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Race Reviews

Do you have a race review to share? Email me at boyjame@hotmail.com to share.  Keep your review informative and descriptive so others can make informed decisions on the race. 
Hyner 25k & 50K - The 25k is technical course of big climbs (3 climbs), lots of rocks, big downhill and a slow trudge following a creek up through a hollow.  The views are stunning and the trails are in good condition.  The 25k attracts 1000+ runners and hikers.  This event has good aid stations, a great after race spread of food and a reasonable entry fee.  Expect slower times than your normal 25k time.  The 50k includes all of the 25k course with an added separate loop that divides the 25k loop.  The new loop contains some more big climbs, another long trudge through a rocky hollow but boasts some more "runnable sections" and a sweet 2 mile downhill section.  Expect one of your slowest 50k times as this course is brutal but worth the entry fee and travel.  Camping is available at the start/finish.  Weather is unpredicatble in April.  Be sure to have trained on hills and rocky trails and be "ok" with walking breaks. 
Rothrock 30k - Rothrock is known as Hyner's southern cousin for good reason.  It too contains some big climbs and very steep downhill (one descent has a rope to help participants down).  Rothrock differs from Hyner with even more rocks (if that is even possible).  There are some nice runnable sections in Rothrock (possibly used as bike trails) but beware there is always a rocky and/or hilly section around the corner.  This would not be considered a fast course (unless you are a mountain goat).  The race contains 4 aid stations (all very good) and a very nice after race party.  Weather in early June usually starts out nice but ends up hot by the end of the race.  This time of year, rain is always a possibility.  The price and distance to this race make it a desirable event to enter.  Be sure to have trained on hills and rocky trails and be "ok" with walking breaks. 
Stone Mill 50 miler - Stone Mill is run the same day as JFK 50 not too far away in Maryland. The course uses very runnable mostly non technical trails.  There are some rolling hills but nothing to be considered significant.  The majority of the course is single track trail which roams through some nice natural areas using the Seneca Greenway trail and Muddy Branch trail.  The aid stations are great and the course is well marked.  There is an early start to this race so bring your headlamp and with a slower time you will need the headlamp again at the end of the day.  From Harrisburg, the drive to the start area is a mere 90 minutes.  For the price ($35 in 2011) this is a great 50 miler.  There are little frills in this race - no tee shirt so if you need a race with a lot of "bells and whistles", this race is not for you. 
Fire on the Mountain 50k -  FOTM 50k is a small venue located in western Maryland.  It was set up to be one last training run opportunity before JFK (or Stone Mill).  It was strategically scheduled three weeks out fom those races.  The course contains 4 main sections: the red trail is a rolling technical trail that will take you up and down some steep sectons but not terribly long hills, the green trail follows along through a hollow in and out of a creek bed many times, the logging road contains rolling hills and a rough surface, and the purple trail finishes off with a nice gradual downhill before one last push up to the finish.  The entry fee is reasonable, the aid stations are very well stocked and manned.  This 32 mile course is tough and PRs will more than likely not be set but the scenery is breathtaking with vistas at the start and halfway points.  It is about a 2 hour drive from Harrisburg to the finish area where a bus transports to the start. 
Blues Cruise 50k - BC has become known for their incredible aid stations, hospitality and runnable course.  Prior to 2011, the course was an out and back on trails by Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County.  In 2011, the race changed to loop the entire lake 99% on trails.  The change in course led to slower times due to some rolling hills in the new sections but overall this is a semi fast course.  The sawg is nice (2011 they gave a nice zippered jacket) and the food at the aid stations is second to none.  The aid stations are manned by experienced ultra runners who are very supportive.  Weather in early October could be hot and humid or cooler fall temperatures.  This event would make for a great first time ultra.  Driving time from Harrisburg is around 60 minutes. 
Conestoga 10 miler - located in south western Lancaster County, this race is billed as "arguably the toughest 10-mile race on the east coast".  The trails are very technical with many rocks, roots, and non stop up then down, repeat.  This trail brings runners through possibly one of the more beautiful areas in south central PA.  Expect to be out there for twice your normal 10 mile run time.  This race will get your heart pumping and will keep your senses alert.  It is a good race to test your running on technical trails.  Driving time from Harrisburg to the finish where you will be bused to the start is about 45-60 minutes.