New Course, new challenge!
For our third year, we are proud to offer two distance options: 50K and our new 25K! Both races take place on the same course; the updated 3.92 mile loop spanning the entire natural area. 50K runners will complete 8 loops and 25K runners will complete 4!
The loop is a mixture of terrain but is primarily double-track sugar sand on rolling dunes. There are a few sections of hard packed sand, a short sidewalk section, a boardwalk, and a firm trail around mangroves to help you catch your breath.
50K - 9 hours
25K - 5 hours
Both races will have a soft cutoff one hour prior to the final cutoff; you must be on your final loop one hour prior to final cutoff or you will not be permitted to continue. Race management reserves the right to remove anyone from the race exhibiting signs of excessive distress.
Final cutoffs are strictly enforced. While we encourage and appreciate all of our finishers, coming in over the time limit will result in a DNF. It will break our hearts to do this, but this is not your average “everyone is a winner” race. You’ll have to earn the coveted Sand Spur finishers medal!
You may have one drop bag and/or one small cooler at the start/finish line, which you’ll access every 3.92 miles. You may also have a beach chair, if you wish. The two aid stations on the course will be approximately 2 miles apart and have the usual aid station goodies; sweet, salty, chilled fruit, a liquid fuel, and water/ice, along with some surprise goodies! (Did someone say Jen’s famous buckeye balls? :))
50K starts promptly at 7 a.m., and 25K starts at 10 a.m.!
South Florida Elevation?
Florida is notoriously flat, and south Florida is about as flat as it gets. Runners have to resort to bridge repeats, landfills, and stairs to get any decent elevation training.
Jupiter Ridge Natural Area is home to some of the tallest natural sand dunes in Palm Beach County, and one “peak” in particular is the highest natural point in the county! Affectionately called Mount Ridge, a massive dune stands a jaw-dropping 54 feet above sea level! You’ll summit Mt. Ridge twice per loop from four different directions, and that combined with the other smaller dunes and rollers, you’ll get about 2,000 feet of gain for the 50K, and 1,000 for the 25K! We are proud to be the only ultramarathon in south Florida to boast such “lofty” numbers!
Drop downs: drop downs will not be allowed on race day, or during the race. If you wish to drop down, or drop up, you’ll need to join that distance’s waitlist, so essentially you either finish or DNF the distance you decide on, as distance changes are incredibly unlikely as the race draws near.
Refunds: your registration fee goes toward putting on a remarkable race with tons of cool stuff. We begin this process early on. We also strive to make a considerable donation to Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management’s Natural Areas program which helps maintain these amazing places. Your registration fee is non-refundable. There is no wiggle room on this. By registering for this race, you agree to these terms. Should you cancel, your registration fee will become a donation to PBCERM. So please do not ask. 100% of surplus and proceeds will go to PBCERM’s Natural Areas program.
Drop bags and aid stations: the start/finish area will have a drop bag zone. You’ll be permitted one small duffle or tote, or a small cooler, if you wish. It must be clearly labeled with your name and bib number. You’ll have access to your stuff each time you finish a loop. We’ll also have two aid stations on the course: one at the start/finish, and one around the 2 mile mark of the loop. It’s entirely possible to complete this ultra with simply a handheld bottle. You’ll never be more than 2 miles from aid.
This race will be professionally and accurately chip timed by the awesome team at A1/Trailhead Ultras!
This is one of the swaggiest trail ultra around! Every finisher gets a badass finishers medal, and top overall winners receive a handmade award! Even DFL’s in both distances get an award! Last year, we had a local artisan glass blower make hand blown hour glasses with the actual sand from Mt. Ridge, and a block of sand pine from a felled sand pine tree from the Ridge!
What so special about this race?
Now in our third year, we’ve enjoyed sold out races from the beginning thanks in part to our small entrants cap and high demand for Winter ultras in Florida, particularly during the holiday week after Christmas and before the New Year. We have been able to welcome folks from all over the US, Canada, and overseas to introduce them to one of Florida’s hidden treasures; the Florida Coastal Scrub.
Why is the entrants cap small? Why just 60 participants this year? From its inception, we’ve worked diligently with Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management to bring competitive trail running to the Natural Area setting. Our inaugural year was a “test” year of 20 lucky participants for our 50K. The process was closely monitored by the county before, during, and after the race to determine the effects of trail running impacts on environmentally sensitive grounds. We are proud to say we’ve been able to boost our numbers through the care of our runners who share our vision of appreciation and promotion of these amazing lands.
Jupiter Ridge Natural Area is a coastal scrub environment, one of the rarest and slowest to rebound if damaged. It is home to 31 plant species and 14 animal species considered to be threatened, rare, or of special concern. Though it looks like a bit like a piece of Death Valley dropped into Palm Beach, it is in fact teaming with life. This 270 acre site, wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, is also home to some of the oldest living sand dunes in Florida. These dunes, also the highest natural points in Palm Beach County, have remained largely unchanged for over 2 million years.
What makes this race so special is the both the rarity and beauty of it. Then add the challenge of the sand and the dunes, and it’s absolutely magical. Despite its challenge, it makes a great first ultra with a relatively small loop of just shy of 4 miles. And the added change of alternating directions will enhance the social interactions with your fellow runners.
Make no mistake; this is not an easy race. It’s a race to train specifically for and to respect the course. The sand can be deep and brutal at times, but the course has been designed carefully and thoughtfully to offer sections of respite. Just when you think you can’t possibly run in sand for one second longer, you’ll be treated to a firm area for a bit of rest.
We’d love to welcome you to sunny Jupiter Florida for our third installment of our flagship race! It fills up quickly, so don’t dilly-dally if you think you want to run it!
Earth Day Discount!
Today only! Use discount code “earthday20” at checkout! Good for 20% either distance! Expires tomorrow (Tuesday)! Get it while it’s hot!
Run the ancient dunes!
The story of this ultramarathon began during the last ice ages. On the Florida peninsula, sandy hilltop island and coastal dune ridges were the only lands peeking above sea level over 2 million years ago. Then the seas fell, leaving the flat, broad finger of land we now know as Florida. These ancient sand dunes are known as one of the rarest living communities: Florida Scrub.
Local time: 4:27 PM
Jupiter Ridge Natural Area is one of the last stands of Florida Scrub habitat in Palm Beach County. Only 2% of original Scrub in the county and less than one-third of the original Scrub in the state remain today. A gently rolling landscape of prickly, dense thickets spotted with bare patches of sparkling white sand, these 271 acres are protected by Palm Beach County as part of a countywide system of natural areas. Over 200 species of plants and animals call this home.
Lightheartedly called “ the Death Valley of Palm Beach County”, in fact, this natural area is full of life with an amazing variety of plant and animal species - some found to exist nowhere else in the state. The Scrub habitat of Jupiter Ridge Natural Area is among the harshest environments, and the slowest to regenerate if damaged. It’s also some of the oldest living stands of Florida landscape; you’ll be running on ancient sand dunes millions of years old.
It’s for this reason we have a runner cap of 60 runners this year. We are continually working with Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management to bring this race to fruition while preserving the integrity, and protection, of the natural area. Jupiter Ridge Sand Spur was the first and only outside entity to be permitted a running event in a Palm Beach County natural area with our 2017 inaugural race. We are tremendously proud of that, and will continue to work closely with them to ensure responsible execution and growth of this race.
These natural areas are managed by the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management team, and we are tremendously fortunate to be working with them to make this race a reality.