Can you drink the water in the Great Dismal Swamp? The answer may surprise you

A runner makes her way along the course of the Great Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon.

The Great Dismal Swamp.

Millions of years ago it was completely under the ocean. In 1763, George Washington started a lumber company there. Today, thousands of people gather there to run through its history and beauty, and quite possibly set their own personal history in the process.

The Dismal Swamp Stomp celebrates all of these incredible wonders with a gathering of families and friends to run or walk, short or long distances, take in the scenery and history and enjoy great food, beverage and music when they finish.

So, can you drink the water?

Believe it or not you probably can drink the water, although you’ll find plenty of water stops along the course with colder and fresher alternatives.

Still, one of the Great Dismal Swamp’s wonders is that the water is incredibly clean, despite it’s unsavory color. According to Dismal Swamp Canal Visitor’s Center:

The amber-colored water is preserved by tannic acids from the bark of the juniper, gum and cypress trees, prohibiting growth of bacteria. Before the days of refrigeration, water from the Swamp was a highly prized commodity on sailing ships. It was put in kegs and would stay fresh a long time. People spoke of the magical qualities of the Swamp’s tea-colored water and how, if it were regularly drunk, it prevented illness and promoted long life.

Exercise, of course, also helps prevent illness and promotes long life. And with the help of sponsors like Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Mobile PigNic and Big Ugly Brewing, the race is filled with support, great food and beverages and fun music from Mike Crate Mafia.

The Dismal Swamp Stomp Running Festival takes place Saturday, April 4th in Chesapeake, VA

Family fun with elbow room

The Dismal Swamp Canal Trail off Route 17 in Chesapeake offers runners forested wetlands and a peaceful paved path along the wilderness of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Runners can opt for half marathon, 5K, or kids half mile distances, and the Dismal Swamp Stomp offers all of the perks of larger races minus the big crowds. If you’re tired of feeling like a herd of cattle, you’ll love Dismal Swamp Stomp!

The race to run for a personal best

Along with such a unique and interesting setting, the Dismal Swamp Stomp is tree lined, shaded and protected from the wind. It has great crowd support, but not the claustrophobic type where you spend so much of your running time dodging slowing bodies.

Many runners come here to capture their best time, and have a blast in the process. And for faster runners, the Stomp’s organizer offers cash awards with the top five male and female athletes chance of winning determined by “age grading,” truly creating a more level playing field.

Dismal Swamp Stomp Running Festival is proudly sponsored by Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, promoted by Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and produced by Mettle Events, Inc.


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