The original course combines the best of Chattanooga’s worlds – part road and part trail. All races begin at Laurel Point on top of Raccoon Mountain. That’s because it’s the place with the biggest parking lot on the mountain. #logic
Runners traveling on the original course head up to the road around the reservoir dam and stay on the road for the first 3-ish miles. (Super precise, we know!)
Yes, this is really what it looks like between miles 1 and 2 of the original course. Picture these people facing the other way, and that’s what it looks like between miles 24 and 25 of the marathon.
There is an aid station just past mile 3. At that point, runners will head onto the trails around the Switchyard and the east side of the mountain for about another 3-ish miles.
The next aid station is at the 6-ish mile mark, at the East Overlook. We recommend taking a minute to actually look at the overlook, where you can see all of downtown Chattanooga.
Miles 7-ish through 10-ish take runners back onto the road up the east side of the rim road, revisiting the Switchyard aid station, then back down toward Laurel Point.
Then it’s a quick stop – or a not-so-quick stop, that’s up to you – at an aid station before heading back onto the trails.
Marathoners turn around and do the entire course backwards.
Aid stations and port-o-potties will be available approximately every 3 miles, and before/after each trail section. Peeing in the woods is unnecessary!
Runners taking on the all trail half marathon will pop off the trails to visit some aid stations. Due to the locations of the trails, all trail half marathoners may want to carry a hydration system like a Camelbak or handheld bottle to hydrate between aid stations, since you may go up to 5 miles between aid stations. There are two unmanned aid crates on the trail with bottled water and Gatorade, energy gels, and snacks. Please don’t drop your trash on the trails!
10K runners use the rim road – no trails for you! Aid stations are at mile 3 and an optional aid station at mile 4.5ish.
Doing the all-road half marathon? You’ll do two loops (with a little extra, because we like our courses to measure accurately) of the 10K course.
The trails are technical, there are roots and rocks to contend with, but this has been a first-time trail race for many. Trail shoes are not necessary, although some prefer to wear them. The rocks can be slippery, so use caution! The trails are marked approximately every 200 feet with colored ribbons that will match your bib color to let you know you’re on the right track. The roads are marked with colored duct tape to let you know you’re on the right track. If you’re colorblind, well, ask someone nearby what color the ribbons and tape are.
No matter which course you choose, it will NOT be flat and not fast. Hills keep things interesting and easy is boring! The course is not exceptionally difficult (we’ve had tons of people complete their first half marathon or first marathon, or first trail race with us) but it IS challenging. Expect to be a little slower than a typical road race. Expect to be a lot slower if you take a bunch of pictures and hang out at the aid stations like the cool kids.
Personalized signs are back! Every single runner that is registered at least one week prior to race day will have a sign with their name on it on the course!
Don’t expect to PR here. Don’t expect a super serious, super competitive race. Feel free to run the speed that makes you happy, but don’t expect hundreds of volunteers holding out water and Gatorade and pacers and all of that jazz. We’re just a bunch of goofballs who like to have fun and put on fun races.
Having a great time is completely up to you!