Our Favorite Trail

The W&OD Trail has practically become a second home to Bill and me during our many years of running and cycling. The almost 45-mile long Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park runs from Shirlington to Purcellville and consists of a paved two-way trail with a parallel gravel horse trail. Over the years we have run on segments of the entire trail and in 2013 our oldest son ran a 45-mile ultra from west to east.


Donating a Bench to the W&OD Trail

For several years, Bill and I had been contemplating showing our appreciation by donating a bench to the W&OD Trail. When I called the trail office to inquire about the process for making such a donation, the crusty old park manager who answered the phone replied that they already had enough benches and sent me on my way. Alright then!

A few years later in the fall of 2018 we decided to readdress the issue, and once again, I called the park office. The nice man who answered said I’d need to talk to the park manager and took a message. When Karl, the new park manager, returned my call, he was enthusiastic about explaining the process for donating a bench and even suggested I join him for a ride along the W&OD Trail to discuss possible locations.


Together, we picked the perfect spot near mile marker 28 where the gravel horse trail crosses the paved trail. It’s tucked off the trail so users have a place to park their bikes or let their children play without fear of being in the way of trail traffic.


With the location picked, Bill and I came up with wording for the plaque and placed our order in late November. On February 1, 2019 I received an email from Karl letting me know that the bench had arrived and was ready to be installed once the ground thawed.

Antsy to see if the bench had been installed, I ran by the location on Saturday, March 30th and found the pink flag marking the spot.


First Bench Sighting

On Tuesday evening April 3rd, my friend Angela texted a picture of the bench so of course I had to swing by on Wednesday to see it in person. It still had caution tape around it as the concrete set, but I couldn’t resist taking a picture.


A few day’s later…


The following weekend, Bill and I met during his bike ride and my run for a picture together in front of the W&OD Trail’s newest bench.


Trail Users Enjoying the Bench

It always brings a smile to my face whenever I run or bike past our bench and see trail users taking a break and relaxing. It even came in handy for me to stretch out my back during the winter when my sciatica acted up during a run.


Here’s hoping our fellow trail users enjoy the gift along with many happy miles on the W&OD Trail!


  • • What type of trails do you have near you?
  • • Do you prefer to run and cycle on paved or dirt/gravel trails?
  • • Does your trail have benches, exercise stations, overlooks, etc?