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blueBlack Charlie Horse Trail Half Marathon

  4.0 ( 2 ) Favorite

Trail

14.2 mile 22.9 kilometer point to point
94% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,736' 529 m
Descent: -1,480' -451 m
High: 814' 248 m
Low: 204' 62 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Lex Luthor

A half marathon trail race not for the faint of heart along a challenging section of the Horse-Shoe Trail.

Lex Luthor

Features Lake · River/Creek · Spring

Overview

This is a point to point trail race that starts in Rustic Park in Birdsboro, PA and finishes at Sleepy Hollow Athletic Club in Mohnton, PA. Includes two creek crossings, hills, roots, rocks, and saves the best for last. The last miles of mud and rock will test you and make everything that came before seem easy. Free food and beverages for finishers after the race. Organized by the Pagoda Pacers Athletic Club, proceeds of this race are donated to the Special Olympics of Berks County.

Need to Know

Parking is free at the finish area. Transportation is provided for runners to get to the start. The trails in Rustic Park and the Horse-Shoe Trail are open to all. Much of the course for the final 2 miles are on private property. So, other than race day, please stay on blazed trails.

Runner Notes

These are typical singletrack trails for Pennsylvania. Rooty and rocky. The final mile of the course is extremely muddy.

Description

Transportation is provided for racers to get from the registration area at the finish to Rustic Park. The races starts in the lower parking lot of Rustic Park in Birdsboro, PA. From the starting line to the first water crossing is about 300 yards. This is the first crossing of Hay Creek.

The trail then follows an abandoned road for about 0.5 miles to the second crossing of Hay Creek. The course then follows an abandoned canal for about 0.5 miles; then you cross the abandoned road for to start the climbing on mostly singletrack trail. You'll pass by beautiful Birdsboro Reservoir and continue to climb. To the first aid station at about 3 miles. Water, Gatorade and some light snacks are available.

The course continues the climbing to finally connect with the Horse-Shoe Trail and finally some descending. The trail will cross over a historic iron bridge or an abandoned rail line in the middle of the woods and pass through a barnyard to reach the second aid station at mile 7. The trail crosses Hay Creek Road and begins about a mile of some of the steepest climbing on the course on singletrack trail. This is followed by a fun, flowing downhill section to the 3rd aid station on Buck Hollow Road at about 8.8 miles in.

The course follows Buck Hollow Road for about 2.5 miles. The first mile of this section is a nice easy run on gently rolling hills; the last 1.5 miles is mostly climbing that gets increasingly steeper as you approach Rt 10. This is where the true fitness test begins. The trail crosses Rt 10 (the crossing is manned by local Fire Police) and another 0.5 miles of road leads you Charlie's property. Charlie was the founder of this race 22 years ago and still plays an active part in organizing the race.

The trail drops down to the fourth and final aid station before you start to experience the singletrack trails on Charlie's property. It begins easily enough with singletrack up Deer Tick Ridge. The trail then loops through some sections of trail that even in the driest years are filled with shoe-sucking mud. After 0.25 miles of that, you climb again to "The Rock Pile" for some rock hopping then a fun descent on switchback singletrack that drops you back onto the Horse-Shoe Trail for a final quick mile to the finish line at Sleepy Hollow. When you hear the music, you know you are near.

History & Background

A lot of the course follows the Horse-Shoe Trail. The trail is a 140 mile hiking and equestrian trail that starts in Valley Forge and ends above Hersey at the Appalachian Trail. The trail was first mapped and blazed in 1935 and is maintained by the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy. The Charlie Horse Trail Half Marathon has been run for 22 years It has had some reroutes over the years but it has always run on Memorial Day Weekend and has always finished at Sleepy Hollow. And it has always served as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics of Berks County.

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May 25, 2019
Ashley Oelschlager
May 25, 2019
Walter Queen
14.2mi — 2h 23m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#2780

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  4.0 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#42

in Pennsylvania

#2,780

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573 Since Jan 14, 2019
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