Pop-Up “Treasure Hunts” in & around Mathews County

December 12-13 was the kickoff weekend for the club-sponsored Pop-Up “Treasure Hunts” in the county, with a few more to follow over the upcoming weekends. Participation is free & open to all – with the idea to introduce new walking, running and/or cycling routes – and provide incentive to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

Historic Bayside Landing was the destination of the Dec 12-13 Pop-Up and the treasure for all who ventured out was this souvenir 2020 pin.

What’s next? Similarly, a Dec 19-20 weekend Pop-Up is planned with a treasure awaiting walkers/runners/riders at Church of Francis de Sales near downtown Mathews.

A Holiday-themed ornament is the treasure for participants on Dec 19-20, ideal decoration for celebrating this time of year.

Future Pop-Up “Treasure Hunts” will be listed on the Local Events page and shared via social media with all members of the VTTR Facebook group. Don’t forget to share a picture of your treasure and your route with us at vttrunners@gmail.com. Just like Kat did – see below. Glad to hear that Kat is “back” in her running shoes!

This pop up inspired me to try my very first walk after a lengthy foot injury. This was my first day wearing two running shoes! We have such a beautiful environment to enjoy. I’m so glad to be back out in it, even for a short, slow and careful walk. Hope everyone enjoys their visit to the Bayside Pavilion.

Kat Sharp

Response to the latest Virginia guidelines on group activities, Nov 2020

Virginia Tidewater Trailrunners LLC (VTTR) is monitoring the latest VA COVID-19 restrictions and our future events in Dec, Jan & Feb are UNCHANGED and will proceed as planned: LIVE. Prior to the updated restrictions we’d already incorporated staggered starts & limits on spectators. Registration is open until we reach a 250 person max.

Runner shoes closeup

The applicable section of the new guidelines is copied below, and is effective November 15.

13. Recreational Sports. Indoor and outdoor recreational sports activities are permitted, provided participants and organizers of recreational sports activities comply with the following requirements:

a. The total number of spectators cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the occupancy load of the certificate of occupancy for the venue, if applicable, or 25 spectators per field. Races or marathons may have up to 250 participants, provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less.

Check our list of Local Events for more information on VTTR activities and other options for outdoor recreation in the area!

Social Distance Racing 2020 – new race format got its first trial on May 9.

Lindsay Newell & Lance South set off at their scheduled time for the By Appointment 5k.

On Saturday, May 9th 2020, Virginia Tidewater Trailrunners (VTTR) running club hosted a 5k race at Williams Wharf in Mathews County, Virginia. That statement would not be particularly noteworthy except for the fact that it was the first non-virtual running event held in the area since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020. The format of the event was designed with participant, spectator, and race personnel safety at the forefront: start times were set in advance and staggered 5 minutes apart (exceptions were made if participants were from the same household).

View Results

Zach Gibbs crosses the finish line of the By Appointment 5k with a time of 22:23.8.

Good news: this new format for the inaugural “By Appointment 5k” was a success. All participants adhered to the strict social distance guidelines and the handful of spectators present remained in or near their vehicles. What else was different?

  • No frills event: unlike other races, under this Social Distance race format, there was no water provided to participants before, during, or after the race. Participants brought their own.
  • Advanced registration: due to the logistics of scheduling race appointments per person, participants needed to sign up in advance on the Sunday before the event. Appointment times were communicated out on Monday.
  • No Cash & No Race Bibs: only online payments were accepted and race bibs were not used, ensuring a “touch free” race experience.
  • Awards & Giveaways: because all participants were not present at the same time, we skipped the post-race festivities (thus further eliminating the need for direct person-to-person contact).
  • Low Cost: all the amenities that were given up with this new format did come with a small silver lining – a very reasonable $12.50 registration cost.

We are still collecting feedback from our first set of “By Appointment” participants, so there may be more “tweaks” to the final format/logistics of these events. Based on the success of this first Social Distance race, keep on the lookout for similar ones in the future.

Taking the “no touch” concept to the next level, Tracey Tunstall races without appearing to touch the ground, and sets a new personal best (25:48.9) in the process.

If you’re interested in hosting a Social Distance Race and would like to get tips-and-tricks on how VTTR managed the format & logistics, feel free to reach out the By Appointment Race Director (vttrunners@gmail.com).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on VTTR Events – as of 4/3/2020

VA State Guidelines. Earlier this week – early April 2020 – Virginia’s governor issued guidelines for state residents in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Those guidelines have put restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people – further, meetings with anyone outside your direct household should adhere to a policy of “social distancing” (a minimum of 6′ separation). As a result, many athletic competitions: running races, cycling events, etc have been cancelled, postponed, or turned into Virtual Events. The guidelines currently extend to June 11th 2020.

As of today April 3rd. Our first club event – the Micro Tri Series Event #1  scheduled for May 30 – IS ON as of today (check vttrunners.com/mmts for the latest news AND to register). Given the limitations in place as of this post – we have placed a registration limit on this event only of 8 participants.

2019 MMTS Transition Area

We will have two club members volunteering (timing and water support) – including the 8 participants, we will be at the limit of 10 people. Other precautions we will have in place in order to ensure we are all safe AND that we adhere to state guidelines:

  • Online registration/ payment only (no race day registration) – our online registration site accepts PayPal; if you do not use PayPal, you can still sign up online with ‘payment pending’ and will be sent a link to submit online payment (we use Square for this). This eliminates the need for close contact with our volunteers during race day sign in.
  • Any other interested participants (beyond 8 limit) will be on a waiting list. If enough waitlisted registrants (5 or more) are interested/ available, we can consider adding another limited-registration Micro Triathlon for the following Saturday (June 6) and count those results in the series. We will contact & coordinate that via email.
  • Participants should arrive at the event pre-marked with their race number (black marker) in a visible place. We usually mark your hands or arms – you will not wear a race bib so just make sure the timer can see it. If you forget, we will have black markers & gloves – you’ll just need to do it yourself.
  • Participants must keep a 6′ distance between themselves, other participants, and event volunteers at all times. With only 8 participants, there will be plenty of room at the swim start (dock), on the bike rack, and under the pavilion at finish. Keep a wider distance if passing another participant on the road.
  • No spectators/family members/supporters will be allow in the competition area – – only the 2 VTTR volunteers and 8 participants. If the 10 person limit is ever exceeded in the competition area at any time during the event, competition will be stopped immediately. Family, friends, spectators are welcome outside the competition area – for example in the parking lot – as long as they don’t interfere with participants.

After June 11th Restrictions End. Registration for the MMTS #2, #3, and #4 and the Gwynn’s Island Festival 8k/ 5k Races are currently open without restrictions at this time. That is subject to change as the virus guidelines allow. We are very hopeful – crossing our fingers and our toes – that current restrictions will be lifted prior to the MMTS #1 on May 30th. If so, that event registration can & will be expanded. Stay tuned – and email me: vttrunners@gmail.com with any questions.


Be safe & healthy – hope to see you at a VTTR event soon, Christine Johnson

Labor Day Put In Creek Duathon: Free & Fun

Our largest group yet – completed this fun, local event.

2019 Group Pic
Doug Paredes, Mark Marderosian, Richard Browder, Elizabeth Whitaker, Tracey Tunstall (w/ paddle partner Boo Boo), Michael Thomas, Ron Myers, Henry Mulholland, Christine Johnson, Helen Morris, Amy Mulholland, and Danny Weatherly. Front: Mulholland’s pup!

Great weather & great location were the big stars of the day: Labor Day 2019 temps were comfortable and the Put In Creek dock and pavilion were ideals spots for the event. We ran from Put In Creek park 2.8 miles to Williams Wharf, where our kayaks were staged. A quick change from run to paddle, and we headed back the 2.6 miles to Put In Creek.

RESULTS for 2019 Put In Creek Duathlon

Special thanks to Rick Browder for (volunteering?) to time us!!

Due to the low water level of the creek, we timed this event to finish the paddle just as the high tide was coming in. This was our 4th time – see you next Labor Day!


Want more information about this event – check the event page: vttrunners.com/pic or email vttrunners@gmail.com.

New Course Record: Micro Tri on Jun 15th

Twenty-two participants – many first time triathletes – took part in the kick off event in the 2019 Mathews Micro-Tri Series on June 15th. Joel Isley, age 57, broke the course record with a winner overall time of 48:05 – edging out the old course record by less than a minute (held by Tom Jenkins @ 48:46).

2019 MMTS1 Winner Click to view 2019 MMTS #1 Results

The Micro-Tri distances are shorter than standard triathlons, with 1/4 mile swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run – which makes them ideal for beginners OR for experienced competitors looking to practice transitions.

2019 MMTS Finish

What else makes these events so special? The event is well organized, competitive, and supportive at the same time. Donnie Martian summed it up “Thanks again for putting on this race. I really enjoyed it, and my kids enjoyed watching it as well.”

For more information on the MMTS Series, including series standings, registration links and results from prior years, visit MMTS home page or email vttrunners@gmail.com.

2019 MMTS Transition Area

Victoria is making a STATEment.

On November 17, 2018 I shared the news with VTTR club members and supporters that our club was able to donate 3 high jump crossbars to the Mathews High School track team. The kids on that team have been unable to practice high jumping for more than a year – their only opportunity to perform that event is during an actual track meet. I attended a track practice and watched MHS athlete, Megan Johnson, taking the first jump over the new bar. I promised to share updates on Megan and the entire team. Enjoy this story from MHS track coach, Sabrina Myers.

One of our sophomore girls, Victoria Palaimo, just started trying high jump three months ago. She qualified for states in the high jump this year, and it’s all because of the new bars from VTTR. Without them, we would still be using a rope. I’ll keep you updated on how Victoria does at the regional and state meets.

On behalf of VTTR members & supporters, good luck Victoria at your upcoming competitions!

Mathews High School track team member, sophomore Victoria Palaimo, practices high jump on Tuesday, 2/5/2019. Photograph from MHS track coach Sabrina Myers.

This seems to becoming a ‘thing’ ….

2018 Sept 15 – For the 2nd time, we held one of our Micro-Triathlons under threat of a hurricane. In Oct 2016, Hurricane Matthews tried to interfere and this week it was Hurricane Florence. Our area in Virginia was fortunate to be spared the worst of the weather – but our thoughts go out to those who are under a more serious threat.

Due to the precariousness of this week’s storm, the Micro-Tri today was cancelled as part of the MMTS Series – meaning that today’s results do not count toward the 2018 overall standings. Six of us did show up for the fun – and we were so fortunate: no rain, no wind, and calm water. As the series organizer, I don’t usually get to participate – but I gave it a shot today (didn’t quite make my goal of finishing under an hour, but I got within one minute). Thanks for those who joined me today – sorry for those who missed it – we missed you!

From left: Ron Myers, Mark Marderosian, Kelly Marderosian (‘volunteer’ timer), Courtney Reichenbach, me (Christine Johnson), Danny Weatherly, and Chris Wells

Duathlon Duckies 2018


Five brave participants attempted this annual event in 2018 – now in its 4th year! The course record still stands (1 hour, 4 mins) – but just barely! Full results can be viewed here: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=140136.

The weather was perfect, and the jellyfish were NOWHERE to be found. The water was really calm, and the run was mostly shady. Neighbors were out on their dock cheering on the participants. We had our first Mom-Son duo this year (kudos to Wiley & Amy M); Doug P – who has completed this event every year – sustained a shoulder injury earlier in the year, so he did the run leg only.

Enjoy the pictures – and be sure to send us an email if you are interested in this event. We’re local – and we’re certainly willing to cheer you on if you just feel like popping over for a practice on day (just check the tides and plan around the high tide): vttrunners@gmail.com.


VTTR donates to the community

The Gwynn’s Island Festival race is our club’s largest fundraiser, and is our opportunity to showcase the things that make Mathews County so special: the friendly people, the community feeling, and the terrific location for sporting events. Our annual race – the Kukini 8k & 5k (kukini is a Hawaiian word that mean ‘fast runner & messenger for the gods’) coincides with the Gwynn’s Island Festival and is supported by two local community organizations: the Mathews Family YMCA and the Gwynn’s Island Civic League.

Every year, the VTTR donates a portion of our event proceeds to these organizations. This year – thanks to the increased participation in our race – we presented checks for $300 to each. A special thanks to all of our race sponsors and participants – and to our volunteers whose friendly faces were true ambassadors of our club.