The Washington Redskins arrived in Richmond on July 25 to begin training camp, scheduled to run through August 16 at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center located at 2401 W. Leigh Street.
Fan Appreciation Day is Saturday, August 3. The gates will open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Redskins.com suggests fans bring lawn chairs or blankets as there are no bleachers. The team will begin practice at 12 p.m.
For those who have the need to feel the heat of stock cars rushing past them and the surface beneath their feet rumble, Virginia is the perfect destination. You’re going to LOVE the dirt tracks, road course, NASCAR Home Tracks and two of NASCAR’s toughest Sprint Cup Series venues this spring.
Martinsville Speedway’s claim to fame is that it’s the shortest of all the tracks NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series runs. Dubbed “the paperclip,” Martinsville’s straightaways are only 800′ long and the turns are a shallow 12 degrees. Fans who turn out for races here are treated to plenty of beating and banging, which tends to result in terse words and fisticuffs.
Richmond International Raceway is located in Richmond, Virginia. Since its first NASCAR race in 1953 the track has operated under three names, five configurations and two surfaces. RIR is the only track to host all of its major events “under the lights,” and it’s the only track that all three Petty drivers – Lee, Richard (The King) and Kyle – have won.
Racing at RIR reconvenes April 26 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the ToyotaCare 250. Kids 12 and under are free for this race and the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, making it easy to introduce your child to motorsports. The following night at RIR the big boys of NASCAR take to the 3/4-mile “D” shaped track for the Toyota Owners 400. A night race under the lights is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Both Martinsville and RIR host NASCAR’s top echelon of drivers twice each year giving Virginia four races total. Within no other state can Sprint Cup fans choose from four races at two tracks just 180 miles apart. If you include Bristol Motor Speedway, as we often do thanks to the VA/TN border splitting the downtown, that’s six races with Bristol just 170 miles from Martinsville. Yep, Virginia is a haven for NASCAR fans.
For a down-home race feel, check Virginia’s dirt tracks and NASCAR Home Tracks:
Virginia’s scenery, history, climate and geography all make each running opportunity unique. With those qualifiers in mind, check out these great runs for 2013.
1. Lush and mysterious, the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half-Marathon & Children’s 1/2-Mile Cub Run in Chesapeake runs parallel to the historic Dismal Swamp Canal. Runners can expect their paved pathway to be highlighted by the forested wetlands and be anything but ‘dismal’. Every participant that crosses the finish line will take home a finisher’s medal. April 13, 2013. $70 registration fee.
2. Elevation change can present a real challenge to runners. Are you game for the more than 7,000 total feet of elevation change the Blue Ridge Marathon has in store? Kicking off in downtown Roanoke, the event also includes five-person relays, a half-marathon option and a YMCA kids’ marathon. April 20, 2013. $75-$85 registration fee for the marathon.
Miller Lite Filthy 5K Mud Run at Dominion Riverrock, Richmond
3. The Miller Lite Filthy 5K Mud Run is one of the first events of weekend-long Dominion Riverrock, the East Coast’s premier outdoor lifestyle festival held annually in Richmond. Those who have endured mud runs will likely find this one to be among – if not THE – toughest. Expect to trudge through the James River, rock hop and be thrown more natural obstacles than just a few roots and branches. The massive mud pit at the end is all that stands between you and an ice cold frothy beverage. May 17, 2013. $40-$55 registration fee.
4. Beautifully rolling fields, historic farms and canopied country lanes are the scenery you can expect when you run the Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon from Doukenie Winery in Hillsboro. The post-race activities include a full-blown Wine & Music Festival with great food, entertainment and wine, of course. June 1, 2013. $115 registration fee.
5. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon is centered on the breezy Virginia Beach oceanfront. It’s flat and fast, an appealing feature to any runner, which must be why more than 20,000 show up each year. Or maybe it’s due to the largest half-marathon prize purse in the United States that awaits the fastest one at the end. September 1, 2013. $85-$150 registration fee.
6. Up for an evening run? The Harvest Moon Run is a 10K in Martinsville with a 7 p.m. start. Run your race and then enjoy the TGIF after-party. September 6, 2013. Fees have not yet been announced.
Fall Foliage 5K & 10K in Waynesboro
7. Who doesn’t love amazing fall foliage? You might find yourself day dreaming instead of focusing on your run when you register for the Fall Foliage 5K or 10K in Waynesboro. The races are a part of the Fall Foliage Festival Art Show, so be sure to meet the dedicated artisans after your run. October 12, 2013. $25-$40 registration fee.
8. March 27 should be circled on your calendar if you’re anxious to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington. That’s registration day and this race was full in under three hours last year. It’s a memorable run because it begins and ends at the Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima) and affords views of the Pentagon, Capitol, and Lincoln, Jefferson, Korean and Vietnam Memorials. This marathon is the 5th largest in the nation and the 8th largest in the world. Don’t miss out! October 27, 2013. Fees have not yet been announced.
9. Which race is “America’s Friendliest Marathon”? It’s the Anthem Richmond Marathon, according to Runner’s World. Take to the historic streets of Richmond, traversing the diverse neighborhoods and enjoying the unique stops along the way. Hot pizza and a massage await you at the finish line. November 16, 2013. $80-$130 registration fee.
10. Skip the big Thanksgiving dinner and go for a Thanksgiving run instead. The Turkey Day 5K and Family Fun Run through Martinsville typically features Thanksgiving-themed costumes and fabulous prizes, too (aka turkey basters and whatnot). November 28, 2013. $20-$25 registration fee.
There are many more where these came from, so check out Virginia.org/RunVirginia to complete your run calendar for 2013.
Memories of bugle calls and growing up at the track come to my mind today as I see plenty of social media talk regarding tomorrow’s Strawberry Hill Races at Colonial Downs. For years now, this has been one of the best events in the Richmond area (probably Virginia), and one that my family has always enjoyed. The networking, tailgating, and thoroughbred action is always awesome.
Strawberry Hill Races
This event becomes the “Kentucky Derby” of the state as women show up in their finest dresses, heels, and hats! There are even themes for attire and this year is no different. I hear that it is 80’s attire since this year marks the 80th running and yes, even the men dress up. How fun! The prices are more affordable this year ($9 in advance, $12 at the door) and the gates open at 10am. There are steeplechase races, and my favorite, the flat dirt track racing. The weather looks great and I know that people are excited to eat, drink, and dress up!
Colonial Downs also hosts Virginia Derby Day. This is the richest and most important event to the legitimate racing world. This is always the third weekend in July (Saturday, July 21, 2012) and so it is always a scorcher! However, it is tons of fun and brings the best horses to the track. Last year there were bands playing, people dancing, a delicious BBQ dinner, and drinks. You may even buy a ticket for the “Hoot on the Hill” part of the track, where you’re allowed to bring your own tents, chairs, food, beverages, grills, etc. For $10, this is the best deal in my opinion, and becomes a smaller version of Strawberry Hill.
Two years ago I attended the July 4th Colonial Downs night of racing. It was family-packed all night with people of all ages. It didn’t start until the evening so our family had time to go to the pool before the races. Fans saw a night of racing followed by an epic fireworks event. This year, they are having a live concert with the fireworks trackside so I am sure that it will be a blast (no pun intended). There will even be a magician after the races for everyone to enjoy. Get more information about this year’s Racing to the Stars and Stripes event.
Virginia has plenty of horseracing events all summer at Colonial Downs. For more information on all of their events, visit Thoroughbred Summer Horse Racing. Hope to see you there!
Jane Govoruhk is the Assistant International Marketing Manager at Virginia Tourism Corporation, avid Hokie and Steelers fan, NASCAR enthusiast, music junkie, and author of this post.
Want to try your hand at fly-fishing? There’s a guide for that.
Virginia’s mountain resorts offer packages and have experts on-site to give lessons and take you to the streams. If a more low-key training session is more your style, there are quite a few guide services to choose from.