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Mt. Trails

Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run

Information

All of the information you should need for the 2006 MMT is on this page or linked to it. If your question is not answered here, you may contact the RD, Stan Duobinis.

Summary

The MMT is a challenging 100 mile trail ultra over a demanding, rocky course in the Massanutten Mountains of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The course includes short but rugged mountain climbs that total over 18,000 feet. While the May date usually avoids Virginia's brutal summer weather, we have had rain and violent storms in prior years. The event is noted for its well-stocked, friendly aid stations and good course marking. The starting field is limited to 150 runners. In 2005, the race reached that limit.

Entry
  • Qualifications: Entrants must have completed an ultramarathon before entering the MMT 100. You should not enter this event if you do not have experience running on trails.
  • How to Enter: Entry opens on December 1. Entry is limited to the first 150 qualified entries received.
The Run
  • Start Time and Place: The run starts at 5 AM on Saturday, May 13, 2006, at the Skyline Ranch Resort near Front Royal, Virginia. The finish line is at the same location as the start. The course closes 36 hours later at 5 PM on Sunday, May 14.
  • The Course: The course is a loop in the Massanutten Mountains. A map, description. There there is a slight change in the course for 2006.
  • Aid Stations: There are 16 aid stations. All but the first few will be fully stocked. This year, there is an important change in aid stations. The old Visitor Center and 211E aid stations will no longer exist. In their place, there will be one aid station at the Picnic Area off of Route 211 just east of the Visitor Center. Runners will visit the Picnic Area aid station twice. Information on the new Picnic Area Aid Station | More aid station information.
  • Drop Bags: You may prepare a drop bag for delivery to most aid stations. Drop bags must be marked with your name, your race number, and the aid station name (not the aid station number). Drop bags must be delivered to the start by the time noted in the schedule. Drop bags may be picked up at the finish on Sunday afternoon. We do not plan to return unclaimed items remaining following the race. Consult the aid station chart to determine which stations accept drop bags. Not all do.
  • Course markings: The course will be marked with surveyor's tape. One color will mark the course, and another will bar entry to trails you shouldn't take. We will have glow-sticks on most of the night portions of the course. While the VHTRC has an established reputation for very well-marked trails, that doesn't mean you can't get lost if you don't pay attention.
  • Cut-offs: All aid stations with crew access have cut-off times that will be enforced. You must be out of the aid station before the cut-off. A race official will enforce the cut-off times. The overall time limit to complete the course is 36 hours. The cut-off times are listed on the aid station chart.
  • Pacers: Many people run MMT without help. The current women's course record was set without a pacer or crew. You may, however have a pacer accompany you from any aid station you leave after 6 pm. To help pacers and runners find each other, we have established the MMT Pacer Page. Also, important rules for pacers are available on that page.
  • Crews: We provide support so that you will not need a crew. But your crew is welcome to support you. Crews should comply with the rules for crews. Crew Instructions and Rules. The detailed rules for crews are on the Crew Instructions, but here are the important ones:
    • Crews cannot assist runners except within 200 feet of an aid station.
    • Crews must obey parking directions from aid station personnel.
    • Crews will not be allowed to enter the "runner only area" of some aid stations.
  • Awards: All finishers will receive an engraved belt buckle. Runners who finish under 24 hours will receive a silver buckle as well as the male and female winners in the categories noted below. At least two competitors must be entered in a category for a silver buckle to be awarded. Official finishers not earning a silver buckle will receive a pewter one. Silver belt buckle categories are:
    • Overall
    • Master (age 40-49)
    • Senior (age 50-59)
    • Super Senior (age 60+)
    • VHTRC
  • Visitors Award: If you run as far as the Visitor Center at US 211, but do not finish, you will receive a rocky reminder of your visit to Massanutten Mountain. This "Visitor Award" is given to entice you back another year to be more than a visitor to the MMT 100.
Important Points
  • Littering: Dropping any litter anywhere on the course is strictly prohibited. Carry all trash to the next aid station and dispose of it in an appropriate receptacle. Be sure to bury solid human waste properly. No one, other than another runner, should see you urinate.
  • Medical issues: You are responsible for your own safety. We do not provide any medical care during the run nor do we perform "weight checks." No doctors, nurses, or EMTs are available along the course or at any aid station. In case of an emergency, we will endeavor to get local emergency personnel to an injured runner as soon as possible, but due to the remote location of portions of the course, this could take hours. Many runners finish, or drop out, with bruises and scrapes. This is an event with risks.
  • Parking at Skyline Ranch Resort: All vehicles that enter the SRR property must register at the entrance gate. The VHTRC will absorb the parking charges for those not spending the night at the SRR. If you spend the night at SRR, including sleeping in your car, there is an additional fee that will be your responsibility. Entrants must pay any charges for night use of the Ranch.
  • Dogs: Dogs, even friendly ones and even those on a leash, can be disruptive for the volunteers and runners at the MMT. Please do not bring a dog into any aid station or the finish area. If you have a dog, please keep it away from the runners, the aid station itself, and the volunteers in the aid station. At the finish, please keep your dog away from the runners, the finish line, and the lawn and deck in the area of the finish line. Dogs are not allowed in the club house at SRR. If your dog wants to meet its running master along the course, please arrange for it to do so before or after the runner enters the aid station itself. Dogs should always be on a leash.
  • Crew Issues: Crews are asked to comply with all directions of Forest Service and aid station officials. It is critical to park legally. Crews should be familiar with the crew instructions and abide by their admonitions. Crews that do not abide by the rules could be excluded from the course and, in aggravated circumstances could cause the disqualification of the runner they are supporting.
Accommodations
  • Lodging at the Skyline Ranch Resort: Camp sites, trailers, and chalets are available at Skyline Ranch Resort (SRR) (540) 636-6061. Please make reservations with SRR. Please do not try to make reserva­tions before January 1.
  • Local Motels: Front Royal is the closest town to the starting line, about a 15-minute drive. Motel suggestions in Front Royal are the Super 8 (540-636-4888), Scottish Inn (540-636-6168), and the Quality Inn (540-635-3161).

Questions: Please call Race Director Stan Duobinis at 410-987-8172 if you have questions. The RD answers questions a lot better before 9 PM, Eastern Time. You may also e-mail the RD by using the contact form.

Revised November 2005

MMT Course Map

This is a map shows in gross terms how the 2006 course has been changed because of the fire and the forest closings. This map is not to scale and not precise. But it should give you a general orientation. The map is "borrowed" from the Shenandoah National Park map. The aid station numbers on this chart are no longer correct.

The outbound course is in red the second half of the course is in blue. You run south on red and north on blue. Several landmarks are noted. The aid stations are marked by their old numbers last year. The parts of the old course that will not be used have been marked out.

map-fire.jpg

Official Web Site: www.vhtrc.org/mmt/


Hiking the 71-mile Massanutten Trail

A Supplement to PATC's
Guide to Massanutten Mountain Hiking Trails
Wil Kohlbrenner, July 1, 2002

PATC's Massarock Crew completed many years of trail construction on Massanutten Mountain in 2001. The Forest Service then combined this newly constructed trail tread with other trails, creating a continuous 71-mile loop, orange-blazed, and named it the Massanutten Trail.

There is an interest in thru-hiking the Massanutten Trail, since its length suggests a week's worth of hiking for many hikers. This supplement supplies some of the information required to plan a thru-hike.

Recent changes to the trail system
The following trails were combined: (starting at the Elizabeth Furnace Picnic Area) a section of the Shawl Gap Tr, a long section of the Massanutten Mountain East Tr, a section of the Waterfall Mountain Tr, new sections of trail on Waterfall and Kerns Mountains, all of the Massanutten Mountain West Tr, all of the Signal Knob and Tuscarora Spur Trs, and a short section of the Tuscarora Bear Wallow Tr.

Both ends of the former Massanutten Mountain East Tr are now blazed white, the north end was renamed the Buzzard Rock Tr, the south end was renamed the Massanutten Connector Tr. The west side of the Waterfall Mtn Tr was unblazed and abandoned. The following names are retired: Massanutten Mountain West Tr, Massanutten Mountain East Tr, Duncan Hollow Tr, Signal Knob Tr, Tuscarora Spur Tr, and Waterfall Mtn Tr.

The Tuscarora Trail was not changed.

Signs have been erected at most intersections.

How to use this supplement
You must have PATC's Guide to Massanutten Mountain Hiking Trails, published in 2000. The 2000 hiking guide supplies descriptive information about the trails that were combined to form the Massanutten Trail. It also describes all the side trails and the road approaches, and supplies detailed information about the Lee Ranger District of the George Washington National Forest. That information is not repeated in this supplement. The Guide can be purchased at stores that cater to hikers or can be ordered from PATC or from the Forest Service.

You should have Edition 7 of PATC's Map G, Massanutten Mountain - North Half, published in May, 2002. This recently published map highlights the Massanutten Trail, including the recently completed sections of the trail. It supplies the correct trail names and blaze colors for all trails. Initially, the new map may be available only through PATC (703-242-0315, www.patc.net) and the Forest Service (540-984-4101, www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/gwj/lee).

The Massanutten Trail descriptions
This supplement supplies two descriptions of the Massanutten Trail, one going clockwise on the map, the other counterclockwise. Both descriptions start at the Signal Knob Parking area on Fort Valley Road, SR678.

These descriptions of the trail identify only the trail intersections, water sources and campsites. All other information about the trail can be found in the Guide to Massanutten Mountain (using the old trail names). Estimates of elevation change along the trail can be taken from the contour lines on map G.

Water sources
The foremost concern for backpackers is the availability of reliable water sources on the ridges and in some gaps. This supplement identifies all water sources using the terms reliable and unreliable. "Reliable" means you are likely to find water during a drought; "unreliable" means the source may dry up after only a few weeks of dry weather. Water in a reliable stream may not be running, but you can usually find water in pools along the streambed. The word "Cache" indicates a location where you might consider hiding a container of water before beginning your hike.

Note that "reliable" does not mean that the water is safe to drink without treatment. You should treat all water, including the water obtained at developed campgrounds, before drinking it or using it to wash utensils.

You can further reduce your water needs by practicing dry camping - no cooking and no campfire. You should carefully study the location of water sources, campsites, and use the contour lines on the map to determine elevation gain. This will enable you to estimate how much water to carry on each section of the trail.

Campfires
If you make a campfire, you must thoroughly extinguish it - with water. Campfires make sense only near a reliable stream in one of the three hollows. Also, drought conditions in recent years have caused the Forest Service to post temporary bans on all open flames, including campfires, and violaters have been fined. Call the Forest Service (540-984-4101 weekdays, 8 to 4:30) a few days before the start of your hike to learn of any fire restrictions. You can also ask about drought conditions, so that you will know whether to cache water.

A suggestion for making a water cache
A water cache can be left near a road crossing or at the intersection of a side trail. Walk along the Massanutten Trail from the intersect point until you find a prominent feature that you will be able to recognize again (examples: rock outcrop, multiple-trunk tree). Hide the water jug nearby, but well off the trail, perhaps dug into the leafmold behind a log or rock. Cover it with leaf litter. Count steps back to the trail, then back to the intersection, and write it all down.

Do not use flagging tape to indicate a cache point. Flagging tape gets removed, and items hidden near flagging have been removed.

Pack out all trash. A plastic water jug can be flattened and hung from your pack. Trash can be left at some of the picnic areas, as noted in the trail descriptions.

Campsites and tentsites
Hardened campsites are scarce. There are hunter firerings along the trail, but no space for a tent. The terrain is often steeply sloped, brushy and rocky, so even Leave-No-Trace sites are scarce. You have to be flexible in terms of choosing a place to camp and when to stop to camp.

A hiking group that expects to erect more than one tent may not be able to tent near each other. The few multi-tent campsites are often taken by scout groups, especially on weekends. There is one three-sided shelter. It may be available in midweek, but the shelter and nearby tentsites are crowded on weekends.

Tentsites are being constructed along the trail where there are none. Be alert to unblazed side trails that lead to these tentsites.

Hunting - Rifle Season in late November
Be sure to read the description of Hunting on page 14 of the guide. In particular, do not hike during the Thanksgiving holiday week, the most dangerous time to be in the national forest.

Feedback
The author is interested in receiving your comments. When hiking the trail, you may make observations that would be of interest to other hikers. Take notes as you go, and send comments and observations in the form of an email to publications@patc.net .

Official website: www.vhtrc.org/brr