The Virginia Ten Miler is held in Lynchburg, Virginia every year in September. The event began as a 10-mile race, but has expanded to include a 4-mile run, a children’s 1-mile, 1/2-mile, and 1/4-mile run, and a four-mile walk. The race, which started in 1974 with 188 runners, now has an estimated registration of 3000 runners.
The ten-mile race starts at E.C. Glass High School, loops through Riverside Park, and finishes back at E.C. Glass. The four-mile race starts at E.C. Glass High School and finishes at Randolph College. A bus transports the four-mile runners back to E.C. Glass. The children’s races, which are held Friday night, begin and finish at Riverfront Park on Jefferson Street.
After running the ten-mile course, you will understand why Lynchburg, Virginia is nicknamed the City of Seven Hills. Whether you are a seasoned runner or a novice, the 10 Miler can be quite daunting. However, with respect for the challenging course, an understanding of your limitations, and the proper training, you can survive the infamous Farm Basket Hill and finish the race in good shape.
Don’t wake up the morning of the 10 Miler and decide to take a run.
Two of the biggest mistakes people make are underestimating the difficulty of the course and overestimating their abilities. Without training, which does not have to entail only running, you are making it very difficult, if not impossible to finish the 10 Miler. Believe me, you do want to be out of shape when you are making that last push toward the finish line. I recommend you be comfortable running at least 6 miles on a fairly regular basis before attempting to run The Virginia Ten Miler.
Remember the Basics of Running
- Comfortable, appropriate shoes are a must when running. Don’t break in a new pair of shoes for this 10-mile run, or you will be pretty miserable by the time you reach the finish line. I recommend you get fit by a professional, because typically your running shoe size should be considerably larger than your normal shoe size
- Don’t dress too warmly. Remember, when running you will feel at least 10 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. It is better to be cool or even a little cold when you start. Having too much clothing on will make ten miles seem even longer. If you have someone waiting at the finish line, ask them to keep a jacket for you. You may need it when you start cooling down.
- Take water with you. Water is provided approximately every mile throughout the course, but it always helps me to have extra. Sometimes the next water station is just not soon enough, particularly as you’re nearing the finish line. Staying hydrated helps keep my energy level up. You will be tempted, but do not skip water stations.
- Pace yourself. You don’t have to keep up with the crowd. Many inexperienced runners start out too fast, and they end up paying the price later in the race. Unless you are a professional athlete, keeping a relatively steady pace throughout your run will be to your benefit and more than likely will result in a faster race time. If you extend yourself too much, you may either completely run out of steam or have to slow down significantly to recover. If you listen to what your body is telling you, you will know when you can speed up and when you need to slow down.
Establish your goal before starting the 10 Miler
Know what your goal is before you start the 10 Miler, so you know how much you want to push yourself.
- Is your goal just to finish?
- Do you have a specific completion time you are shooting for?
- Do you just want to have fun and to heck with how much time it takes?
Stay focused on your goal during your run. Regardless of whether you are able to completely meet the goal you set for yourself, finishing the 10 Miler is quite an accomplishment. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. You have a lot to be proud of!
Specific to the Virginia Ten Miler
The start of the race is 1 1/2 miles downhill. Don’t be misled by this relatively easy start. Awaiting you is a 1/2-mile steep climb, which tapers off to a gradual one mile climb to Rivermont Avenue. At this point, the course has few elevation changes until looping through Riverside Park. A short but steep climb at this 5-mile marker makes the loop through the park surprisingly difficult. The climb, which is 1/4 mile, then levels off the rest of the way through the park. The course leaves Riverside Park, retracing the route down Rivermont Avenue to the base of Farm Basket Hill. At this point you are 1 1/2 miles from the finish line. So close, but so far away!
It’s All Up Hill From Here
I thought my enthusiasm would allow me to kick it up a notch the last mile of the race, but it wasn’t until the last few hundred feet of the race that I was able to dig down deep for that dash across the finish line. What makes the Virginia Ten Miler so unique and so challenging are the hills, and the realization that when the finish line is only 1 1/2 miles away, it is all up hill from here.
See slideshow of The Virginia Ten Miler
See Virgina Ten Miler website for race information
See course and elevation map