The 2014 event is actually a shorter distance than in year’s past (5.2 compared to 7) and is taking out roads in place of trails. For those who have run before, you probably remember the long 1.5 mile stretch along the logging road. I personally liked this stretch, as it allowed me to make some headway on the people ahead of me, but I would agree that it sorta threw off the flow of the primarily trailed course. There will continue to be solid elevation gain (including one spot coined the “death hill”). It also features running behind a waterfall! You may be exhausted at the end, but you will not be disappointed. Here is a snippet from my 2013 recap:
Mile 2 is the “money” portion of the event- featuring yet another Run Wild Adventures race with a run behind a waterfall. Shellburg Falls is smaller than the giant ones elsewhere in the park, but it is breathtaking nonetheless. In fact, it was make especially awe-inspiring with icicles gripping to the cliff side. There were a few steps of literal frozen trail here, but lasted only a few seconds.Following the waterfall, a gradual incline over the next 3/4 mile or so lead us to the Hill of Death. In fact, mile 1.75-3.75 almost feels like one continual Hill of Death. If you can make it thorough this section, you can make it on many area trail runs. But back to the Hill of Death specifically. Last year, I highlighted how it took me more than a few times to get up the hill due to the mud from the rain. I came in expecting the same, but was pleasantly surprised that there were no issues this year, even with the snow. HOWEVER, the hill still sucks (pardon my french). It’s not overly long, but it’s straight up. And just when you think you made it to the peak, there is more climbing. And when you finish that climbing- oh yeah- there’s a bit more.But the scenery from the top is spectacular. Like crazy good. Like want to stop running for the day and just gaze over the Valley good. The next stretch along a narrow canopy-covered trail is a blast. The final few miles were along the snow covered service road, with running made easier by following the pre-made tire tracks, and a long downhill stretch to the finish.