The Washington and Old Dominion 45M Trail - Virginia

August 4, 2018 -

THE PLAN: Meet at Purcellville Terminus for a Saturday 0700 to 0730 start. Upon finishing I will call for a ride and should be able to take a couple people back to their cars at Purcellville. I am anticipating nine hours or so to finish. We should be able to resupply at vending machines and convenience stores along the route, so bring along some money.

There's a thin strip of asphalt stretching from just outside of Washington, D.C. to Purcellville, Va., some 44.8 miles in length. It has some undulations and serves as a perfect spot to put in some running miles. The W&OD Trail sits on the old Washington & Old Dominion train line. Much of it is lined with trees and, as you make your way west, farms and fields full of horses and other livestock.

The lowest point on the W&OD Trail, at mile 0, is 141 feet above sea level and the high point, occurring at mile 38.2, is 610 feet. Despite the small change in elevation, however, there are several points along the trail that feature some rolling features. Between mile 24 in Sterling and mile 32 in Leesburg, for example, are some up-and-down rollers that aren't big, but they're big enough for runners to feel. And from mile 32 out to the highest point on the trail at Clarks Gap, the trail gains 340 feet. From the trailhead in Shirlington, close to the border of historic Alexandria, the trail rises 306 feet — continuously, save for a few respites — in the first 10.5 miles. The trail also has water fountains placed at strategic locations along the way.

Miles 0-45

Miles 45-32

Miles 32-20

Miles 20-10

Miles 10-0



detail of Mile 0 at Shirlington
Resupply Points:
11.0 - McDonalds, next to trail
18.0 - 7-Eleven, next to trail.
21.5 - 7-Eleven, next to trail
35.0 - 7-Eleven, 0.25 miles north of trail