Appomattox, VA

Avg Temps f.


Gain/Loss in ft


ft/mile gain


Highest Elev.






Time Limit

8 hours



Furthest Aid

~4 miles


Summary: The Holiday Lake 50K++ is a double loop course, going clockwise at first and then turning around and running counter clockwise, circling Holiday Lake itself as well as using country roads and trails in that area. The ++ is for the extra bit of miles you run past 50k, as it’s not exactly a 50k distance. With just over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, it’s a great first ultra, though the weather can be anything from pleasant with clear trails to cold and running in a foot of snow. Aid stations are located every 4 miles and runners start and finish at the Holiday Lake 4H Educational Center, with the pre-race meal and shower and lodging are all available at the 4H Center. Awards are presented to all sub 8 hour finishers.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • If you can stay in one of the bunkhouses at the start/finish, it saves you a lot of time in the morning, especially with such an early start, and you can hang around after the pre-race meal the night before
  • A couple of creek crossings, one deeper and wider than the other. Just get your feet wet rather than trying to jump across and risk falling.
  • Lots of long, runnable sections on the first loop and as long as you keep enough gas in the legs for the second loop, the way back feels just as runnable, even though you’re running up the hills you just ran down.
  • With a loop course that you go backwards on the second time, it feels a little crowded once you first turnaround, especially because there is a short, steep hill right away, but it spreads out quickly and opens up
  • Lots of opportunities to pass runners on the second loop who don’t leave enough for the second time around, especially on the gradual uphills. Lots of people start walking those on the second loop.
  • The race starts in the dark for ~30 minutes, with lots of falls mentioned in race reports – be ready for running in the dark and then having your headlamp for the first loop
  • Previous years have seen every kind of weather – be prepared with different gear and adjust goals if there is snow.
  • Several race reports noted people still being surprised by its difficulty, so don’t go in thinking it’s easy simply because it doesn’t have lots of gain and is deemed good for a first ultra.


Total gain/loss: ~2,000/2,000

Ft/mile gain: 63

Total climbs: ~10 ranging from 100-250 feet, 5 per lap

Course Map/Elevation profile (See Strava)

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 3 per loop plus start/finish, which you hit in the middle as well, for 7 total

Furthest distance apart: ~4 miles

What’s available: Typical aid station fare; bring anything specific to your dietary needs

Crew access

Access Locations: At start/finish, which is also the halfway point

Race qualifiers


Race reports

Strava activities and GPX files

Race Website