Sep
21
to Sep 22

Georgia Jewel | 17M, 35M, 50M, 100M

  • Dalton Convention Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

What’s to LOVE?

Challenging course. There’s plenty of elevation change on course with near continuous ups and downs - following the Pinhoti Trail for much of the race. It’s a tough, but fair race.

Awesome race director. Jenny Baker and her family have been leading this race for a few years now, and they’re nothing but awesome. They love runners and really take care of you. This shows, as they get a great turnout.

Bad ass aid stations. The aid stations are staffed with seasoned volunteers who know a thing or two about trail and ultra-runners. If you get into a spot of trouble, they’ll be sure to encourage you while trying to keep you safe.

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Oct
12
to Oct 14

Cloudsplitter Trail Races | 25K, 50K, 100K, 100M

  • Norton's Farmers Market (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

What’s to LOVE?

Challenging. This is a tough race requiring smart running. Hell, the opening ascent can ruin your race if you’re not careful. When finished, you’ll know you did something really tough - you’ll feel it.

Plenty of time. All races start at 8 a.m. on Saturday and finish 40 hours later. This gives runners the ability to test their endurance - reaching for a PR distance that otherwise might have been out of reach.

GREAT aid stations. Of all the trail races I’ve done, the aid stations at Cloudsplitter in 2018 were the best! At the 50K turnaround, having a hot egg and spinach wrap was a Godsend.

Norton’s embrace. The town of Norton has truly embraced this race since it moved here in 2017 and moving the start/finish last year was a smart move. In 2019, I’m looking forward to enjoying post-finish libations from a new brewery located at the start/finish:-)

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Sep
7
6:00 AM06:00

Breaks Ultra | 45M

What You’ll LOVE

Brutality. In my experience, this is the most difficult course in Kentucky. Last year’s event saw an enormous DNF rate, and I was one of them. The course starts with a steep downhill in darkness, then a nice ford, then a nasty ascent. Once you get up top, you’ll drop down on either side of Pine Mountain only to do more ascents.

Beauty. Pine Mountain is one of my favorite places, as it offers spectacular views on numerous rock outcroppings on the ridgeline. You’ll enjoy grand views of Kentucky and Virginia, as the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail meanders along the border between the two commonwealths.

Next Opportunity Events. These guys put on some great races and each of the ultras they do has a uniqueness to it. Breaks, of course, is a real challenge, but the courses are always well marked, aid stations are reliable, and all the other pre- and post-race is tip top.

NOTE: If you are planning to run this race, it is critical that you do sufficient hill training with plenty of speed hiking. Road running isn’t going to be enough. You’ll need a good number of miles on steep, rocky terrain to be prepared for this race. Also, you might want to dip your shoes in water on your training runs too. That ford will keep your feet wet for hours! Next Opportunity Events typically offers a training run or two, and it’s wise to take advantage of these.

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Jul
13
6:00 AM06:00

Dawg Gone Long Run | 50K, 50M

What’s to LOVE?

Great running. Caesar Creek’s trails are on rolling hills that make for great running. While there’s plenty of elevation change on the course, it’s very run-able with the biggest climb at around 80 ft.

Heat training. There are few things that’ll set you up for success in the Fall like running in the Summer heat. Adding a scorcher will yield excellent results down the road - just be sure to take care of your hydration, electrolytes, and nutrition while you’re out there.

Low cost. Relative to other ultras, this race is cheap. At $50, it’s a terrific deal to get out on a marked course with stocked aid stations and some fellow nutters running in the muggy July heat.

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May
18
7:00 AM07:00

Hawthorn Half Day Relay & Ultra | 6H, 12H

What’s to LOVE?

Running groups unite. One of the great things about a fixed-time (rather than fixed-distance) event is you can bring your running mates and everyone finishes at the same time. For groups with a lot of pace variance between runners, this is a really nice benefit.

Finish Spring with a distance PR. With 6 or 12 hours, you can stretch out to set a new distance PR. I’ll be shooting for something between 40 and 50 miles to test myself ahead of a pretty grueling Fall race schedule that includes 200K across 5 weeks.

Your very own aid station. With a short, loop track, you can setup your own aid station in the runners’ area and stock it with all your favorite goodies - and maybe a massage therapist:-) It’s nice to have your favorites available without having to lug them around in your pack all day.

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Apr
27
7:00 AM07:00

Big Turtle Trail Races | 10M, 50K, 50M

What’s to LOVE?

Kentucky’s longest trail. The 50-miler starts in Morehead and runs to the northern terminus of Sheltowee Trace - a 300+ mile trail traversing Daniel Boone National Forest into Tennessee. It would be great to see a race series that covers the entire distance (hint, hint).

Good running. This section of the Trace isn’t overly challenging with long stretches of good running. Of course, there are a few climbs along the way - the opening climb comes to mind:-)

Next Opportunity Events. I’ve come to really enjoy this company’s races, as they each have some form of challenge that keeps you on your toes. I recall being undertrained last year and feeling like ice cold death on the final descent.

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Apr
6
7:30 AM07:30

Yamacraw Trail Races | 10K, 20K, 50K

What’s to LOVE?

Perfect timing. The trails that comprise Yamacraw Trail Races are surrounded by streams and waterfalls - making Spring the perfect time of year to enjoy this very special place.

Picturesque scenes. Having run this race the last couple years, a few things immediately come to mind - running underneath a waterfall, fording ice cold water, finishing across the Blue Heron Mining tipple. These picture perfect scenes are why this race sells out in mere hours.

Hook your friends. If you want to hook your friends on trail running, this is the place to do it. In 2017, Handsome Klatzke and I ran the 50K - our first time at Yamacraw. We talked it up for months, and in 2018, we brought 7 more friends and rented a cabin. Everyone is returning for 2019 because this race is BAD ASS!!!

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Mar
9
6:30 AM06:30

Land Between the Lakes Trail Races | 23K, 26.2M, 60K, 50M

What’s to LOVE?

Great course. The trails at LBL circle around the upper peninsula around Grand Rivers, Kentucky. They are gentle, rolling hills with no soul-sucking climbs. It’s a really fun course to run.

Excellent management. Durbin Race Management has been putting on races for a lot of years, and it shows. Check-in is fast and professional, aid stations are well staffed and stocked, and the overall atmosphere is great!

Big turnout. Great course plus excellent management equals big turnouts year after year. Ask anyone who runs this race, and they’ll have something good to say about it.

In-race flexibility. Perhaps the cherry on top is the ability to drop down in distance if your race day isn’t going as well as planned. Hey, for most, it’s the first big race of the year, so a little flexibility is nice:-)

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Feb
16
10:00 AM10:00

Topo Trail Series England Idlewild Park | 10K, 20K

What’s to LOVE?

Keep running. The Topo Trail Series is designed to keep trail runners going through the ‘off’ race months in Winter and Summer. This is a nice way to stay on track with training.

Low cost. Rather than paying $50 or $60, these races are only $15 each. You can register online or in person on race day.

No frills. There are no medals or t-shirts or other common swag. You get a bib, marked course, and recorded time. That’s plenty.

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Jan
19
10:00 AM10:00

Topo Trail Series Devou Park | 5M, 10M

What’s to LOVE?

Keep running. The Topo Trail Series is designed to keep trail runners going through the ‘off’ race months in Winter and Summer. This is a nice way to stay on track with training.

Low cost. Rather than paying $50 or $60, these races are only $15 each. You can register online or in person on race day.

No frills. There are no medals or t-shirts or other common swag. You get a bib, marked course, and recorded time. That’s plenty.

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