Summary: Rocky Raccoon 50M and 100M are popular trail races for beginners looking to complete their first ultras or veterans looking for a PR in either distance. All runnable trails on soft pine needles, wooden bridges and minimally technical, yet sometimes rooty terrain, with minimal elevation change. Loop course with generous cutoffs, and includes a 100k on the day of the 100m and a 50k on the same day as the 50M. In 2016 the course was adjusted to accommodate construction, and in 2018 was changed from 20 mile loops to 25 mile loops because of damage from Hurricane Harvey.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- It’s more rooty raccoon than it is rocky, with tons of roots to stub your toes on and trip over, and the later into the race, the more likely you are to trip on them. Pick up your feet, know that you’ll stop picking them up as well as the race progresses, and stay positive in spite of stubbing your toes along the way.
- Not a hilly course, but not many flat sections. Constantly rolling along and the small rollers feel like big hills by the end.
- With it being a loop course that you repeat 4 times (2 for the 50), this has its benefits of learning the course and knowing what’s coming, but also the mental challenge of taking on the exact same loop several times.
- Weather is incredibly unpredictable, as previous years have seen freezing temps, snow, torrential downpours, heat and humidity, and everything in between, even as the race progresses. Have drop bags and/or crew with lots of different clothing, gear, and fueling options to adjust with the weather.
- Have a good headlamp – you will start in the dark and nearly every runner will run several hours or more in the dark, so have a good headlamp to see all the roots to trip over.
- Make sure crew has chairs to sit on at Dogwood; otherwise they have to sit on the ground. A tarp will work too.
- Some sections of forest roads along the park border, which are more runnable. If it’s been particularly wet, this can be a muddy mess, and if it’s been particularly dry, it can be a sandy, dusty mess. Again, weather plays a big factor in this race.
- If it’s wet, the mud can be more like clay, which gets very slick
- The first loop will be the most crowded, then it thins out and it’s nice to see people on the out and back portions
- This is a CUPLESS Race! No cups given for cold food/drink (cups given for hot food/drink at night). You are required to stay at the aid station with any paper and/or styrofoam cups/bowls and risk being DQ’d if you leave the aid station with them.
- There is a $5 park fee to be paid upon entrance to the park for anyone over 12.
- No dogs allowed on course or at any aid station.
Total gain/loss: ~11,128 (100M), ~5,564 (50M)
Ft/mile gain: ~111
Total climbs: Countless rollers per loop, anywhere from 20-80 feet with a couple of 100 foot climbs
Total aid stations: 7 per loop – Dogwood (start/finish), Nature Center, Gate, Damnation, Far Side (water and gels only), Damnation (again), Nature Center (again)
Furthest distance apart: 4.27 (100M), 4.27 (50M)
100M: 3.78, 6.5, 9.5, 14, 18.3, 21.3, 25.1
50M: 3.78, 6.5, 9.5, 14, 18.3, 21.3, 25.1
What’s available: Typical aid station fare plus Tailwind, Vfuel gels, and Saltstick. Depending on the weather, cold stuff when it’s extra hot and hot stuff when it’s cold. Not all aid stations will have the same foods. There will be meat & vegetarian options with no claims to gluten free or vegan needs.
Access at all locations. No parking at Gate, Nature Center, Damnation, or Far Side. No tents at the Start/Finish, but pop up shelters allowed.
Link to list:
Crew instructions/directions: Best places to crew are at Dogwood (Start/Finish) and Nature Center. There is one road in and out of the park, Park Road, and the distance from Dogwood to Nature Center is about 1 mile. No parking at Nature Center, so it’s best to walk/run/bike, as you have plenty of time to get between the two aid stations.
100M – Allowed to start from any aid station after 50 miles. Only one pacer at a time, no muling, if age 60+ you can have a pacer the entire race
50M – Allowed to start from any aid station after dark. Only one pacer at a time, no muling.
100 miler is a Western States qualifier
100 miler is 5 UTMB points
Strava activities and GPX files