Read more detailed section descriptions below.
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Distance: 40.3 miles*
Aid Stations: 6 Fully Stocked
55% Trail, 31% Doubletrack, 14% Paved
*All distances and elevation are 'ish'. Exact stats may vary slightly.
The course departs from Briery Branch Church and follows a slightly uphill paved road for 2.9 miles. Shortly after entering the Hone Quarry Recreation Area, the course turns into single-track on the Hidden Rocks trail. For the next .6 miles you'll climb and descend a few small hills with fairly runnable terrain.
After crossing several small rivers (you'll likely get your feet wet here), you will begin the Hidden Rocks loop in a counterclockwise direction. The sun should be up by this point and will get to experience one of the highlights of the race -- Hidden Rocks. The trail climbs roughly 200 feet to the top of a massive cliff formation, before completing the loop and returning to the Hone Quarry service road. You will be back on the road from miles 5.2-6.2 -- watch for traffic, this is a small road! This will be the last time you will be on pavement until mile 36.
After leaving the Campground Aid Station, the real grind begins. The course takes the Cliff Trail as it climbs 1500' to the top of Oak Knob. You will see several great overlooks down into the Hone Quarry valley, including the Lover's Leap overlook at mile 6.8. The climb up to Oak knob is 3 miles long and one of the more technical sections of the course. Even sections of this climb that are flat can be difficult due to the rocky terrain.
Once reaching the top of Oak Knob, the trail takes the more forgiving Mud Pond Gap Trail down the other side of the mountain. On your way down, you will run by/through several beautiful mountain meadows. It is roughly 2.8 miles down to the Union Springs forest road and extremely runnable. After crossing two small streams, you will turn left onto the forest road. It is a 0.6 mile climb on the gravel road to reach the Union Springs Aid Station.
After the Union Springs Aid Station you return to single-track on the beautiful Blueberry Trail. Although you climb over a 1000' back up to Oak Knob over the next 3 miles, the climb is fairly mild with many runnable sections. There are more open meadows on this trail to enjoy!
Once reaching the peak of Oak Knob again you will run two short descents and climbs. Neither climb is very long, but both are technical and very steep. At the end of the second climb you will reach the summit of Pond Knob. The 1.3 mile trail on the way down from Pond Knob is the steepest sustained downhill in the race, but once at the bottom it is easy doubletrack running until you arrive at the HQ Aid Station (mile 19.5) located beside the Hone Quarry Reservoir.
Leaving the reservoir, the course returns back up the forest road until you reach the Slate Springs Trail. Along this trail you will take a short out-and-back to the best kept secret in the Hone Quarry area -- an amazing 15' waterfall. After punching your bib, you will return to the Slate Springs Trail and begin the final major climb of the race. Over the next 2 miles the course climbs over 2000' as you make your way up to Flagpole Knob Aid Station (mile 24.8) -- towering at an elevation of 4,360'.
This is one of the easiest sections of the course. The race follows a gravel forest service road down to the Big Hollow Aid Station. This section is 85% downhill with great views to the east throughout.
Runners will return back up the forest road for .75 miles, before turning onto the Big Hollow Trail. Mostly downhill, this double and single-track trail will let you experience some amazing exposed ridgeline running as you wind your way back down to the valley floor below via the scenic Heartbreak trail for the last 3 miles. At the bottom you will cross a few small streams, before reaching the gravel road that will take you back to the Campground Aid Station.
This is a 4 mile, 100% paved section that is slightly downhill nearly the entire way to the finish. Watch for cars on this stretch, and note that headlamps will be required after dark. With the technical terrain behind you, enjoy the easy running and glide your way to the finish line back at the Briery Branch Church!