Race Preview: 2021 Smith Rock Ascent 50k/15 Miler

The Smith Rock Ascent is on my bucket list. This is an epic race and a scenic landmark, and you can never go wrong with a Go Beyond Racing event. All of their events are among the most well-organized and beautiful I’ve done, and their volunteers always make me feel like a rockstar, no matter how tired I am when I huff up to the aid stations. This year, the Smith Rock Ascent will be held on May 15th for the 50k and May 16th  if you’d prefer the 15 Miler.

Smith Rock State Park is one of the reasons why Oregon is so magical. The views of the rock faces are stunning, the Cascade Mountains and Mt Jefferson backdrops are breathtaking, and with this race in the springtime, you probably couldn’t ask for a better destination. With a reduced capacity of participants in both distances due to Covid restrictions, there is only a wait list currently, and the 4 Miler and Kids Fun Runs had to be canceled this year.

Please plan to park off-site at the Smith Rock Ranch (1250 NE Wilcox Ave, Terrebonne, OR) and take the shuttle to and from the race start from there. All parking fees have been included in your registration fee. Shuttles will be running from 6:15AM to 7:15AM on Saturday and 6:15AM to 8:00AM on Sunday, so please don’t be late!! The post-race shuttle will run every 30 minutes from 12:30PM to 5:00PM on Saturday and 9:30AM to 1:30PM on Sunday to get you back to your car.

The 50k race is a lollipop style course and there is 4100 ft of elevation gain, so it’s not for the faint of heart. However, the views are worth that trek and 75% of the course is on single track trails. The 15 Mile race treats runners to 3000 vertical feet of gain and it ascends to the top of Gray Butte. Gorgeous views of Central Oregon and the Three Sisters will be the reward after the climb.

There will be some ultra goodies at the aid stations, such as PB&J, chips, cookies, pretzels, pickles, fruit, GU gels and electrolyte drink, as well as soda and water. This will be a cupless event, so bring your own hydration vessel, whatever than might be.

The cost of the race is $115 for the 50k and $95 for the 15 Miler. There will not be day-of-race registration available this year. Sorry, but there will be no transfers to other runners.

Due to the pandemic, there will be a rolling start for both races (starting at 8:00AM) and masks will be required at the start/finish area and at aid stations. There will also be reduced aid station options, so you might want to consider bringing your own fuel. There will be a hand-sanitizer requirement to enter the aid stations, and there cannot be a post-race ceremony. Unfortunately, spectators will not be allowed at the start and finish either.

You will be permitted to have a finish line drop bag so you can get some fresh clothes on after you’re done running. If you wish to participate in this, make sure you place your drop bag in the U-Haul when you get off the shuttle at the start line on race morning. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, there will not be any post-race festivities, but you will be given a delicious burrito and beverage before you get on the shuttle to get back to your car.

Awards will be given to the top 3 male and female finishers, as well as the 1st thru 3rd age group winners. There will be raffle prizes as well.

Get on the waiting list now and maybe you’ll he facing the Ascent in May!!



What: 2021 Smith Rock Ascent 50k/15 Miler

When: Rolling Start at 8:00AM, Saturday May 15th (50k) and Sunday 16th, 2021 (15 Miler.) First shuttle from Smith Rock Ranch will be leaving towards the start at 6:15AM. Parking opens at 6:00AM.

Where: Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne OR

Cost: 50k is $115, 15 Miler is $95

Register: Here for waitlist

Packet Pick-Up: Friday May 14th from 4:00PM-6:00PM at FootZone in Bend. Additionally, bibs can be picked up Saturday and Sunday at Smith Rock State Park from 6:30AM-7:45AM

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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