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Virginia > Varmint Half Marathon & 5K
Burkes Garden, VA  •  Saturday, June 14, 2014  •  Course Map

One of Virginia's smaller half marathon events, the Varmint Half Marathon & 5K usually welcomes more than 200 runners each year for the 13.1-mile and the 5K races combined, for a race that runs through Burkes Garden Community Center.

The race that takes participants on a loop course through the valley between two mountains in this part of the state's Appalachian Mountains known to locals as "God's Thumbprint," with plenty of trees and farmland along the side of the road during the race and the green, misty mountaintops in the distance.

The out-and-back race, which starts and finishes at the Burkes Garden Community Center on Burkes Garden Road, got its name from a story that's been passed down for generations in this small community that sits about 3,000 feet above sea level, the highest valley in Virginia. Decades ago, a coyote had run loose in the town, killing local villagers' sheep and causing thousands of dollars in damage to gardens and property.

Reportedly, big-game hunters were called in from out of town to assist in the hunt for the "varmint," as the creature came to be known, and they finally succeeded in hunting down and killing what turned out to be a large coyote. The "varmint" (the name stuck) was later stuffed and put on display in a local museum, and the awards for the half-marathon -- as well as the male and female overall winners of the 5K race -- bear the likeness of the sheep it hunted today.

Runners who feel up to the challenge of this race need to be ready for both a high-elevation run and plenty of sun -- sunscreen, sunglasses and a good protective hat are all must-haves -- as past years have seen plenty of sunny, warm weather throughout the event.

The course follows a counter-clockwise loop along paved country roads, starting at the community center on Burkes Garden Road and turning on East End Road -- where runners encounter the hillest stretch of the race -- and then Banks Mill Road and Gose Mill Road before heading back onto Burkes Garden Road. Just before the last mile or so of the race, there's a quick out-and-back detour onto Litz Lane, and then it's on to the finish line.

In addition to the half marathon and the 5K races for runners -- which has a scheduled starting time of 8:00 AM -- there is also a 13.1-mile non-competitive walk, which starts at 6:30 AM, and a one-mile "Varmint Dash" for kids age 12 and under that starts at 11:00 AM.

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled in a valley among the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, Burkes Garden typically sees some of its wettest weather of the year in June, a month that has brought record temperatures here as low as 29 degrees (in 1988) and as high as 89 degrees in 1988).

June Avg. Day of Race Monthly Precip.
Low: 53°F Low: 52°F Rain: 4.26 in.
High: 74°F High: 74°F Snow: 0 in.

Course Map

See the race route map for the Varmint Half Marathon


See race website


To reserve your spot in the late spring/early summer 2014 running of Burkes Garden's Varmint Half Marathon or 5K race, visit the event website.

Official Race Website


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SEE ALSO: 12-, 16- and 20-Week Half Marathon Training Plans
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