HALF-MARATHON COURSE DESCRIPTION
Section 1 – Blue Knob All Seasons to Heavens Hairpin (2.2 miles | +360 ft./-100 ft.)
Starting at the Clubhouse at Blue Knob Four Seasons Resort at 2736 feet, runners will follow Hink’s Delusion – a rocky singletrack that meanders between the ski slopes and Overland Pass Rd. before emerging out of the woods below the summit before crossing the road. Runners will cross the road and then dips into the woods before a right turn down a gravel service road to the paved hairpin turn. You will cross the road here.
Section 2 – Heavens Hairpin to Chappelle Aid Station (2.6 miles | +165 ft./-652 ft.)
Runners will cross the road and onto a blue-blazed connecting singletrack for 0.7 miles to Tower Road. Runners will turn right on the road and run toward the radio towers at the top of Herman Point at 3014 feet (3 miles in the race). Lost Turkey Trail will be on the left; racers will take this down the mountain and across Blue Knob Road (be careful of vehicle traffic). Runners will continue onto Lost Turkey Trail on the left just before the guard rail. The trail continues downhill until reaching an old logging trail. This section from Herman Point to the old logging trail, called Herman Steps and Blister Blaster, is one of the steepest descents of the race, dropping over 600 feet in 0.7 miles. Racers will turn left and continue on the logging road/Lost Turkey Trail for 0.7 miles toward the campgrounds.
Before the campground, runners will make a sharp left turn and take a gradual climb to Chappelle Aid Station.
Section 3 – Chappelle Field Aid Station to Ravens Rest Aid Station. (2.6 miles | +400 ft. / -575 ft.)
From the aid station, runners will glide on a flat double track a quarter-mile until an intersection with a paved service road and several trails. Take the uppermost trail – for the race we call it Upper Ridge Trail (marked Rock ‘N Ridge Trail though on a different section of trail from earlier). Enjoy some flat yet mildly technical singletrack for a half-mile before going around a hollow and then the course turns sharply up Deep Hollow at mile 5.9. The course follows an abandoned trail to the top of the mountain. It’s steep yet short … 400 feet in 0.4 miles. At the top the course will merge onto a mountain bike trail and descend all the way to Sawmill Trail. This downhill is steep and somewhat eroded, dropping more than 500 feet in 0.6 miles. The course will now be on Sawmill Trail, a double track, and will bear to the left around a parking area before emerging out of the woods. Runners will run down the field to Raven Rest Aid Station at 7.2 miles.
Section 4 – Raven Rest AS to Heavens Hairpin AS (4 miles | +1410 feet / -570 ft.)
This will be the most physically demanding and mentally challenging section of the course. Runners will climb the remote southeastern flank of the mountain. The first half mile is up the mountain to 2570 feet, then along the 2500 foot contour for about six-tenths of a mile, then down 500 feet in a half of a mile to Beaver Dam Run at 8.2 miles into the race. This entire section includes steep slopes requiring runners to be able to stop on a dime to avoid seriously technical and jagged rocks along the narrow single track.
THEN reaching what some call “Beaver Dam Canyon” or what others call “I’ll Nettle Do That Again…”, runners will climb up the hollow up Beaver Dam Run to the top of the mountain with “rock step climbing” almost the entire 971 feet in 0.79 miles out of the hollow. The biofilm-covered rocks on this entire climb are very slippery. Be sure to enjoy the waterfall you will cross – some years it is a trickle, sometimes a raging torrent. Eventually you will cross a dirt road (Three Springs Trail) but the climbing is not over.
Runners will cross Three Springs Trail (at 9.85 miles) and continue up the mountain for just two-tenths of a mile. At the top is a beautiful section called the ‘Stone Pads’, a flat section of stone stepping on the singletrack. Then the trail will become less technical and will follow the trail along the edge of the summit (clockwise), past Pavia Overlook on the left. After a section of straight singletrack, runners will make a hard left, down a short hill and then bear to the right before arriving at the dirt state forest road. Here you will make a left turn. The road will end at Pavia Road where the aid station will be setup.
Section 5 – Heavens Hairpin AS to Resort (3.1 miles | +535 ft. / -830 ft.)
Runners will run to the lodge via a powerline, cross a service shed and up to the ski area parking lot. Runners then turn right and around the south side of the lodge (right side of the lodge) and will be offered a tremendous view toward the northeast at the top of the ski lifts. Runners will then proceed down Upper Mambo ski slope. At the bottom, runners will have the condos on the right as they continue down the slope and yield left and down a steep slope called Edge Set. After a short break, runners will go down Stembogen ski slope before running toward a “hole in the forest” and down an old logging road. Then it is a steep scramble up the mountain called “I Need a Sherpa!”
Now on top of the ridge, you will run down the hill for a short bit and merge with runners coming up the road at a junction called Flat Rock. Here all runners will scramble to the top until a short flat section before making a hard left at The Snap and onto the finish.