Marathon Course Description (3504ft of elevation gain):
Update for 2021 – There will be a Marathon Time Limit of 6 and 1/2 hours (14.66 minutes per mile).
There will be 2 intermediate cutoffs for the marathon:
– Runners must reach AS #2 (7.97 miles) in 1 hour 45 minutes (13.17 minutes per mile) to proceed on the marathon course. If you don’t make this cutoff you will be directed onto the 25k course. We would rather have you finish the 25k than be cut from the marathon course.
– Runners must reach the AS #6 (18.57 miles) within 4 hours 10 minutes (13.46 minutes per mile) to continue on to the finish.
– These cutoffs are set so that, if you make them, you will have adequate time to get to the finish. These cuts occur at our main water stop, and the last opportunity to get participants off the course and back to the race headquarters. After this spot on the course, runners will be heading uphill for the next 2.3 miles. It is a difficult and demoralizing climb for everyone and race paces tend to slow down dramatically.
For those of you looking for the last step before trying an Ultra Marathon, this is it. You will get everything an Ultra has in 5 less miles. This course should give you the challenge, mentally and physically, that you need to be able to finish a 50k.
Course Description and Water Stops
Runners will leave Loch Haven Lake and run onto Timberview Road heading to the Cove. At the end of Timberview Road runners will go through the gate and then take a left onto the Trough. This is a 1.13 mile steep climb. This will bring you to the Brushy Mountain Fireroad. Here you will take a left for .4 miles to Buck which is on your right (AS #1 – 2.88 Miles – water only). Buck starts out as a steep rocky downhill and then rolls for a total of 1.26 miles. At this point you will take a right onto Hotel for 1.14 miles. At the next trail intersection you will take a right onto Hi-Dee-Hoe for .31 miles until you veer left onto the 4 Gorge Trail. This is a 2.38 mile rolling up and down trail. The end will bring you back to a lower section of the Brushy Mtn. Fire road (WS #2 – 7.97 – water, “energy drink”, food). From here you will continue straight on the new 4 Gorge Extension for .96 miles. This will take you to the top of Tuck-a-Way where you will take a left. Tuck-a-Way is a .82 mile trail that is gradually downhill, minus one short steep hill, that you can roll through with lots of speed. This will take you to the 4 Way where you will head straight on Enchanted Forest. You will be on this trail for .64 miles where it has been rerouted to the Happy Valley Road (HVR) where you will take a right to (WS#3 – 10.39 – water, “energy drink”, food) and then take a right back into the very scenic second half of the pine forested Enchanted Forest trail for .42 miles. This will take you back to HVR where you will take a right followed by an immediate left onto the .3 mile Little Bell. This is a beautiful .3 mile section of pine needle covered trail that will take you back to HVR. Here you will continue straight across HVR onto the 1.82 mile Schoolhouse. At the end you will again come to the halfway point at HVR (WS #4 – 12.96 – water). Here you will take a left and stay on the road for 1.08 miles until you come to Arrowhead on your right. This trail starts out on one of my favorite sections as it follows the creek. It will continue to go up and down as you navigate 4 creek crossings. In total this is a rolling 1.63 mile trail. At it’s end you will come to HVR and take a right for .06 miles to the entrance to Songbird (WS #5 – 15.73 – water, “energy drink”, food). Songbird is a flowy trail that starts out with an uphill for the first .26 mile section where it comes to a gravel road which you will cross and continue on for the remaining 1.91 miles till it takes you to HVR again. Here you will take a right and continue on to the base of the Brushy Mountain Fire road and the 1000ft climb for the next 2.89 miles. A half mile into the climb you will reach (WS #6 – 18.57 – water, “energy drink”, food). From here you will most likely question your sanity for entering this race at least once (warning; this section may make entrants cuss, shake their fist at the sky, or lie down while slamming their hands and feet into the ground in the act of a tantrum). Once at the top you will continue downhill on the fire road for another .92 miles to Gauntlet (WS #7 – 21.9 – water, “energy drink”, food). This is a 2.16 mile fast descent that will have you ready for a flat stretch of trail. At the bottom you will take a right onto Horse Pen for 1.25 mile. Horse Pen is a an old access road that will take you on a gradual uphill to the gate that you came to at the start of the race. Go through the gate (WS #8 – 25.31 – water) and then continue on Timberview Road until you reach the entrance trail back into Loch Haven Lake and the last .39 mile trail to the finish.