Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

Loud Thunder 50

19408 Loud Thunder Rd

Illinois City, IL 50 Miler, 50K, 1/2 Marathon

Registration Closed Sun. Mar 31, 2024 @ 11:59 PM


Welcome to the Loud Thunder 50 presented by the Quad Cities Trail & Ultra Runners - (QC-TUR) and Sun Trail Running!
Please join us Saturday, April 20th 2024 for 50mi, 50k and 1/2 marathon trail races on the rugged, beautiful and challenging trails at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve along the mighty Mississipppi River.

Our hope is to showcase this amazing park all while providing a low key trail race experience for those looking for a challenging but rewarding late spring ultra. Our commitment is to provide the highest value event possible by keeping the cost low and the focus on the runner, the trails and this great outdoor community. Your registration fee covers all the race basics as well as custom swag, fully stocked aid stations, custom finisher awards, post-race food and drink and a guaranteed donation back to the park to help ensure future maintenance and conservation efforts.

Camping is available right at the start/finish (Horse Corral Campground) and throughout the park at a number of campgrounds. One of those campgrounds is located along the course right near the primary on-course aid station (Riverview). Reservations can be made beginning March 1st through the park at: Loud Thunder Forest Preserve Camping.
There is a 2 night minimum for online reservations. Unreserved campsites are available on a first come first serve basis with only a 1 night minimum. If you decide to camp during the race, please review and abide by all park rules and policies.

The 50mi starts at 6am, the 50k at 8am and the half marathon at 9am with an 8pm final cutoff for all race distances. 14hrs (50mi), 12hrs (50k), 11hrs (half marathon).
The start/finish is located at the Horse Corral Campground. Google Maps:
Park address in Google: 19408 Loud Thunder Rd, Illinois City, IL 61259
Coordinates will get you directly to the start/finish: 41.421726, -90.834335
Coming in from either the east or west on Loud Thunder Road, turn south off of Loud Thunder road and continue south on the park road following signs for the Horse Corral Campground.


As you can expect with races of this nature, distances won’t be exact but will be pretty close to advertised. Trust us; you’ll get your money’s worth! The race course is 13.3 miles and is primarily a loop format with a few short stretches of 2-way traffic. These 2-way sections will be a great opportunity to encourage and commiserate with your fellow runners! 50mi runners will run the full route 3x before finishing with a shortened 4th loop. 50k runners will run the full route 2x and finish with a shortened north loop. Half marathon runners will run a single loop of the race course.


We will be utilizing the majority of trails at Loud Thunder and you can expect terrain comprised of approximately 95% trail with a mix of dirt single and double track that also includes some short connecting stretches on grass and crushed gravel. There is minimal pavement on the course. The 50mi course contains ~6600ft of gain, ~4000ft for the 50k and ~1900 for the half.
There’s an incredible variety of topography with a number of bombable descents and lung burning climbs. You get beautiful views of the Mississippi and Lake George from down low as well as up high. There are some smooth runnable sections but these will also alternate with some serious hill punches to the gut that’ll make you work hard for that finish! This is NOT an easy course and although grit will get you further than speed here, we recommend the 50 miler not be your first attempt at the distance unless you generally run in the front half of the race pack at other races due to the strict nature of the 14hr cutoff.

Two fully stocked aid stations. One is at the S/F that runners hit one additional time per loop and another on the course that runners will hit twice. The longest distance between aid stations is less than 5mi. Both aid stations allow drop bags as well as a crew access. Pacers are ONLY allowed for the 50mi and ONLY for the last ~18mi. There is plenty of space for 50 mile crews to set up at parked vehicles or at a large greenspace adjacent to the start/finish aid station.

The race distance you start is the race distance you are scored in. There is no dropping down after the race has begun. If you do, you will be entered into the final results as a DNF.
All runners, as well as their pacers and crews, must follow the rules listed below at all times during the event. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.
1.) Leave No Trace!
2.) No cutting the course under any circumstances – any runner accepting a ride for any reason will be disqualified. If you leave the course for any reason, you must return to the spot you deviated from the original route and then continue from there.
3.) Trekking poles are allowed.
4.) Dogs are unfortunately not allowed to accompany their runner on the race course.
5.) Cutoffs will be strictly enforced. Runner must LEAVE the AS by posted cutoff time.
6.) No muling from pacers and only one pacer at a time.
7.) Be respectful and courteous to all other trail and park users.


Through 12/31 – $90 (50mi) – $70 (50k) – $50 (half)
January 1st and on – $110 (50mi) – $85 (50k) – $60 (half)

No paper registration form. Online registration only.


Spring weather is a tumultuous at best in the Midwest, even more so in recent years. With this in mind, please understand that the race reserves the right to modify the course for matters related to runner safety or trail condition concerns or to cancel the race in the case of natural disaster, pandemics, park closures, city/county/state restrictions, etc. In situations like these, there will be no refund of registration fees. These types of decisions will be weighed heavily and ALL effort will be made to hold the event as planned.

If you are unable to participate after having registered, please let us know ASAP via e-mail ( or green 'Ask a Question?' box at the top right) or via Facebook to request a deferral credit that is good for ONE year and to open up spots for those on the wait list. Deferral requests MUST receive a written response from the race confirming that the request was received.
The deadline (end of day) to request a deferral is:
100% deferral – February 20
50% deferral - March 20

All deferrals will be notified of early registration opening up (early November) via the email address used to register this year. Deferrals will have the week of early registration to redeem their rollover credit which will expire when general registration opens on Friday of that week.

In addition, please remember that this is a very small, grassroots event. The majority of race costs are paid well ahead of race weekend. Please only sign up if you fully understand that we do not offer any refunds or bib transfers and deferrals are only available per the policy outlined above. We hope you understand and will register early to help us provide the best possible race experience at Loud Thunder!


Once we hit capacity, a waitlist is maintained and runners will be added to the event as spots become available in the order they joined the wait list. If you do not get signed up on time, please do not despair! Instead, register like normal via ultrasignup to be added to the waitlist. When a spot opens up, waitlisters will be notified via email of their selection and will have three (3) days to either accept or decline the invitation. Three weeks out from race day, that window of time shortens to 24 hours. When that time is up, the invitation will be passed to the next person on the wait list. Please note that you are charged and your registration finalized ONLY if you accept the waitlist invitation.

Runners are allowed to switch distance after registration by contacting the race directly. If switching to a longer distance, you will be required to pay the difference in registration cost. Switching down does not cost anything additional but does not issue any refund. The deadline to switch is Friday night before the race. There will be NO distance switching allowed race morning.

No pre-race packet pickup. Saturday morning, check in & packet pickup will start at 5am and go until 7:45am. We do not ship any packets not picked up by race day.


50 mile runners who finish within the official 14 hour cutoff will receive a hoodie and a special LT lightning bolt patch! Hoodies are only given out for the first 50 mile finish with another patch given out for each subsequent finish. Each patch represents 50 miles of blood, sweat and yeehaws! We're not retroactively giving out hoodies for 2021 or 2022 finishes so that just means if you ran and want one of these beauts, it's time to put the spurs back on and giddy up!

Event's current local time: 1:25 AM CT


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