Festival of Leaves 5K
Warren Heritage Society Shenandoah Valley Runners
Sat. 8 October 2005
Front Royal, VA

Results Age Groups Race Report Past Results

2005Race Report
What would happen if you put on a race and nobody showed up? Luckily we didn't find out the answer at the sixth annual Festival of Leaves 5K back on October 8th in Front Royal... although we came pretty close. Thanks in part to less race promotion than usual, a steady rain on race morning, and another SVR-sponsored race unfortunately scheduled for the same morning up in Winchester, a mere six runners ventured out to Warren County High School for this year's 5K, with another two showing up for the 1 mile fun run/walk.

The participants were actually outnumbered by the race's volunteers, with Terry Leckie, Glenn Luttrell, Nancy Bullock, members of the local Young Marines, and officers from the Front Royal Police Department assisting race director Patrick Farris. But at least the low turnout meant that each runner got a random prize-- and then got a second random prize!

The rain made marking the course next to impossible, so the six 5Kers had to rely on each other and the occasional course marshals to stay on course. Festival of Leaves veteran Karsten Brown felt an extra responsibility to stay within shouting distance-- literally-- of Stephens City speedster Patrick Gladden, to make sure Gladden did not take any wrong turns. There was never any question that the 25-year-old Gladden would win, however, and his seven-second margin of victory over Brown, 31, was more than comfortable. Gladden earned the win in 18:38.

Warrenton's Duane Williamson, 42, was virtually assured of third place-- until he got a bit confused two and a half miles into the race. Having lost sight of Gladden and Brown and not being familiar with Front Royal, Williamson spotted a large school on his left and thought he was back at Warren County High School, so he turned left to enter the school grounds. Unfortunately for him, the school he'd seen was actually Randolph-Macon Academy. After a long detour through the R-MA campus, Williamson eventually found his way back to the real Warren County High School twenty minutes later.

Williamson's little adventure allowed fellow Fauquier County resident Jim Rohr to take third overall in 24:45. Fourth and fifth went to veteran runner Bob Gurtler (29:58) and newcomer Greg Mahoney (30:38), respectively. All three must've gotten a kick out of the fact that their names appeared in the race results which were printed in the next day's Washington Post!

Between the low turnout and the constant rain, the race was certainly a memorable and entertaining one for the few who showed up. Many thanks to Patrick Farris and his volunteers for keeping the race alive in 2005. Here's hoping that the Festival of Leaves 5K will continue in 2006 despite the scheduling conflict with the Winchester race!

Results Age Groups Race Report Past Results

The Festival of Leaves 5K Web pages are maintained by Karsten Brown.