Katie Arnold, 47, was the fastest woman on the 2019 Fodderstack 10K course, the last race held before COVID-19 came calling. It was Arnold's ninth victory running the Fodderstack.

The Rappahannock tradition was a COVID-19 victim last year

COVID-19 has not been kind to the Fodderstack 10K.

As recalled by Fodderstack race coordinator Jonathan Moore, first came the postponement of the April 2020 race, scheduled ahead to the fall of 2020, but as soon realized “fall was not a lot better.”

So race officials last fall instead set their hopes on April 2021, when surely the overall pandemic picture would improve enough for runners — and joggers and walkers — to tackle the hilly course from Flint Hill to Little Washington. As it turned out, the COVID numbers would only grow worse — especially here in Rappahannock County — while vaccine availability currently remains dismal at best.

Thus “with continued uncertainty regarding COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the 2021 Fodderstack 10K to the fall,” announce race organizers, who had hoped to hold the race two months from now on April 17.

Now with fingers firmly crossed, a new Fodderstack race date has been set for Saturday, Oct. 2.

“We’re working to open registration as soon as possible,” past, present and future runners are now advised. 

As it stands, about 100 racers who were set to run last year or this spring have rolled over their registrations for the 2021 Fodderstack. Others signed up to run in the postponed races simply donated registration fees to the Rappahannock County Park, the beneficiary of the race since its beginnings 43 years ago in 1979.

“Registration [for 2021] is not open yet, we’re still working through some of the details, but we’ll let everyone know as soon as possible,” Moore told the News over the weekend. “We’ll have a more comprehensive update in two to three weeks, with a lot more information.”

Added Moore, who has been affiliated with the Fodderstack for about 15 years, this being his fourth year as race coordinator: “We’ve made some big changes in the last couple of years, it always was a great race and it continues to improve every year.

“It is such a great community event, and hopefully we will have a great event in the fall. Mark your calendars!”

In fact, in glorious sunshine more than 300 competed in the 41st Fodderstack Classic in April 2019 — the last race held before COVID struck the county.

Twenty-four-year-old Leif Van Acker (Bib 59) was the overall winner of the 2019 classic, completing the hilly course with an impressive time of 37.56.4 (a 6:08 mile pace). “My best time was 35.46, but I was in high school then,” a hardly-out-of-breath Van Acker had told this newspaper at the finish line. 

As for the women, the first place overall finisher was 47-year-old Katie Arnold (Bib 281), with a time of 42.24.0 (a 6.51 pace). 

“This is my ninth victory,” said Arnold, a Rappahannock native who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She ran her first Fodderstack at age 7.

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