The course is a mix of singletrack, some wider, some narrower. It features a quarter mile sprint from the meadow to the first doubletrack trail where things can get a little crowded for the mid packers.
About 1.5 miles into the course is the first river crossing. At the 3 mile mark is the water station and right after that is 1km of scrub pine singletrack through the "mud flats" which will take your shoes off if you are not careful.
After that is "The Wall" - a steep sand hill in a former sand quarry that leads up to the second half of the Loop. A steady climb brings runners to the top of the course elevation wise (no views). Down through the Pine Forest and back to the river for the final crossing 200 yards before the finish line.
As for the course, the outer limits are well within the capabilities of almost anyone curiously self-motivated â€“ whether or not youâ€™re just a weekend warrior or a dyed-in-the-wool mountain maniac. Itâ€™s got a mind all its own, with a foot-boggling array of barriers strategically placed so as to impede forward progress of the swift and sure-footed kind.
Ample reward could be found solely in the effort to finish. Or, you might enjoy wearing the commemorative t-shirt. But youâ€™re sure to delight in the post-race-brunch, for these spoils will be worth the price of pain.
Some key natural features to expect during the loop are:
The Meadow start a thundering herd of humanity sprinting, running, jogging, and walking towards the entrance to the woods. Runners hoping for a fast race should prep for sprinting this first quarter mile.
First Mud just inside the woods, runners encounter the first mud and/or wet. Dont stop or slow down! Runners with prior loop experience will plow straight through knowing what is to come. Dont forget to turn right at Tommys Turn or risk crossing the river an extra time!
Singletrack trails after about 1/2 mile on the Fox Hill
trail near the river, the course veers of the marked trails and narrows considerably. Runners encounter large logs, stone walls, mud, and other steeplechase-like obstacles, making footing a challenge.
First water crossing come to a complete stop and dont jump in, the bottom of the river is uneven with unseen rocks. Water height and strength can vary greatly from year to year.
The boardwalks the other side of the first water crossing gets soggy quickly from all of the runners dripping off. The boardwalks keep some feet above the mud but between them can be slippery!
Trail widening towards the Kimberly Bridge campground a flat, wide section with a mild uphill and downhill before getting to the first of two paved portions of the loop. Dont worry, its only a road crossing then back on the dirt
Fishermans Trail on the other side of the road from Kimberly Bridge, this trail follows the river for a while then winds up and down a few hills.
The old pit the original loop course went up the sand hill called The Pit but the course was changed 10+ years ago to protect the threatened Rattlebox plant. The plant has not been spotted again within 200 yards of the trail so once again we will follow the original course up the Pit.
Sullivans Surprise in 2010 we added another water crossing just before the mud flats at the point where the Waccabuc River and the Stone Hill River join up to become the Cross River. The further to the right you go, the deeper the water so STAY TO THE LEFT as much as you can. Watch out for a few big rocks and help your fellow runners get out of the river!
The water stop about halfway through the course on the closed portion of Boutonville Rd (near route 124) is the first and only water stop (and the second very brief paved portion of the loop). Take a swig and thank the volunteers before heading into
The mud flats dedicated in 2008 as the Doug Gorman Memorial Mud Flats this 1 km long singletrack stretch has varying amounts of mud from year to year. It varies from a lot to where the heck are my shoes, socks, and thighs?
The Bridge and Arsenaults Alley Totally reconstructed by Loop founders Tony Godino and Dave Cope in the early 2000s, this bridge crosses the Waccabuc River. When you have made it this far you are approximately halfway done, but you must now face
The Wall site of a former quarry, this 45-degree climb is an anaerobic challenge that seems to keep going up, up, up. Keep your footing and take in the view of runners coming from below.
back to one of the main trails in the Rez (marked with a DH trail blaze). The trail heads downhill after The Wall and gets wider wide enough to pass without any problems. Mud washouts appear from time to time in the spring. A steady climb up to the highest point in the loop.
Pine Forest bright trails under leafless trees (in the early spring) yield to a majestic pine grove. The pine needles provide a nice cushion for weary feet and legs on this speedy but singletrack portion of the course. Take a deep breath you have hit the 3/4 mark of the loop.
Switchback Cowgills Corner and river run coming out of the pine forest down the hill you come to a switchback portion of the trail.