Nasty 9 trail race still running

Individual runners run the course on their own time to limit contact

Emery Wright

The fourth annual Nasty 9 Trail Run at Brushy Hills occurred virtually for the entire month of September.

Participants individually ran or walked the challenging nine-mile course in order to benefit the community. The $20 registration fee served as a fundraiser for the Friends of Brushy Hills and the Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA).

Peter Jetton, the race director and the law school’s assistant dean of communitcations and marketing strategy, said the pandemic led to fewer runners.

“As expected, registration is down this year for this ‘virtual format.’ We currently have around 60 signed up, which is about half the norm,” Jetton said.

Brushy Hills Preserve is on the outskirts of Lexington. Around 600-acres, the preserve has a variety of hiking trails for a range of skill levels.

The run covers 2,000 feet of vertical gain on the Brushy Hills Trails. In previous years, the single-day event attracted over 100 runners and also hosted a separate, four-mile distance race.

“It is a fairly unrelenting course. Nasty like a snake bite, not nasty like spoiled milk, if you will. I thought it would make a cool and funny name for a race,” Jetton said.

Jetton and Director of Outdoor Education James Dick said they have been running the trails at Brushy Hill for years. They founded the race to expose more people to trail-running and to fund the volunteer group that maintains Brushy Hills.

“COVID-19 changes everything,” Dick said. “We still are doing it, but for the whole month” instead of just one day.

Racers uploaded their results online to compete for the fastest time, trophies and prizes from race sponsors. Sponsors included the Washington and Lee Univeristy Law School, Lex Running Shop, Devil’s Backbone, The Outing Club and Cornerstone Bank.

The Outing Club offered to pay half of members’ registration fees in order to support the annual fundraiser.

“For those who like company, I would definitely grab a friend or roommate and do it with them,” said Francis McIntosh, ‘22, Outing Club Key Staff Member who ran the race in September.

Some good advice from runners: fast walking is much more effective uphill. Take a printed map and follow the white ribbons.