The course planned below is tentative. Because of possible unforeseen circumstances (think: flooded creeks, downed trees, and other random acts of nature) we reserve the right to make last minute course changes, if necessary.
The First Loop Around the Lake
Section 1: Blair Limestone Kilns
The half-marathon starts at 9:00am while the 5.5-milers start at 9:15am.
All runners will start at the ball field near Pavilion #2 in a long mass start before heading down a slight hill toward the lake. Then the trail spreads out slightly as you climb a slight knob. Here is where the mud will begin to fly! You will cross a paved service road and then onto Limestone Trail – a wide gravel trail. You will make a right, crossing Marys Ann’s Creek on a metal foot bridge. You will then make a left onto a wide stone and shale service road and run past the Blair Limestone Company Kilns on your right. You will continue running up the valley then make a slight right onto Moore’s Hill Trail.
Section 2: “No Moore’s” Hill
Moore’s Hill Trail is a well-worn singletrack that bends around the contour of the hill until it makes a sudden 250 foot climb up the hill within half of a mile.
“No Moore’s” Hill is all relative. Newbies will be saying “No Moore!” and will hike to the top while more seasoned trailrunners should be able to run up the entire hill without any problem.
After the first dozen or so runners go through, this and most of the other trails are going to become slick in many places. The trail flattens out at the top and then makes a drop into Canoe Creek Valley. Expect long straight grades at the top then sharper switchbacks and turns as the trail gets a little steeper near the bottom. When you make it to the bottom, you will pass the remains of another kiln on your right. After running along Canoe Creek, be prepared for the first stream crossing, The Canoe Creek Stream Crossing and onto Beaver Pond Trail on the other side.
Section 3: The Beaver Pond Trail
The Beaver Pond Trail is a flat, fast and lively singletrack but you can expect some shoe sucking mud that might slow you down. Be careful of the bridges because the mud tracked onto them will make them slippery. After you go around the lakeside of The Ponds, you will then emerge from the woods at the Canoe Creek boat launch area, across the east side of the lake and then to a boat mooring area near Pavilion #3. There will also be a water stop here. If you are running just the 5-mile race, this will be your only water stop!
Section 4: Fisherman’s Path and The Roller Coaster
After the mooring area, you will be running along the lake before making a hard right onto a new yet muddy singletrack that detours around the recent lakeshore erosion improvements. After making a sharp left, there will be a stretch of mud and ankle grabbing roots that you will need to plow through. Next, expect a few short up and downs where you are climbing one second and going down a steep slope the next second. Finally you will make it to the breast of Brumbaugh Dam where you can give your legs a rest. Next is the Roller Coaster. The trail hugs the shoreline with lots of rolly-polly up and downs. As you get closer to the spillway, the trail will flatten yet will get muddier until you make it near the spillway. Instead of crossing the spillway here, you will take a grassy service road up a hill and down the other side to The Confluence Crossing where New Creek and Canoe Creek meet.
The creek crossing may be deep and can be anywhere from ankle to waist deep depending on recent rains!
All the mud will wash away. You will cross a metal bridge and then a wide path back toward the breast of the dam.
Section 5: Home Stretch
The last half mile is a piece of cake as you take a service road past the spillway and then wind yourself through some of the horse trails near the park office before dropping into the main park grounds and to the finish.
If you are doing the short race, you are done! Treat yourself to some food at the pavilion.
For those who want to go the extra mile (or Eight), we have a much more challenging second loop for you to do.
Section B1: Start of Second Loop
For those doing the second loop, you will approach the finish line with the first loop runners then run down to the lake just like you did at the start. Then, instead of bearing right toward The Limestone Kilns, runners will run up the hill to the left.
Section B1b: Smith Hillside
You will then turn left onto the paved service road then a right into the woods and on singletrack onto Smith Hillside Trail which snakes you up the hill. It is a nice climb with mixed pine and deciduous forest to the top of the hill. Next is The Smith Hillside Landslide. The trail crowns the hill and makes a slight descent before traveling along the side of the hill.
The trail is narrow and extremely slippery when wet – especially on the downhill!
Smith Hillside Trail crosses Mary Ann’s Creek on a metal footbridge onto Limestone Trail. You will run in the opposite direction you did on the first loop. Next, you will take a sharp left onto a nice limestone grade. Then there is a tight switchback to the right as you continue up the grade.
Section B2: Hartman’s Heartache
Before the quarry you make right onto Hartman Trail. Hartman Trail climbs up above the quarry cliffs. **ALERT*** Hartman Heartache offers the steepest climb within the race!
Huff and puff time! Hartman Heartache offers the steepest climb within the race!
At the top, the trail widens and becomes relatively flat as eventually you pass the bat caves on your right. The caves are an environmentally protected area so please stay on the course. There will also be very nice views of Scotch Valley on your left. After the caves you will start to make a short and easy climb as you bear right to the highest elevation point of the course.
Section B3: The Water Tower Run
Runners will reach a four-way intersection – turn right. You will be on a wide grassy lane that is cambered to the left. Next is a sharp right turn and a straight downhill on a wide grassy path before meeting with a dirt service road as you continue downhill with a great view of the lake in front of you. Before you reach the water tower, you will make a sharp right onto a grassy trail that will wind back up the top of the hill to The Horse’s Back.
Section B4: The Horse’s Back and The Kiln Klimb
At the top make a left onto Mattern Trail. Mattern Trail is regularly used for horseback riding and hence the name as the trail will drop down the spine of the hill. The surface of this downhill is almost entirely grass. You will arrive at the bottom when you approach the Limestone Kilns. Behind the kilns, you make a left onto Moore’s Hill Trail (this is a different section of the trail than during the first loop) and make the Kiln Klimb as you snake uphill through some pines and cross a paved service road. You will cross this road and continue on the trail and glide along the edge of the forest to the right and fields below.
Section B5: Mattern Trail Uphill and Mattern’s Madness
You will make a left onto another section of Mattern Trail. This section will be a gentle yet steady climb through hardwoods as you again climb Moore’s Hill. The Madness begins when the trail veers to your right at the summit and then makes a series of abrupt downhills and climbs. Much of the trail is off-camber and slick with grass. At the top of a hill you make a right onto a connecting trail. This trail makes a fast downhill run to Canoe Creek and has several switchbacks and areas where erosion makes the trail a little bit more technical than some of the other previous downhill runs.
This trail makes a fast downhill run to Canoe Creek and has several switchbacks and areas where erosion makes the trail a little bit more technical than some of the other previous downhill runs.
Section B6: The Beaver Pond Trail Redux
At the bottom, you connect onto Moore’s Hill Trail which you ran during the first loop right before The Canoe Creek Street Crossing through Canoe Creek. Next is the The Beaver Pond Trail once again just like the first loop.
Section B7: Fisherman’s Path and Horse Trails
After crossing the boat launch and mooring grounds, you once again run on Fisherman Path across the breast of the dam and to the Roller Coaster. After the The Confluence Stream Crossing, runners will make a left past the wastewater plant instead of going straight. From here you will zigzag along a few of the horse trails before reaching the finish.