september, 2019

28sep7:00 am12:00 pmThe Rugged Red Half Marathon

The Rugged Red

Event Details

Important Information:
Bring plenty of water! We cannot stress this enough. There will be water stations along this half-marathon trail. Even so, we recommend that you carry water. Runners are the best judge of their body’s hydration levels.

All runners must sign a USATF waiver in person at registration in addition to the waiver signed on Run Sign Up. Runners under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian to participate. There will be search and rescue teams along the course and EMTs and ambulances on stand by. Remember, you will get off the Parkway at exit 33 and turn right this year at the end of the ramp.

The course parking will be at the Natural Bridge Campground this year Wi-Fi is available there. It is the campground behind the rest area parking lot. There will be a shuttle service in the rest area parking lot that will take you to the start line. Packet pick up will be Friday night at 5:00 pm until 9:00pm at the campground. We will be doing a wave start, in waves of 100 runners each.

We will be meeting at the campground the morning of the race. Be there by 5AM. You must have your race bib on before you will be permitted on the bus. We will shuttle you to the start line. The race begins at 7AM. We will have a wave start in waves of 100 scheduled 5 minutes apart. We are asking people to rank themselves based on estimated finish time. There will be a 5 hour limit. The runners must reach hwy 715 (approximately 8.5 miles) by 2 hours and 40 minutes. All racers who finish will receive a finisher medal with special prizes for the top finishers and age groups. Everyone will also receive a T-Shirt at packet pick up. Please order correct size t-shirt and pick up the size you ordered.

Because of the narrow, one lane road, buses will be used to shuttle runners to the start line. THERE CANNOT BE CARS PARKED ON CHIMNEY TOP ROAD AT THE START LINE. Likewise, the finish lane is a very narrow area of parking which must be used for bus traffic, to bus runners back to the campground where the awards ceremony will be. The Forest Service has requested that we keep these areas free of traffic. We must obey their rules in order to continue having this event. Please SPECTATORS wait at the campground to welcome runners back. Please cooperate so that we may enjoy this race for years to come.

The Rugged Red Trail Half-Marathon course remains the same this year. Once the gun goes off, runners will run south on Chimney Top Road to the Rough Trail parking lot. The course turns to single track at this point, following Rough Trail west to Koomer Ridge Trail. This begins the steep descent from the ridge into the valley. Runners cross the Creek, turn left, and onto Koomer Ridge Trail.

Run southwest on Koomer Ridge Trail for 1.6 miles then right onto Buck Trail. The trail climbs out of the bottom quickly (the first of 3 big climbs) via some stair stepping roots and rocks. The dirt trail soon peaks at a gorgeous overlook and stays level.

Continue on on Buck Trail until it intersects the Sheltowee Trace. This super scenic, very enjoyable 1.5 mile dirt stretch with modest dips and slopes as it heads downhill to the creek bed. Great time to recover before the technical trail ahead. For the end portion, the trail climbs out of the creek bed for your second big climb. Single file running for the most part.

Stay on the Sheltowee Trace–this is where we start seeing the trail marked by white diamonds and turtles painted on trees. Continue on the Sheltowee along the ridge for 1 mile to another steep descent and two creek crossings. Veer left, staying on the Sheltowee Trace to the Suspension Bridge. This is a fast section where runners can recover and cool off in the numerous creek crossings.

From the Suspension Bridge to Bison Way, after crossing the Suspension Bridge ,the trail crosses the main road hwy 715. Here the Sheltowee winds in and out of hollows and makes one more steep climb. Runners will pass Indian Arch and make the steep descent to Bison Way. Go right on Bison Way Trail.

Bison Way Trail to Finish Line This mostly downward sloping, trail head crosses the creek once, climbs briefly, lasts one mile before it exits into a parking lot. In the last .2 miles, our race route turns left onto 715, which you’ll run up to the barn with the quilt square. Run across the field, across a small bridge, up to and around the historic Gladie cabin, and straight away finish across the field outside the Gladie Center.

Course Map

Course Map




(Saturday) 7:00 am - 12:00 pm EST


Natural Bridge Campground

90 L&E Railroad Pl