For the sixth year in a row, thousands of runners and spectators from all over the United States and other parts of the world will descend upon Fredericksburg a couple of weeks after Mother’s Day for the Marine Corps Historic Half marathon. The 2014 race starts at 7 a.m. on May 18.

historichalflogo_0.gifYou might be surprised to learn that ol’ Fred is a veteran of this race—as a clock enthusiast, I embrace any sport that gives me an excuse to purchase a fancy-schmancy GPS-enabled timepiece. Along the course, I’ve heard many an out-of-town runner offer a breathless mid-race resolution to come back and visit Fredericksburg after enjoying the scenery along the 13.1-mile course, which offers views of just about every part of the city.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your race weekend here. If it’s your first visit to Fredericksburg, I certainly hope it won’t be your last.

See downtown – If your hotel is in Celebrate Virginia near the starting line, you might not want to get back in your car after arriving for packet pickup at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center on Saturday. No worries! You can catch a free shuttle from the Healthy Lifestyle Expo that will make three stops in Fredericksburg’s historic downtown district. The shuttle, provided by the city of Fredericksburg, will run from 11 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Many downtown merchants are offering special deals and discounts to runners during race weekend. Click here for a list (or find them on page 21 of the race program).

Fuel up – Carbs and lean proteins are typically your best bet the night before a big race, and Fredericksburg has some great places to find them. Get off of the downtown shuttle at Hurkamp Park and walk down William Street to either Ristorante Renato or Castiglia’s Italian Restaurant for a traditional plate of pasta. If you’re up for Asian cuisine, check out Umi Japanese Fine Dining for artfully made sushi and other dishes that have quite a following among local foodies, or Miso Asian Grill and Sushi Bar, another popular destination. Both of these restaurants are along U.S. 1 near Cowan Boulevard. Find a full list of area dining options here.

Cheer them on – If you’re one of the thousands of spectators expected at this race, you can catch a free shuttle from the Walmart parking lot in Central Park to Hurkamp Park at mile 7.5 of the Historic Half course, and back. This shuttle will run continuously from 6:30 a.m. until 10:15 a.m. Check out page 9 of your race program for more suggestions on where to watch the action. 

Reward yourself – After running 13.1 miles, you deserve a treat. For a reward that only Fredericksburg can deliver, head to Carl’s Frozen Custard at 2200 Princess Anne Street for a cone, cup, shake or malt full of this famous frozen treat. For another frosty option, spend some time with the book-length beer menu at downtown’s Capital Ale House. If a big plate of good food is what you’re looking for, take your appetite to the Bavarian Chef in the former Fredericksburg train station, where many entrees come with enough food for two meals, but the quality of the German cuisine and the experience are top-notch.

Good luck, runners. Rest assured that as you plan your trip to Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg is making plans to cheer you on. We’ll see you on the course.

Last Updated:
December 14, 2018