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Neal Gorman Friday, 18 November 2011 09:12 TWEET COMMENTS 1

Virginia Playground

Charlottesville offers slick city singletrack and world-class running in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains

Photo by Natalie Krovetz

Charlottesville is nestled in the foothills of Central Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where rolling foothills blend into the cascading mountaintops of Shenandoah National Park. The town is home to the University of Virginia (UVA), a diverse mix of talented trail runners and endless miles of singletrack.

Charlottesville resident, John Holden, 66, has spent the past 28 years running in-town trails, which he says sets Charlottesville apart from other trail-running communities. "You can enjoy an amazing run, without driving to trailheads, on 100-percent trail with no road crossings," says Holden. The Rivanna Trail is a prime example. Accessible from various trailhead junctions around town, the trail passes through the Rivanna River Watershed, connecting in an 18-plus-mile loop of singletrack.

Greenberry's Coffee and Tea, located downtown, 100 yards from the Rivanna Trail in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, is a common meeting place for runners. "Baristas know runners by name," says Sophie Speidel, a trail runner and UVA alumnus. "The hot drinks and breakfast plates are good, too." Speidel is a regular organizer of social trail runs in town (including the Winter Solstice Run on the Rivanna Trail the first day of winter each year) and is an active member of the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners Club and the Virginia Happy Trail Runners Club.


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