Saturday, Oct 3, 2020 @ 6:00 PM

Vertical Night Challenge

3451 Rocky Face Church Road

Hiddenite, NC 8 Miler, 16 Miler

Registration closes: Thu, Oct 1 @ 11:59AM




Jimmy Ballard and Doug Dawkins went hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont in 2011.
They hiked south from Hanover, N.H. into New York State.
Somewhere in Vermont during the countless PUDS (AT talk for pointless ups and downs) Jimmy wondered if we had been a vertical mile and in fatigued and deranged humor said something like "Wouldn’t it be something to put on a run where the whole idea was to do a vertical mile in the shortest distance possible?" 5280 feet up and 5280 feet down! It took a while to find the right location, but with the help of Rick French, this is that event. If you’re looking for a few hours of pure challenge this is your place.

The Course

The Vertical Mile Challenge Trail Race is not your average 16+ mile race. The course is approximately a 2-mile loop beginning and ending at the bottom of the rock face, which is directly behind the parking lot at Rocky Face Recreational Area. About a half-mile into the loop, there is a half-mile climb up Stairway to Heaven Trail. Stairway to Heaven Trail is an open rock face climb and at a 20 to 30 degree grade. At the top of the climb, runners turn left down Hollow Rocky Trail and it flows downhill to the top of the lower rock face. At this point, runners continue down a steep downhill section followed by 32 steps to the bottom and the end of the loop at the start/finish line. Runners must complete this loop 8 times for 16+ miles and a vertical mile up and a vertical mile down.


Awards will be given to Overall Male and Female finishers recognizing their accomplishment. Overall Alexander County Male and Female finishers will also be recognized. Additionally, awards will be presented for the Overall Fastest First Lap for Male and Female as well as Alexander County Fastest First Lap Male and Female. Only those who complete all 8 loops will be eligible for the “fastest first lap” award.
New this year will be finisher awards for 5-Year VMC Finishers – those who have completed 5 VMC races.
Awards will also be given to Overall Male and Female finishers recognizing their accomplishment in the Half-Vertical Mile Challenge. Overall Alexander County Male and Female finishers will also be recognized. There are no fastest first lap awards in the Half-Vertical Night Challenge race. New this year for finishers of both the VMC and VNC is the Vertical Double Buckle—a special belt buckle for those who finish both the VMC and VNC in 2020.


Shirts will be guaranteed to those who register by Sept. 24, 2020. To commemorate our night race, a new black long sleeve shirt will be presented. Non-finishers will not receive a shirt.

Packet pick-up

Packet pick starts at 4:30pm until the race begins at Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area located at 3451 Rocky Face Church Rd. Hiddenite, NC

Local time: 9:00 PM
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