Race Preview: 2019 McKenzie 50k River Trail Run (Eugene)

In the last two years, I’ve gotten into running 50ks and there’s one I keep hearing about from all the ultra runners. The 2019 McKenizie River Trail Run is now on my bucket list, and I plan to get in as soon as I’m ready for more.

If you’ve heard of this 50k race, the oldest Ultramarathon in Oregon, you know that by now, it’s too late to get in for 2019. However, it’s a great time to put it on your schedule for next year so you can plan for when the registration (and subsequent lottery) opens in April.

The point to point route, as the title suggests, follows the gorgeous McKenzie River National Recreational Trail and you’ll have two waterfalls to look forward to, as well as Clear Lake. There’s also lava flows along the route, log bridges and an an underground lava tube. It begins at Carmen Reservoir and travels upriver before finishing by the McKenizie Ranger Station. The race is considering technically challenging, but the elevation gains are modest in comparison to many other trail races, and the views will help distract you from whatever pain you might experience from running an ultra. Check out more info about the course here.

Because this is a point to point race, runners are required to park at the finish area by the McKenzie Ranger Station and take the shuttle to the start at Carmen Reservoir. (FYI, if you opt out of the shuttle, you will receive a DSN for the race!) The shuttle is free, but donations to the McKenzie High Cross Country Team is welcome at this time. Shuttles will begin leaving the McKenzie Community Track beginning at 5:00AM and the last shuttle will leave promptly at 6:00AM so don’t be late!! After the race, shuttles will be leaving the finish area back to the McKenzie Track every 30 minutes starting at 11:00AM.

There are 5 cut off times for the race (at miles 16.7, 21.8, 25.1, and at the finish at 31.1) but the one at the finish is not a formal cut off. If you reach 25.1 by the 1:30PM cut off time, you will be allowed to finish the race, provided you are making “reasonable progress.” There will be 5 aid stations, located every 4 to 6 miles along the course with water, electrolytes, and typical ultra food. Drop bags will be available at a designated area by the shuttle pick up and delivered to the Trail Bridge Reservoir at mile 16.7. They will be delivered to the McKenzie Track after the last runner passes at approximately noon. You may also leave warm-up clothes at the start and they will be brought to the finish.

This race is hosted by the Upper McKenzie community and many local businesses. It’s a non-profit organization which uses proceeds to support the McKenizie Bridge area.

Mission Statement

We will strive every year to:

  • Put on one of the world’s most beautiful ultramarathons
  • Support the local community by donating all net proceeds to the non-profit organizations of the McKenzie River Valley and by giving our business to local businesses as much possible
  • Find the most friendly, enthusiastic and helpful volunteers of any trail race, and let them do their thing
  • Help our runners have fun running down a scenic trail while dodging roots, lava, and interesting critters
  • Find all our runners by the end of the day

Awards will go to open male and female (overall) and top male and female in each age group.

The lottery for the race will be held the week after registration through UltraSignup. Registration opened April 1st this year, so plan for it to be a similar timeframe for 2020. The field is limited to 200 runners, so a lottery has been necessary for the past 6 years. There is also a buddy entry system available, so if you only want to do this with a friend, you can enter together.

I hope to see this finish line in my Ultra life someday. Maybe 2020 will be your year for it!!


What: 2019 McKenzie River Trail Run

When: Saturday, September 7th, 2019 at 7:00AM

Where: Start is at Carmen Reservoir (off Hwy 126, just below Koosah Falls and Icecap Campground.) Please park at the finish at the McKenzie Ranger Station and take the MANDATORY shuttle to the start.

Cost: $95

Register: Currently closed (check back on UltraSignup in April next year for 2020!)

Packet Pick-Up: Sept 3rd from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at the Public House Hub (418 A Street, Springfield, OR,) Sept 6th from 4:30PM to 8:30PM at the McKenzie Community Track (51326 Blue River Dr, Blue River, OR,) or September 7th from 4:30AM to 5:45AM at the shuttle pick up at McKenzie Community Track in Blue River. There will be NO packet pick-up at the start line.

About Author

I'm the owner of Healthy Girl Fitness and I'm a personal trainer, certified AFAA group exercise instructor, and an RRCA certified running coach in SW Portland. I am also the mother of two young boys and am on the board at my youngest son's school. I led a relatively inactive life throughout my 20's until I discovered the world of fitness and running. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and haven't looked back since.

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