The Pine Creek Challenge is just that, a place to challenge yourself and see how far or how fast you can run. It will be a scenic trail run along Pine Creek in northern Pennsylvania. The Pine Creek Rail Trail stretches 63 miles from Wellsboro Junction to Jersey Shore. It is repeatedly listed as one of the finest bike rides in the Northeast. We have set up an out and back course that uses 50 miles of the upper, “Canyon”, section. This section is through the Grand Canyon of the East, the Pine Creek Gorge. The Gorge stretches for 47 miles. It is nearly a mile wide and 1,450 feet deep at its deepest point. This section of Pine Creek is listed as a National Natural Landmark. It is popular with canoeists and rafters in the spring and trout fishermen are drawn here all year long.
Local time: 3:39 AM
The Challenge is very beginner friendly. The rail trail has a surface of fine crushed stone and is 20 feet wide. There are literally no puddles anywhere on it. There is no motorized traffic allowed on the trail. You might meet the horse drawn wagons that give rides into the canyon. There will certainly be cyclists and walkers on the trail. Wildlife abounds. At least 3 bald eagle nesting sites are in the Canyon. The Pennsylvania Game Commission chose Pine Creek as the release site for its successful effort to re-introduce river otters in Pennsylvania. Deer, foxes, coyotes and other small animals are here, too.
For this year only, we will have a new course format. The Rail Trail will be closed near Cedar Run, so we will use the "Canyon" section only. 100 milers will run from Asaph to Blackwell and back twice, for 4 passes through the canyon. 100k runners will go to Blackwell once. We will update the website soon to show the new layout.
The rail trail has a barely perceptible grade to the south. It loses 900 feet in 63 miles, for a 2% grade. We don't have mandatory entry requirements, but we strongly recommend that you have already successfully completed a run of 50 miles or more.
The 100 mile run will begin at 6:00 am Saturday. The 100 kilometer run will begin at 7:00 am Saturday. The course will be open until noon, Sunday. That gives 100 milers 30 hours to finish. 100 kilometer runners will have 29 hours to finish.
The weather in northern Pennsylvania in early September can be from hot, as in 99 degrees in 1959, to raw and cold, 36 degrees in 1956. The average range is 51 for a low, to 75 at mid day. This is just at the time the leaves start changing color, putting on a show that draws people from all over the Northeast.