We have a wonderful course of woodland trails filled with natural beauty. Almost the entire course is on lovely dirt paths in the woods with excellent footing. The course is very runnable. It is a remote course, and is extremely well marked with orange & white striped surveyor’s tape hanging from tree branches, and there are also a few arrows painted on the ground to mark difficult turns.
You will enjoy our breathtaking scenery and quiet country atmosphere. The course is hilly, and the footing is generally excellent – very runnable. There are a number of stream crossings, and just a few rocky areas. The trail contains only about 1 mile of payment each way – to get from the Ruritan (base camp) to the trailhead and from the trail head back to the Ruritan. It contains about 1/3 mile of pavement during the race, just before stop 3. Less than 2 miles of the course is run on gravel roads.
Most of this course is located on private property. Landowners restrict its use to race day only!
Ruritan to Aid #1 – 3.6 miles
When you leave the Ruritan, you will run on some pavement, crossing a few back yards, and then you will cross the river on a cement bridge. You will then run onto wooded dirt trails with several creek crossings. There are 2 steep but relatively short hills, and then you will run on a remote rolling gravel road with no traffic through the woods to Aid #1.
Aid #1 to Aid #2 – 7.2 miles
You will leave Aid #1 on wooded dirt paths and run back onto the remote gravel road with no traffic. The course leaves the road and enters wooded paths, and you will run up and down some good (but not long) hills. There are a few short stints on the gravel road, and you will run all the way down hill to the Cacapon River. After the river (drinking water is available) you will run on wooded paths up and down several significant hills. You will run along a power line where there is a significant down hill. After you leave the power line, you will run on a wooded path up a long hill to a gravel driveway, where you will run downhill to Aid #2.
Aid #2 to Aid #3 – 3.9 miles
You will leave Aid #2 on a beautiful 2 track dirt path (an old railroad bed) along a lovely creek, and there will be several creek crossings. You will leave the railroad bed and climb a good hill to a retired grass air strip. You will turn right on a paved road, running down hill for a very short time into Aid #3.
Aid #3 to Aid #4 – 4.3 miles
You will leave Aid #3 on a wooded dirt path, with a bit of mud and a few creek crossings. You will cross a wonderful field with spectacular views onto another wooded path (with a creek crossing), and after you pass a hunter’s cabin on a very old road, you will begin the most significant climb of the day, climbing almost to the top of North Mountain. Once you reach the top, you will slowly begin downhill on wonderful old wooded dirt roads to Aid #4. This is probably the most difficult section of the course.
Aid #4 to Aid #5 – 5.7 miles
You will leave Aid #4 running down hill on a dirt path into the George Washington National Forest, and you will follow this path (with one road crossing, and a few creek crossings) until you reach the Tuscarora Trail (Big Blue Trail). At the Tuscarora Trail you will turn right on the trail, which is maintained by the PATC, and is marked with blue paint. The trail is down hill most of the way into Aid #5. There are a few short uphills, but it is mostly downhill.
Aid #5 to Aid #6 – 3.2 miles
You will continue on the Tuscarora Trail with some serious up and down hills for about 2.5 miles. Shortly after you cross the power line, you will leave the blue marked trail, going left on a short winding trail which takes you into a landowner’s barn, which is Aid #6.
Aid #6 to Finish – 3.1 miles
You will return on the same trail that you ran from the Start to Aid #6, except for one short diversion to eliminate a difficult hill on the way back.