My husband, who is oddly strong on hills, ran the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb once. His pace doubled in the last mile. Not uncommon for this truly unique race that is slightly longer than a half marathon (at 13.3 miles), climbs a full mile, and finishes with a super-steep climb to the Mt. Ashland Ski area.
I sort of wish this was a regular half marathon followed by the hill climb, but then it would not be the serious challenge that it is. The route for this June 8th race starts Lithia Park in downtown Ashland and then follows mainly dirt roads (up) to an aid station 4 miles in. There’s a short downhill section and then you climb up again on the Bull Gap trail, again passing an aid station, and then it becomes a raw race to the top. There’s not even any rule you have to stay to the marked course (choose your footing and feel free to take rests).
This is a hard race. Do not do it if you’re not a complete and total badass who likes breathing hard and sucking wind. The website even states, “This is a long and demanding run: 13.3 miles long, with more than a mile of elevation gain. Please undertake it only if you are in excellent shape. I cannot stress this enough. It is a very strenuous event.” That being said, of course, if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be in good company. Everyone climbs the same elevation and everyone is in it together. To get a sense of the atmosphere at this race, simply read the FAQ, which is hilarious. And I quote:
If it’s so hard, how come all your pictures have smiling people?
Some of those people are hypoxic, possibly even brain-dead, and they probably couldn’t tell you who the current president is. Also, we don’t show the photos of people being miserable–bad marketing (as if this FAQ were the paragon of good marketing!).
This race is capped, and as of May 5, there were only about 170 spots left. The race is only $45, and will likely sell out in the next three weeks, so sign up sooner rather than later if you want in.
Typically run in August, this year’s race will not be hampered by the smoky skies that have plagued recent years. In addition to cleaner air, it’s likely that race temps (especially at the top) will be chilly. The race has a race bag transport to the top of the hill – pack some really warm gear so you can revel in your accomplishment after the run.
Proceeds from this race go to the Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association.
Here’s the details:
When: Satruday, June 8, 2019
What time: All participants will start at 7:30a
Where: The start is from Lithia Park in Ashland
Regsiter: Online here for $45 (race is capped, usually sells out a few weeks ahead of time.)