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River Heritage Trail a beautiful place to run

Date published: 12/5/2012

I sit here, sweaty and full of thanks. I just ran a one-man race on the nearly complete Rappahannock River Heritage Trail. I am happy to say it is a shining success! My run today made me full of gratitude for the many factors that got us here.

One of them was the ever-growing YMCA Turkey Trot and more than 4,000 runners and walkers who were out on Thanksgiving morning enjoying a tradition that gives them a safe place to run with family and friends to celebrate their fitness, while solidifying a fine excuse for that third plate of food later in the day.

Another factor is the grassroots group that decided to display their loyalty to the downtown tradition of the Turkey Trot. There seemed to be more than 100 folks gathered at the library who adore downtown Fredericksburg so much that they refused to move their tradition as the race moved to more open pastures.

And let us not forget all the non-running residents who complain each year about road closures, minor detours, loud start lines, cheering crowds and volunteers, and pretty much everything that is involved in putting on a large, successful, safe race in the community.

I'm genuinely thankful for everyone. Without the strong foundation of a health-conscious community, there would be no need for a race to make more room for first-timers who want to become more active. Without the chorus of perturbed non-running residents, we would not be forced onto narrow shoulders and in search of more runner-friendly areas.

It seems these factors have given the city the confidence to invest in a wonderful trail system that meanders through beautiful parts town, never letting a screech of tires worry us again. The Rappahannock River is on full display and it smiles sweetly on the new trail.

My run was truly wonderful, and I have everyone to thank for continually paving the way to a more runner-friendly community.

Clay Murray


Clay Murray is manager of VA Runner Inc.