In the midst of what I called my “50k Obsession” a couple of years ago, I ran the Elk-Kings Trails 50k. This was one of the most scenic of the six 50ks I did in two years, and the fact that it was hosted by Go Beyond Racing only made it that much better. I’ll never forget the thrill of each and every aide station, as the volunteers never failed to make me feel like a rockstar, no matter how I looked or how slow my feet shuffled.
Turns out, the 50k is actually one of the easier distances for the Elk-Kings Trail Races, despite being the longest of the three offerings. This year, the race will be on October 2nd, and as always it will be located among the trees of the epically gorgeous Tillamook State Forest. Runners will have a choice between a 25k, a 50k, or a “Mountain Marathon,” which is actually 27.5 miles of hilly mountains.
Both the Mountain Marathon and the 25k will require shuttle service out to the start, and the first shuttles will leave (last name A-L) at 8:25am, followed by the last shuttle (last name M-Z) leaving at 8:40AM. Both race distances will begin at 9:00AM.
The Mountain Marathon will take runners up 8000’ of gain and a bit more in loss, which is nothing to sneeze at. Participants will begin by going up the backside of Elk Mountain, then over and down Kings, and then back up Elk’s summit. This final climb will also follow the route that the 25k runners will take up to the top.
The 25k will also summit two mountains, (Elk and Kings, of course!) and will climb 5,800 feet. Sections will require “small scrambles as well as very steep descents” on rocky and/or muddy trails. The website strongly encourages runners to run this course before race day if possible.
Finally, the 50k, which begins at 7:30AM, has 6500’ of elevation gain and runs on single track trails along the Wilson River. It follows a double out and back course, heading west on the Wilson and then coming back to the start before going east to the base of Elk Mountain. Runners will then turn around and run back to the finish from there.
All of the races will finish at the Smith Homestead rather than at the Tillamook Forest Center as it has in the past. Runners will come to the homestead to pick up their bibs before the race, and this is also the start location for the 50k. The change from the finish at the Tillamook Forest Center to the Smith Homestead will make getting back to your car after the race much easier and the post-race environment will be better as well!
Speaking of parking, it will be limited and very tight. Volunteers will be out there to direct you to where you need to go, so please follow instructions and make room for everyone. Carpooling is HIGHLY recommended. Go Beyond even has a Google spreadsheet available that you can use to find or give a ride here. There’s also a Carpool Coaster available if you carpool!!
Stick around after the race, as Red Duck pulled pork BBQ will be available as well as veggie burgers for all runners and volunteers. There will also be raffle prizes as well as awards for the top finishers. The Mountain Marathon and the 25k King and Queen of the Mountain will also be crowned.
If you’re looking for a beautiful challenge, this is it!!
When: October 2nd, 2021
Where: 45500 Wilson River Hwy, Tillamook OR
Cost: 50k $115, 27 Miler $105, 25k $95. Optional race shirts can be purchased through Sept 14th.
Packet Pick-Up: Race morning inside the Smith Homestead from 6:00AM to 7:00AM for the 50k and 7:45AM to 8:40AM for the 25k & Mountain Marathon. Photo ID will be required. 25k/Mountain Marathon participants must pick up bibs before getting on shuttles to the start line.