender or mixed gender.  They can choose to run the whole 10 mile loop and hand off or alternate runners at the secondary aid station.


The main aid station will have a wide selection of food.  We will offer burgers, broth, candy, pretzels, pb&j, pb&nutella and fruit.  Plus we always have a few surprises.  The secondary aid station will be more limited.  Primarily it will have fluids, some fruit and and couple other items.  Vegetarian items (beyond burgers, vegetable broth etc. ) are normally available during the race.  If you need something, feel free to ask for it ahead of time and I will do my best to provide it


Every finisher will receive a finisher’s award.  You receive an award for the distance you complete.  If you are a drop down finisher (i.e. signed up for the 50 miler but only finished 30 miles) you are ineligible for a top 3 prize.  Top 3 prizes will be awarded for male and female for each distance.


This is a dog friendly race.  Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as you have let the RD know ahead of time.  This course does not lend itself to strollers.  They are prohibited


Sunrise is at 6:45am.  Lights are no needed in the morning.  Sunset is at 6:56pm.  All runners leaving for a loop after 6pm should carry a light.  This is a dark park.  There are no cities nearby so the chances for ambient light is very low.

Virginia State Parks Adventure Series

This race (10 miler) is part of the Virginia State Parks Adventure Series.  The more races in state parks you participate in, the better your chances of winning

Virginia State Parks Adventure Series


Refunds are not possible.  Deferrals can be made with prior coordination with the Race Director.  Deferrals are for injury and COVID related reasons.  The 10 miler cost $35 before April 1st and $40 after.  The 30 miler cost is $60 until April 1st and $75 after.  The 50 miler is $80 before April 1st and $95 after.

The Park charges a use fee to vehicles entering the park.  You pay that fee as part of your race registration fee.


As with every one of our races, we offer a discount for military, veterans, fire, EMS, police, medical and teachers.  Simply enter “Thanks” when you check out for a discount.


The park offers camping with electric hook-ups, primitive camping and new cabins for rent.  Reservation details may be found on the James River State Park website


James River Ultras Trail Map