It's about you against the clock, and against the course
The Old Dominion stands for tradition - the tradition of each individual against a challenging course, on a traditionally hot and humid weekend with the 24
hour time limit. It is the people that have run it in the past and will run it in the future. And it is the people
that help with the race every year. It is the Old Dominion.
The Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run was started in 1979 by Pat and Wayne Botts to give East Coast runners an opportunity to complete 100 miles on foot in 24 hours or less over the rugged terrain of northern Virginia. In 1979 and 1980, the race began and ended at the beautiful Morven Park Estate in Leesburg, Virginia. The first trail was designed to cross many of the routes that had been used by George Washington as he surveyed the land around Leesburg and in the Shenandoah River Valley. In the inaugural race in 1979, 45 brave souls appeared to face an unknown challenge.
Today, we allow 90+ starters to begin at the Shenandoah County fairgrounds and meander through downtown Woodstock before ending up in the mountains of the Fort Valley area. We continue to honor our roots and remain true to what its always been about-- you against the clock, and against the course.
The Old Dominion 100 Mile Endurance Run is more than just a race. It is more than just four marathons run back to back.
It is more than an event in the yearly schedule. It is the Old Dominion.
USAT&F recognized Pat Botts for over four decades of contributions and leadership in the establishment of the sport of Long Distance 100 mile endurance running in the United States. First a 100-mile rider, then an internationally ranked ultra runner, holding the course record for JFK for women over 50 years old. She held this title for nearly 30 years before it is broken in 2019.
More runners showed up than we ever expected to see. No one truly knew what to do with the runners.
So much so that the ride team advised the runners to not take salt tablets
(we would later learn that salt would help runners greatly) and we would see Barbara "Bobby" Allen stopping to take smoke breaks
along the way to her first female finisher title this year. Finishing in a time of 22:32:13.
Entry fee was $25 and we only had 3 aid stations. The run and the ride started in Leesburg, VA.
In 1980, we required runners to have completed a 50 miler in 10 hours or less.
In addition, we limited the field to 50 this year.
Frank Bozanich sets a record (15:17:22) that will take 12 years to be broken.
The ride and run moves out to Front Royal, VA. The field is limited to 75 runners and requiring all runners to have "handlers."
By 1982, we had 8 check points for the runners.
This is the one and only year we see a 3 way tie and it's for first place. Rusty Donahue, David Horton, Donald Helfer.
This year marks the only year in OD history that a penalty was applied to a runner's time. The course was changed late in the game and due to poor marking the front runner, Ed Foley made a wrong turn. Once the error was found, the ride fixed the markings. The ride committee decided to impose an 1 hour penalty, giving Foley a 2nd place finish.
Our first heat wave hit this year, we would quickly catch on that this can easily
happen on the first weekend in June. We saw 37 start, only 13 finish. Ed Foley, a previous winner
and the only runner to have started and finished all the OD runs thus far dropped out at mile 82.
We also get to see Tom Green finish his first of many 100s.
Also we've had runners over the age of 50 start in previous years, but this was the first year we see a finisher over the age of 50, and two of them nonetheless! Rob Volkenand (53) in a time of 22:49:00 and Vince Foote (50) in a time of 23:38:00.
Laura Perry was first to do both the ride and the run. A few years later she would bring the idea to the Vermont ride, which would lead to the creation of the Vermont 100 Miler Endurance Run.
More History to come! In the meantime, check out the redbook for more on our History.