Mike Bialick wins again at Tunnel Hill 2019
Mike Bialick added to his incredibly consistent excellence at Tunnel Hill. Mike ran 12:59:43 to go with his previous times of 12:52, 12:56, and 13:02. He has been Male Champion three times, and overall winner twice. In fact, it's taken a World Record by Camille Herron in 2017, and a World's Best by Zach Bitter in 2018 to keep Mike from being a perfect four for four.
COVID-19 update - September 10
Here's the latest as of September 10: We don't know anything for certain. All early permits were categorically denied by the State of Illinois, so we tried waiting in hopes that things would improve, and we'd get the okay. We submitted permit applications today, and should know within 3 weeks. Could be sooner. Wish I knew more. I don't.
The following was posted about 3 months ago:
I wish I could tell you that Tunnel Hill is a go. I'm sure you're all aware that there is no race out there that can guarantee you that it will be held.
We will continue to do whatever we need to do to offer a safe, responsible race for those of you who want to run. Many will defer because of COVID-19, so many could get in off the waitlist. What are your chances? I don't know, depends upon how the country and the region is doing at the time.
Keep in mind that the State of Illinois could decide at any time to cancel the race, or ask us to reduce the size of the field. We have suggestions and procedures we can follow, and perhaps they'll be good enough.
All I can say is train like we'll have it. I'll update this site, and send an email to everyone immediately, if we get any news from the State (good or bad).
We are not sold out. Enter the waitlist at no risk, and we'll save a spot for you.
If things turn around, and it's a clear "go", then we'll send an email invite to you to enter from the waitlist. You will not be charged unless 1. you receive an email invite AND 2. you ACCEPT the invite.
We certainly hope to see you at Tunnel Hill this year.
Camille Herron shatters World Record at 2017 Tunnel Hill
Camille Herron predicted it, then blazed to a new WORLD RECORD for women 100 mile Open record (regardless of surface, including Track). She raced a 7:37mi pace for 100 miles to finish in 12:42:40, eclipsing the old mark by over an hour and 3 minutes. This was the fastest 100 mile run in North America by male or female for 2017, and was also the Fastest Known Time for 100 miles on a trail by anyone, ever, in North America
How Fast Do You Want to Run?
Looking for your first 100? How about your first sub 24? Sub 20? Lower?
It's possible here at Tunnel Hill.
There are a large % of first-time finishers in the 100 or the 50 miles. For those who have run a 100 or 50 elsewhere, the majority of them set a personal record, and oftentimes by a wide margin.
Are you next?
Zach Bitter runs 12:08:36 at 2018 Tunnel Hill
12:08:36! Zach Bitter, of Phoenix ran the 4th fastest 100 mile ever, and a World's Best Time for 100 miles on a trail.
Coupled with Camille Herron's World Record (regardless of surface) time of 12:42:40, Tunnel Hill now owns the fastest times for male and female ever run on a non-paved surface. (Trail)
50 mile Early Start
In an effort to ease congestion during the parking process, and at the first two aid stations, we have changed the 50 mile Start time to 09:00 (two hours later than the 100 mile start).
Most of you are thrilled with the two extra hours of sleep, but understandably some of you have made plans to run the first 50 miles with others, or perhaps you are worried about needing the extra two hours. We have an exception for you:
You can register for the Early Start 50
You should know that if you start at 07:00 you will receive an Official finish time, and the 50 mile buckle when you finish your 50 miles. You will NOT be eligible for any World or National Records, or for any prize money or additional awards.
When you register for the 50 mile, choose the time you are most likely to start. IF you change your mind later, merely send me an email and I'll switch you. Easy peasy.
Pacers - We are limited by the IDNR as to the number of runners we can have on the trail at a given time. Therefore, the following Pacer rules are in effect:
100 milers: You can have a pacer beginning at whichever time comes first; your final 24 miles (which corresponds to Vienna park as you begin your second trip to the tunnel and back), OR you can have one once it gets DARK (which can be at the nearest aid station to you when it gets dark).
50 milers: You can have a pacer at the nearest aid station to you for when it gets dark.
The trail is extremely easy to follow, with no technical sections, and only one major road crossing, so the vast majority will not need a pacer to keep you on course. There will be hundreds of other runners on the trail with you, and since it is an out and back, the chances of not seeing anyone every few minutes are very slim.
NOTE: in accordance with USATF rules, anyone planning to run and file for an American Record, including age group record, may NOT have a pacer, however they may run with someone in the race.
Camille Herron is the Guest Speaker
Camille burst into our hearts in 2017 with a stunning 100 mile World Record here at Tunnel Hill. She returned in 2018 as the guest speaker, and again in 2019 to conduct runner clinics for us. Each year she has been around cheering and encouraging runners before, during, and after they run.
Camille has gone on to set more World Records, including an incredible 24hr mark of 167.7 miles. No doubt she'll establish more before we see her again at Tunnel Hill.
We're always excited to hear her thoughts on her achievements, and what it takes to become the best that we can be.
USATF Sanctioned; IAU Silver Label Road, and IAU Trail Label, with Certified Courses
100 mile USATF course certification #IL17003BW
50 mile USATF course certification #IL17004BW
IAAF certification # USA-2017-011
IAU - Silver Label - 2020.807.100M.S & 2020.807.50M S
IAU - Trail Label
Courses certified by USATF Official Brandon Wilson, and subsequently Ratified by USATF course verifier Mike Wickiser.
If you are out to set a World Record, you should notify us. There are very particular procedures we will follow to help you. If you set an Age Group Record, it will be upheld quickly, since the course has already been ratified.
USATF rules will be used, so you should familiarize yourself with these rules. In particular, you are NOT allowed to receive aid from your crew if you are outside of a designated aid station area. There will be plenty of room designated near the established stations.
ALSO: IF you are trying for a record; World, American, or Age Group, you are NOT allowed pacers. You can run with someone IN the race.
If you are NOT trying to set a record, then you can have your pacer. See below for details
Schedule of Events
All times are CENTRAL Standard Time
NOTE: Start time change of the 50mile run.
The Start and Finish are at Vienna City Park, 302 E. Vine St, Vienna, IL 62995
Friday - Nov 13 - at Vienna HS, 601 N. 1st Street, Vienna
3pm - 7pm packet pickup
3:30 - 5pm Runners Clinics hosted by TBD
4:45-7:00pm Pasta Dinner courtesy of Johnson County. Additional guest are $10 adults, $5 age 6-
12, Kids under 6 are free.
6pm Guest speaker: Our very special guest speaker is none other than CAMILLE HERRON! .
Saturday November 14 at Vienna City Park
5a - 6:30a Parking - arrive early enough to walk 1/2 mile if first lots are full
05:00 - 08:45 am Day of Race packet pick up (keep in mind that the 100 starts at 7am)
Leave Drop Bags in designated area
06:45: Last minute words of encouragement and National Anthem
7:00 START of Tunnel Hill 100 mile run and early 50 mile start
9:00 START of Tunnel Hill 50mile run.
Sunday November 15
Marathon packet pick up 05:30-06:30.
07:00 START of Tunnel Hill Marathon.
1p FINISH of Tunnel Hill 100 & 50 mile runs and Marathon
Western States & UTMB qualifying race
We are pleased that Tunnel Hill 2020 is a UTMB qualifying race, worth 5 points.
Tunnel Hill 2020 is also a qualifier for Western States 2022. Finish the 100, and you've qualified for WSER 2022.
Note: you still have to go through the qualifying paperwork.
Lodging - Camping - Airports
Special rates at Holiday Inn Express: Tunnel Hill 100 has a special rate of $85+tax per night at the Holiday Inn Express in Marion, IL and Paducah, KY. To book, participants need to click on the links below and then navigate to the dates(11-13,11-14,11-15) to see and book the special rate. They can book any or all of those dates depending how many nights they want to stay.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marion
2609 Blue Heron Drive
Marion, IL 62959
Booking Link: Tunnel Hill 100
Holiday Inn Express & Suites: Paducah West
3996 Hinkleville Road
Paducah, KY 42001
Booking Link: Tunnel Hill 100
Lodging - From the south; Paducah, KY is about 25 miles south (or East via I-24. Exit 4 Paducah has just about every type of motel. If you are coming from the north you may want to check out Marion, IL... about 30 miles from Vienna
Metropolis, IL has some hotels as well; about 20 miles to the south of Vienna exit.
Camping: Tent camping only is allowed at the Vienna Park. First Come/First Served as they do not take reservations, but we ask that you make a donation at the Forman Depot there. Very convenient since the start/finish is here. You can set up as early as Thursday morning. Lots of places to eat, get groceries, etc within a half mile. Looks like about 16 electric outlets scattered around. Water available through faucets.
SPECIAL NOTE: RV and trailer camping is NOT allowed at Vienna Park for 2019. Sorry about this. We recommend you use Shawnee Forest Campground for RV and trailer camping.
Camping: Shawnee Forest Campground is located just off I-24 exit 16, 1800 State Route 146E: 60 Full Hookup Sites, just about a mile from the start/finish. shawneeforestcampground.com 618-658-0619;
Main Brothers Campground - Karnak, IL - about ten miles from the start, very near the 10, 15, 60, and 65 mile aid station. Hookups, etc. 618-634-9311
Airports: St. Louis, MO, Lambert International is 150 miles from Vienna. Paducah Kentucky, Barkley airport is 35 miles. Nashville International is 175 miles.
Is it a Road Course, or is it a Trail?
IS IT A ROAD COURSE, OR IS IT A TRAIL??
This was a hotly debated topic after Camille Herron slaughtered the women’s 100 mile World Record.
Well guess what? It’s both!
Because it is sanctioned, and course certified by the USATF & IAAF (and course ratified), it’s a Road or Open course.
And, because it is not paved, it is considered Trail by the American Trail Runners Assoc., and the International Trail Runners Association.
Camille’s 12:42:40 gives her the World Record for 100 miles for Women, regardless of surface (including Track).
Zach Bitter's 12:08:36 gives him the World's Best time for an unpaved surface (commonly known by the ITRA as a trail) 100 by anyone, ever.
Tunnel Hill Marathon is a Boston Qualifier
Tunnel Hill Marathon is held on Sunday November 15, beginning at 7am CST.
We use the legendary Tunnel Hill Trail; starting at the same start line in Vienna City Park, proceeding south for 1.1 miles, then turn north, and through the iconic Tunnel to the northern turnaround, before running back through the tunnel, and enjoying a slight 9 mile downhill to the finish at Vienna City Park.
The event is USATF Sanctioned, and the course is USATF certified IL18001BW
The Course - Time Limits - Drop Downs
Course- 100 miles - Course begins at the City Park in Vienna, make a celebratory loop around the parking lot, and heads south on the Tunnel Hill State Trail, to the Wetlands Center at 13.25miles, where it turns back north to run 25 miles to the northern turnaround, and then back 11.75 miles to the start/finish. This gives you 50 miles. Repeat this course for the 100. By repeating the 50 mile course we are giving you the best course, with the most scenery.
Course - 50 miles - runners will begin by running south for 13.25 miles, then turning back to run 25 miles north to the 50 mi turnaround, and back 11.75 miles to the finish.
50 milers will run through the famous tunnel twice, and 100 milers four times.
Time Limits - 100 milers have 30 hours to finish. 50 milers have 28 hours.
100 milers must begin the second 50 in less than 14 hours.
You can see the Course on www.durbinracemanagement.com
30 hr limit; cutoff times; drop downs
You are expected to remain on a pace, equal to or faster, that will allow you to finish in 30 hours for 100, or 28 hours for 50. There is no "grace" period.
Cut off times will be listed at each aid station, and in the Racer's Booklet given to you at packet pickup.
The Tunnel Hill State Trail is CLOSED at dark, unless you are in the race (either a pacer, or runner).
If it is dark, and you do not arrive at an aid station at a 30 hour or 28 hour or better pace, volunteers will pick you up, and take you to the finish or to your crew, whichever is preferred.
If you fail to reach an aid station within the allotted time during daylight hours, you may continue if you wish, but you will not be considered a 100 mile finisher. You WILL be given (if you want it), the 50 mile finisher's buckle, and your 50 mile split will be recorded as your finishing time
Prize Money - Awards
PRIZE MONEY AND AMENITIES
Establish a new 100 mile World Record M or F, and earn $5,000. (World Record for men is 11:19:13; Women 12:42:40).
Establish a new course record, MALE or FEMALE, and earn $3000. (Camille Herron, 12:42:40, and Zach Bitter, 12:08:36), own them.
Establish a new 50 mile course record Male or Female, and earn $1500. (Coree Woltering - 5:30:15; Neela D'Souza - 6:36:35)
World's Best Time (trail) for Male or Female at 100 miles is worth $3000
Top 3 runners m/f in the 100 mile receive: 1st - $1250, 2nd - $750, 3rd - $500, plus free entry into 2021
Top 3 runners M/F in the 50 mile receive: 1st - $750, 2nd - $500, 3rd - $300, plus free entry into 2021.
Top 3 runners M/F Marathon receive: 1st - $500, 2nd $250, 3rd $150, plus free entry into 2021.
100 mile: All entrants will receive a tech shirt, a drawstring bag, a race belt for your bib, and a running cap.
Finishers will receive a custom belt buckle, and a nice light weight jacket.
50 mile: All entrants will receive a tech shirt, drawstring bag, and a running cap. Finishers will receive a custom belt buckle.
Marathon finishers receive custom medal.
More bling could be given based on number of entrants.
Shoes - Gaiters
Shoes/Gaiters: The running surface is smooth, with a finely crushed limestone layer over a dirt bed. You can wear whichever shoes are most comfortable for you. I recommend you wear gaiters to keep the small rock out of your shoes (especially if it rains, as the rock tends to stick to the bottom of your shoes more.
Please note that there are no refunds.
If we are allowed to host the race, we will. If we host it, unless you are prohibited by your governing body from attending there will be no roll-overs to 2021.
Thank you for your understanding.
Aid Stations - Drop Bags/Boxes
See the Aid Station chart at www.durbinracemanagement.com for Aid Stations locations (gps coordinates) and directions to locations.
They will be stocked with the usual aid station fare... water, SWORD hydration drink (drinksword.com), bananas, oranges, chips, candy, energy snacks, Honey Stinger Gel, and other items. Early on there will be egg sandwiches, and later in the day turkey wraps, bean wraps, spinach wraps, boiled potatoes, soup, and coffee will be available.
Even hamburgers and hot dogs will be available at the Vienna Park station
Very minimal amount of cups will be available... please bring your own water/fluid containers.
Limited amount of Soda will be on-hand, as it’s well known that too much sugar will blow up your race.
PLEASE: CREW MEMBERS SHOULD NOT EAT AID STATION FOOD. IT IS FOR THE RUNNERS. Please support local businesses by purchasing food from them
NOTE: Breeden Trestle (mm 31.5; 45.1; 80.9; 95.1) will most likely be unmanned. There will be gallon jugs of water there for you to pour into your containers. No cups.
Porta Johns are available at every aid station. Toilets and running water are available at 10.9, 16, 26.6, 36.3, 40.3, and 50.
Drop bags/boxes: Should be kept to a reasonable size, or if you insist on knowing a size, let's call it 10" x 10" x 18" or smaller, or a little bigger. They are to be left near the start/finish line on Saturday morning in the designated area for each location; either Karnak; Vienna; or Tunnel Hill. We will take them, (or in the case of Vienna, leave them) to these locations for you. (You can view this information by going to www.durbinracemanagement.com > races > Tunnel Hill 100/50, and clicking on the link. NOTE: 10.9 & 16 are the same location; 36.3 & 40.3 are the same. 26.6/50 is the start/finish. So, besides the start/finish, there are two additional drop bag locations, that 50 mile runners can access twice each, and 100 mile runners can access four times each.
NOTE: When you are finished with your drop bag/box for the day, please place them in the RETURN TO FINISH area
DO NOT LITTER - OR FACE DQ
It's a real shame that we have to mention this. The vast majority understand that you DON'T throw trash on the ground. This should apply anywhere, and especially out on a trail. Either use the trash bins at the aid stations, or carefully store your trash on yourself until you reach a trash bin.
Runners are encouraged to report those who litter to race management, and offenders could face disqualification.
Race Director Comments - Welcome to TH # 7
Living in nearby Paducah, KY, I spent many days on the Tunnel Hill rails to trails.
I was fascinated by the old train trestles, the gorgeous scenery, and most of all, the dark, cool tunnel. Even though I knew that trains ran through it, I was always fearful of running into the wall... it seemed to narrow on you as you approached the middle.
After I ran my first 100 miler in 2004, I started to think of hosting a 100 on the Tunnel Hill State Trail. In 2014, we hosted our first.
What a great course it is, too! Fast! This Tunnel Hill course is proving itself to be the fastest hundred in not only the United States, but the World.
Unlike a Track, you don’t have to make your way around slower runners the whole day, or if you’re slower, you don’t have to move over for faster runners all day.
There are no altitude issues... elevation runs between 340' and 680' above sea level.
No humongous hills, in fact, no hills... instead a gentle 2% grade.
No roots, rocks, or indentions in the trail to contend with at night... this is a crushed limestone, smooth trail, with the occasional stick. (After all, it IS tree lined most of the way). And, we are having it in mid November to take out the hot, humid days.
This just seemed to be the perfect 100 miler for first time hundreds (and everyone wants to run 100 miles now, don't they? The same runners who, several years ago, were facing their first marathons).
It's also ideal for veterans to break that elusive 24 hour barrier, or for faster runners to finally crack 20 hours.
Annnd... don't think that because it's a rails trail that it will be boring... nothing further from the truth... the trail cuts beautifully through gorgeous overlooks, using some very cool bridges. It'll leave you breathless
Thanks to Assistant Director, Jason Claunch, for his outstanding work in securing some of the best volunteers anywhere. River to River Runners Club, West Kentucky Runners Club, and the wonderful people of Vienna, IL and Johnson Co. and those at Tunnel Hill State Trail.
We're looking forward to being your host!
Steve Durbin - Race Director
Highlights from the First 6 Years
2019: Mike Bialick added to his incredible success story at Tunnel Hill by winning outright for the second time. His 12:59:43 was the second fastest 100 mile at the time, behind only Zach Bitter's new world record set at the 6 Days in the Dome event. Loretta Horn won the women's with her 17:21. In the 50 mile, 2016 100 mile winner, Juan Moran, beat a strong field, that included five runners with SUB6 hours,with his 5:35:37. Stephanie Hill's 7:19 won for the women.
2018: 12:08:36. American Record Holder at 100 miles, Zach Bitter blazed to the 4th fastest 100 miles ever, and shattered the world mark for FKT on a trail 100. Two-time Male Champion, Mike Bialick cruised to what will probably be the second fastest 100 run in N. America this year with his 12:56. Neela D'Souza won for the 3rd overall time, and second in the 100 with a 16:52.
In the 50 mile, NIcole Monette ran the second fastest TH 50 miler, finishing in 6:37, while Maksym Chepeliev smoked a 5:59.
2017: WORLD RECORD! Camille Herron ran 12:42:40, shattering the old record by over an hour! Her mark also establishes a new Fastest Known Time for 100 miles on Trail by anyone, ever.
Mike Bialick ran a gutsy race, following within striking distance until around mile 90. She was simply too strong on this day. Mike won the Men’s Division with a 13:02:44.
In the 50 mile: Matt Hoyes ran the second fastest TH50, winning in 5:54:40, while Alicia Heyne won the women's in 7:26:31.
2016: Coree Woltering ran away from a strong field with his brilliant 5:30:15 for 50 miles. This was the second win for Coree at Tunnel Hill, and the second fastest 50 mile run in North America for the year.
Juan Moran took the 100 mile win with a 14:40:26, while Neela D’Souza’s 16:20:07 earned her second overall, and First Female.
2015: We saw it, and we are still amazed. Mike Bialick of Minnetonka, MN, flew past all the really fast 50 milers, turning in a 6:07 fifty mile split, on his way to the Fastest 100 mile run recorded for 2015. His 12:52:53 is listed as the fastest by a whopping 40 minutes over the second fastest time for the year. Harvey Lewis was second in 14:45. Kristen Roe, of Manlius, NY, a many time Ironman finisher, in her very first 100 miler, took the Ladies title with her 17:34:55.
In the 50 mile: Coree Woltering won in 6:18:06, while Neela D'Souza took the women's crown in 6:36:35.
2014: When we decided to host a 100/50 miler on the beautiful Tunnel Hill State Trail we knew that someone could post a really fast time. Flat, scenic, no trip hazards, no altitude issues, and long "let er rip" sections promised a fast course. Add World Record holder Traci Falbo (most miles indoor for 48 hours), and excitement was high. (much higher than the temperatures.. 18 degrees at the start, overcast upper 20s in the day, and a little sleet at night).
Traci cruised to a new American Record for woman on a trail 100 miler with her 14:45:26.
Traci put Tunnel Hill on the map with her brilliant performance, lending instant credibility to the course.
You can see her interview with irunfar by clicking on the link below: OR clicking doesn't work, copy and paste
Troy Shellhamer won the Men’s Division in 16:08:02.
In the 50 mile: Matthew Brooks won with his 6:20:29, while Ashley Ruberg won the women's in 6:56:29
History of the Tunnel Hill State Trail
At one time, the rumble of freight cars reverberated through the narrow tunnel. Wooden trestles, with their system of slanted supports and horizontal cross pieces, spanned numerous bluffs and creeks. Passengers in Pullman cars clocked the miles with these and other landmarks as they traveled one of southern Illinois' most scenic routes.
Today, the railroad is gone. The route, known as Tunnel Hill State Trail, remains.
Tunnel Hill State Trail stretches for over 50 miles from Harrisburg to Karnak. The trail continues on a trails spur for 2.5 miles from Karnak to Cache River State Natural Area - Henry Barkhausen Wetlands Center on the old Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad bed.
The trail (ranging in width from 40 to 200 feet) features ever-changing vistas, from lush wetlands including an ancient Cypress-tupelo swamp, abundant wildlife, picturesque trestles ranging from 34 to 450 feet, and incredible rock formations.
Elevation ranges from 340 feet at Karnak on the southern end, to the highest point at Tunnel Hill at 680 feet, giving the trail a gentle 2% grade.
The main attraction is the iconic tunnel. Once over 800’ long, before a portion collapsed in 1929 leaving 600 feet of thrills and chllls.
For much more information on Tunnel Hill State Trail, please visit the Illinois Dept of Resources page. http://www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r5/tunnel.htm
Would you like to VOLUNTEER?
Volunteers are the life line of the Tunnel Hill runs. Under the coordination of Jason Claunch, we have been blessed with an outstanding group, including some from the River to River Runners Club, The West Kentucky Runners Club, Johnson County Masons, and the Eastern Star.
If you would like to volunteer to help we can use you! Let us know!
Steve Durbin – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Claunch – email@example.com
Volunteers receive a long sleeve Tunnel Hill shirt, and the recognition and appreciation of 750 runners!
Thanks to current sponsors:
Local time: 6:38 AM
So iLL Racing
West Kentucky Runners Club
River to River Runners Club
SWORD Performance drink www.drinksword.com
Johnson County IL
City of Vienna
And our newest Sponsor! Performance Tea www.performancetea.comFor sponsorships opportunities please contact Steve Durbin at firstname.lastname@example.org