Conquer the Cove Marathon Course Description

Marathon Course Description (3504ft of elevation gain):

This year’s course will be run in the reverse direction.

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 (8.02 miles) in 1 hour 55 minutes (14.35 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 (18.62 miles) within 4 hours 15 minutes (13.69 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.

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.

Elevation Profile

Course Description and Aid Station Plan
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 the 1.25 mile Horse Pen Trail.  This is an old roadbed and is a gradual decline.  At the end you will then head up on the 2.16 mile Gauntlet.  This section is almost all climb, with just a few short downhill sections.  At the top you will be at (AS 1 – 4.69 Miles – water only).  We’ll call this the “Overconfidence Gap” aid station, as you will still have just under a mile of climbing before heading down Brushy Mountain Fire Road to the “Oasis” (AS #2 – 8.02 Miles – water, Skratch, food).

This is an important spot on the course because the Marathoners will continue heading down for their 10 mile loop and the 25k runners will head left onto 4 Gorge Trail.

At the bottom of Brushy Mountain Fire Road you will take a right on Happy Valley Fire Road to a left onto SongbirdSongbird is curvy up and down, half clim,b half descent trail that will take you to the “Deja Vu” aid station (AS 3/5 – 10.6 Miles – water, Skratch, food).  From here you will continue on Happy Valley Fire Road for a short section taking a left onto ArrowheadArrowhead will bring you back to Happy Valley Fire Road where you will take a left heading 1.08 miles to our “No Man’s Land” aid station (AS 4 – 13.63 miles – water, Skratch, food).  Here you will take a right onto Schoolhouse, cross Happy Valley Fire Road after 1.82 miles heading straight onto Little Bell.  Little bell will give you a taste of what is to come.  You will run this short trail for .32 miles going through some tall stands of pine trees.  At the end of Little Bell you will take a right on Happy Valley Fire Road for about 50ft, then taking a left onto Enchanted ForestEnchanted Forest is a scenic favorite as you will run through one of the most scenic trails at Carvins Cove.  After .42 miles you will return back to a left onto Happy Valley Fire Road and “Déjà vu” (AS 5 – 16.2 miles – water, Skratch, food).  Keep running a few 100ft on Happy Valley Fire Road to a left onto the next section of Enchanted Forest.  After .64 you will come to the 4-way intersection and keep heading straight on to Tuck-A-Way.  You’ll probably regret that you aren’t running this trail downhill like previous years.  This is a gradual .82 mile climb to the top, where you will take a right and head to 4-Gorge Extension.  This will be a .96 mile rolling trail back to the “Oasis” (AS 6 – 18.62 miles – water, Skratch, food).  Catch your breath and refill you hydration because the last 8 miles will be a lot of work.  Once revived at AS 6 you will head straight across the fire road on to 4-Gorge4 Gorge is a very popular trail as it will take you towards the main parking lot of the Carvins Cove at Bennett Springs.  At the end of 4 Gorge you will take a right, heading downhill, on Hi-Dee-Ho for around .35 miles.  At the bottom you will take a left onto Hotel.   Hotel is an up and down trail that leads to a left onto Buck.  At the Buck intersection you will take a left and continue for 1.25 miles up to Brushy Mountain Fire Road and the “Are We There Yet” aid station(AS #7 – 23.71 Miles – water, Skratch, food).  From here, you will take a left heading uphill for .4 miles to a right onto TroughTrough will test your quads as it is a major downhill trail for 1.13 miles.  At the bottom you will head right to the Gate. Go through the gate to the “Feets Don’t Fail Me Now” aid station (WS #8 – 25.31 – water only) and onto the asphalt Timberview Road.  After .76 miles, you will take a left onto Loch Haven Lake property and the last .39 miles to the finish!

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