Saturday, Nov 12, 2016 @ 7:30 AM

Tunnel Hill 100

302 E. Vine

Vienna IL 100 Miler, 50 Miler

This Event Took Place Sat. Nov 12, 2016

Welcome to the 4th annual Tunnel Hill 100/50

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 trails. It took several years, but in 2014 we hosted our first
What a great course it is, too! Fast! I'm thinking there is an excellent argument that this could be the fastest hundred miler in the United States.
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 trip hazards to contend with at night... this is a crushed limestone, smooth trail. And, we are having it in mid November to take out the hot, humid days.

This just seems 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.

Seems like only a matter of time until someone crushes the Fastest Known Time for 100 miles on a trail. Mike Bialick of Minnetonka MN cruised to a 12:52:53 in 2015.
Coree Woltering ran a 5:30:15 for 50 miles!!

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 the 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

Tunnel Hill runners listed in Top 100 in Ultrarunning Magazine

It is cool to see several TH runners listed in Ultra Running magazine for some of the fastest times run for 100 miles and 50 miles for 2015.
Fastest 100 milers include:
1 - Mike Bialick - 12:52:53 - FASTEST by almost 40 minutes; 11th - Harvey Lewis - 14:53:24; 84th - Steve Barber - 17:19; 90th - Troy Shellhamer - 17:26.
Women: 11th - Kristen Roe - 17:34; 16th - Tammy Walther - 18:06; 68th - Cynthia Heady - 21:00; 80th - Tammy Hellings - 21:25 .

50 milers: 28th - Coree Woltering - 6:18; 36th - John Cash - 6:22
Women: 6th - Neela D'Souza - 6:36; 7th - Traci Falbo - 6:45.

New for 2017

07:00 Central Time start. This is 30 minutes earlier than before.

Establish a new 100 mile course record, MALE or FEMALE, and earn $1500. (Mike Bialick and Traci Falbo own them at 12:52:53 &14:45:26)
Establish a new 50 mile course record and earn $750. (Coree Woltering - 5:30:15)
New American Record (or Fastest Know Time if calling it an AR bothers you) for Male or Female at 100 miles is worth $2500 ($1500 for cr & $1000 for ar).

2015 - Mike Bialick runs 12:52:53

Wow! 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 time recorded on trail for 2015. His 12:52:53 is listed as the fastest by a whopping 40 minutes over the second fastest time.

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.
Mike Bialick's 12:52:53 in 2015 was the fastest 100 miles on trail by 40 minutes. Large % of first time finishers in the 100 or the 50 miles. Many personal records.
Why not you?

2014 - Traci Falbo sets new American Record for trail 100

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.. low 20s at the start, overcast 30s 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.
You can see her interview with irunfar by clicking on the link below: OR clicking doesn't work, copy and paste

Western States 100 Qualifier

Great news!! The 2017 Tunnel Hill 100 is a 2019 Western States 100 qualifying race. This means that if you finish in the allotted 30 hours, you qualify to place your name into the lottery for the 2019 WSER. You will still need to follow the protocol listed on their website.

Tunnel Hill 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 543 feet of thrills and chllls.

For much more information on Tunnel Hill State Trail, please visit the Illinois Dept of Resources page.

Race Info -- Packet Picket Up - Course

Packet pick up: Friday November 10. 4pm - 8pm at
Vienna High School. 601 N. 1st Street, (US 45N) Vienna, IL 62995
(Exit 16, I-24, go West on Rte 146 1.1 miles and right on US 45 N (N. 1st Street, about ½ mile on left)

Pre-race dinner: a great pasta dinner will be hosted at Vienna High School from 6pm - 7:30pm. This meal is cooked and served by the Vienna Masonic Lodge #150, courtesy of Johnson County Chamber of Commerce. No Charge to runners! Crew and other family members may purchase dinner for $12. Pay at the door.

Packet pick up: Saturday November 11 5am - 6:00am -- Race site start/finish at the park in Vienna, IL

RACE STARTS AT 07:00 Central time at Vienna Park

Start: 07:00 central time November 11 At the Trail Station 305 E Vine St, Vienna, IL.

Course - 100 miles - Course begins at the park in Vienna, and heads south to the Wetlands Center at 13.25 and turn back north to run 25 miles to the north 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 - Both courses have the same 30 hours to finish.

100 milers must begin the second 50 in less than 15 hours.

Pacers - will be allowed the final 24 miles of the 100 mile run. This will start you at the main start/finish and you will run together on the northern section (which includes the tunnel)
Special note on Pacers: We don't believe you will need a pacer on this course. Your crew can see you every 5 miles or so. Plus there are hundreds of others running along the same trail, coming and going. If you think you need someone, pacers are allowed after dark.
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.

Temperature Hi/Lo - The average temperatures for Vienna, IL for November 11 is 60/40.

Volunteers: If you would like to volunteer for this race, we'd love to have you for whatever length of time you're available.

Questions? Please don't hesitate to ask me.


100 mile: All entrants will receive a long sleeve tech shirt, a nice bag, and a running cap.
Finishers will receive a very nice custom belt buckle and a nice light weight jacket

50 mile: All entrants will receive a long sleeve tech shirt, and a running cap. Finishers will receive a nice custom belt buckle.

More bling could be given based on number of entrants.

Lodging - Camping - Airports

Lodging: There is only one hotel in Vienna and it sells out quickly. Because of its proximity to the course, and the fact that it's a clean, comfortable room for not much money, it's worth a call to see if you can still get in. Hotel 7 Limited Inn -- 618-658-6300. (Special note: if they are full, and they recommend their sister hotel in Anna, IL, I advise against staying there. You'd have to drive a two lane road in the dark that is rampant with deer.)

Additional 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

Camping: Camping is allowed at the Vienna Park. First Come/First Served as they do not take reservations. Last year we had 375 runners and did not run out of space. Very convenient since the start/finish is here. Lots of places to eat, get groceries, etc within a half mile. Looks like about 16 electric outlets scattered around. Water available through faucets. No sewer hookups. There are about 50 spaces for campers. If you are going to tent camp then there is ample room around the park.

Airports: St. Louis, MO, Lambert International is 150 miles from Vienna. Paducah Kentucky, Barkley airport is 35 miles.

30 hr limit; cutoff times; drop downs

Both the 100 mile and the 50 mile have 30 hour cutoffs. You are expected to remain on a pace equal to or faster that will allow you to finish in 30 hours. 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 better pace, Volunteers will pick you up off the course, 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.

Aid Stations/Drop Bags

Aid Stations will be at mm 5.3, 10.7, 15.7, 21.4, 26.5, 31.5, 35.3, 39.5, 44.9, and 50. Same stations on the 100, (just add 50 miles)

They will be stocked with the usual aid station fare... water, SWORD hydration drink, soda, bananas, oranges, chips, candy, energy snacks, Hammer 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.
PLEASE: CREW MEMBERS SHOULD NOT EAT AID STATION FOOD. IT IS FOR THE RUNNERS. Please support local businesses by purchasing food from them
Porta Johns are available at every aid station. Toilets and running water are available at 10.7, 15.7, 25, 35.3, 39.5, and 50.
Drop bags can be left for the locations where the toilets and running water are available. NOTE: 10.7 & 15.7 are the same location; 35.3 & 39.5 are the same. 25/50 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.


Volunteers are the life line of the Tunnel Hill runs. We have been blessed with an outstanding group, including some from the River to River Runners Club, The West Kentucky Runners Club, the Boy Scouts troup, the Masons, and the Eastern Star.
If you would like to volunteer to help we can use you! Just let me know!
Volunteers receive a long sleeve Tunnel Hill shirt, and the recognition and appreciation of 500 runners!


Thanks to current sponsors:
So iLL Racing
West Kentucky Runners Club
River to River Runners Club
S.W.O.R.D. hydration drink
Paducah Bank
Johnson County IL
City of Vienna
Durbin Race Management
For sponsorships opportunities please contact Steve Durbin at

Local time: 7:02 AM


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