Race Preview: 2023 McKenzie River Trail Run 50k

You don’t always get to race wherever you want. And for trail runners, this leads to what I call “runderlust” – the longing you feel when you learn about a beautiful singletrack but for whatever reason you can’t run there. Maybe it’s private property or just too risky to run it since you don’t know the area well enough to go it alone. So you keep your eyes open for chances to run there. This, my friends, is one of those chances.

Run under a specially-granted permit, the McKenzie River Trail Run uses some of the amazing trails in the Willamette National Forest. Now, before I build this race up too much only to dash your hopes, you need to know that registration for the 2023 race is closed (this race fills every year). But if a 50k through beautiful Oregon forest sounds like your idea of a good time, head to the woods as a volunteer and then be prepared to register when the 2024 race opens up. You can also put your name on the waiting list.

The 2023 McKenzie River Trail Run will be held on the second Saturday in June this year in hopes that there are no wildfires or unhealthy air quality issues in the area. Shuttling to the start of the race from the McKenzie Community Track is required due to a road closure at the Carmen Reservoir. The shuttles will leave very early, likely around 5:30AM, so stay tuned for more info on that to come. There will be coffee and snacks provided before the shuttle leaves. There will also be return shuttles from the finish line back to the track.

This 31 mile ultra race will take participants along the gorgeous McKenzie River, where you’ll be greeting by two waterfalls, Clear Lake, old growth forest, and the Tamolitch Pool, which is where the river flows from an underground lava tube. The route is technically challenging, but the elevation gains are considered “only moderate.”

The course has aid stations approximately every 4 to 6 miles. You will find water, electrolyte drink, and gels, as well as typical ultra aid station food. This race is CUPLESS, so please bring your own drinking vessels.. cups, flasks, bottles, whatever you drink from. If you do forget your cup, there will be a limited supply for purchase ($5) at packet pick-up.

If you wish to leave behind a drop bag, please bring it the the shuttle pick up at the McKenzie Community Track on race morning to be delivered to Trail Bridge Reservoir, which will be at mile 16.7. You can drop warm-ups at the start if you wish. All drop bags and items will be delivered to the McKenizie Community Track after the last runner comes through around 1:00PM.

Timed cut-offs will be located at aid stations 2 thru 5, and all runners need to keep an average pace of 15:15 per mile in order to keep the race to a time limit of  8 hours from start to finish.

After your triumphant finish, stick around for a meal provides from a local restaurant, as well as a finisher’s beer from Alesong.

Learn more about the event at its website here and engage with the race and its participants on its active facebook page here. This is also a great way to get notified when you can sign up for next year so you can jump on it, since the race is capped.

2023 McKenzie River Trail Run 50k $100


  • When: Saturday June 10th, 2023 at 7:00AM
  • Where: Carmen Reservoir, Blue River, OR
  • Packet Pick-Up: Wednesday June 7th at Alesong (5th Street Market, Eugene) from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. Also you have the option Friday before the race and Saturday morning packet pick-up at the McKenzie Community Track & Field, (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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