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Culpeper Times • May 12-18, 2016
No rain, a rainbow and a good run for Saturday’s annual Wicked Bottom 5K By Marshall Conner TIMES CONTRIBUTOR
Sunshine finally broke through the clouds and a momentary rainbow appeared above the scenic Old House Vineyards and historic Lenn Park last Saturday. For a few precious hours the weather cleared as the 7th Annual Wicked Bottom 5K and Kids Fun Run took place to the delight of organizers and runners. Over 255 registered runners participated in the 5K increasingly known for its stunning views and eclectic additions to the normal cross-country format. There was a drone buzzing overhead, guitarists playing in the woods, wine tastings, massages and yoga to soothe runners following the run. Two first-time participants were the top overall finishers in the 5K, they also happen to be twin sisters so they’re used to arriving close together. The best-overall time (18:37) went to Stephanie Borland, 24, of Reston and the second best time (18:58) went to her sister Maria Borland. Third place (19:18) went to Grant Stewart, 16, of Spotsylvania--the top male finisher in the race. “It was a nice experience, the whole day was well-organized and fun,” said Borland after the race. “I enjoyed the trail section of the course and I’m happy with my run today. I’m a post-collegiate distance runner, I ran at Mount Saint Mary’s College.” Stewart, also a first-time runner praised the event over a cool cup of water. “I liked the course. It’s pretty challenging—it’s not too often that you have an incline at the end of the run. I liked the guitarist playing in the woods. It’s a very nice venue for the run,” said Stewart. “I’m happy with my finish.” His family also enjoyed the run earning two additional medals. His mother took home a second place finish for females in the 45-year-old category. His father just missed the cut-off with a fourth place finish. “I enjoyed the uphill finish, I liked the guitar playing, in fact I know the musician—so that was perfect,” said Christine Stewart, Grant’s mother. “We have a large group running here today—we have family and colleagues from Wilderness Chiropractic. This was our first time running this event so
PHOTO BY MARSHALL CONNER
A rainbow beamed over Lenn Park Saturday heralding a break in the rain and a good run for several hundred who participated in the Wicked Bottom 5K and Kids Fun Run. we couldn’t be happier. I also liked concluding the day with yoga.” Before the 5K a ½ Mile Fun Run was organized for the younger crowd. Sixteen children ran the course led by a friendly teenage guide wearing rabbit ears. “Over the last few years I came in second, third and…first today,” said Max Clements, 9, of Culpeper, who was the first to cross the finish line. “My friend usually wins this but he’s not here today—so I used his technique. I sprint as fast as possible and that way I have a lead, then I just hold my lead. The volunteer guy with the rabbit ears helped keep me on pace.” By any measure this year’s Wicked Bottom 5K was a wicked good time. The name Wicked Bottom always evokes subtle notes of sin committed in a distant past, but this year’s run was all about goodnatured healthy fun amid the rows of grapevines. The race was organized by Culpeper Parks and Recreation to benefit the Culpeper Recreation Foundation, a non-profit fundraising committee that helps provide additional funding for Culpeper County’s parks. On the course runners follow a gravel road through the vineyard
grounds onto an intersection with Old Stevensburg Road before entering historic Lenn Park. Runners complete the run yards from the front porch of the historic 1890s farmhouse that inspired the vineyard’s name. Medals were awarded to the top three male/female finishers across various age groups. “All I can say is that our staff did a remarkable job adapting to the weather conditions and providing the community with a wonderful event,” said John Barrett, Director of Culpeper Parks and Recreation. “Of course, the net revenue will go to the Culpeper Recreation Foundation and eventually to the construction of a playground located at the Culpeper Sports Complex.” Organizers were elated with the level of community involvement, the break in weather and the many sponsors and volunteers mobilized for the event. “This year’s event went really well. It was our largest event to date and there were a lot of smiling faces at the end, so I always take that as a good sign. Best part – the rain held off until we were finished,” said Tabitha Riley, Programs and Facilities Supervisor for Culpeper Parks and Recreation. “A
big thank you goes to Battlefield Automotive Group of Culpeper for sponsoring the event, to Old House Vineyards for once again hosting, to all of the event supporters and friends of Wicked Bottom that donated financially, provided door prizes, or other in-kind services. Also, a huge thank you goes to all the volunteers – without them this event would not be possible.” Many first-time visitors ask why the land between Salubria and Stevensburg was once labeled wicked. In 1976, historian Mary Stevens Jones wrote, “Wicked Bottom is said to have received its name from the rowdy activities of the wagon passengers who often used the spring site as an overnight campsite.” Because of its numerous inns and taverns in the late 1800s and early 1900s Stevensburg gained a rather shadowy reputation among local residents. Among the notorious pastimes of the day were horse-racing, rooster-fighting and gambling, according to historical accounts. The Wicked Bottom 5K continues to be a family-friendly affair. Marshall Conner is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. He may be reached at kelpiescot@gmail.