REGISTRATION IS CLOSED
due to Covid for April 2021
Anyone who paid for 2020 will be auto-entered for a later date, and anyone who paid for 2021 has an option to defer or receive a refund. We do not yet know if we will reschedule a date in 2021, or defer all the way until 2022. There are currently too many uncertainties with Covid and the land-owners to say for certain.
The Vertical Playground
A new type of foot race. There is no course and no markings- you have a set of detailed trail maps, and a choose-your-own-adventure set of goals. You can find 10+ beautiful remote checkpoints; or bring back the most vertical gain; or simply enjoy a supported trail exploration day. Make what you want of it! A handful of aid stations and food boxes enable you to span multiple parks and 120+ trails in the rugged Catoctin mountains! Choose from 14 hrs or 6 hrs in length, with no requirement to stay out for all of those hours.
A focus of this event is exploring the pure beauty of this area. From rock-scrambling waterfalls to moss-covered cliffs and breath-taking views of the Frederick farm valley, we advise visiting the various bear-box checkpoints along your way, assuring that you are not robbed of the best spots in the park! Hand-made awards will be given to those that find the most bear-box checkpoints or log the most vertical gain. There will be some rules in place to discourage repetitive hill repeats, road usage, etc.
Those new to the area or trail navigation have trails close to home base that you can stick to and not get lost. Those who crave more have a complex web out further. Maps will be provided. Safety plans are in place. It's an expanse, and you'll feel "out there," but it's still relatively safe.
Read more below for general event info.
Read our Logistics Details for day-of and prep details.
Sat April 10th, 2021 - 2nd weekend of April
* 14 hr & 6 hr events
* Everyone starts at 6am
* 6-hr ends at 12 noon
* 14-hr ends at 8pm
* You can stop and restart anytime you like
* You can stop early if you like
How will we track?
We have matchbox-sized GPS units that track you every 1 minute. We will attempt using them again this year and we cannot guarantee we get them working. They will be free of charge - this reduces your price by $30!
We HIGHLY ADVISE everyone to bring a cellular phone (put it in a zip lock baggie or two) for emergencies and/or tracking. Many people use the 'Strava' GPS exercise app to track their path. Also of HUGE use is the Mobile map app, where we have uploaded our super-detailed map. This smartphone app will show your precise location on our custom trail map, even if in airplane mode.
Ultrarunners love food. The "home base" will be a party with food/beer etc for those who want to stay close. Multiple aid stations will have normal aid fare plus select meal-food. Those who want a more rugged experience get stashed aid in the woods and the party afterwards.
The following are examples of likely foods - we may switch-up an item or not have everything listed below. No matter what, there will be plenty of good eats.
Hamburgers, Hotdogs, / Brats, Vegan offering, Fruit, Chicken, Salt Potatoes, Chips, Cake, Aid Station fare
We will aim for 14 different kinds of beer - one for each hour!
Quesadilla, Soup, Burgers/Dogs, Watermelon, PB&J, candy, chips, tailwind
Stashed aid / Food boxes:
Water, Dry goods like trail mix, Chips, Candy
We will camp out before and after from Friday evening to Sunday mid-day at Manor Camping area near Thurmont, MD. Many a bonfire, beer, marshmallows, and fibs to be had! Make reservations at time of race signup or go signup separately here. Get in before the 30 spots sell out. For $20 you get a shared spot and you can bring 3 people onto that spot with 1 tent and 1 car for 1 night. Group up with your vert-loving buddies by tent-pooling (and save $$). It is ~1/3 mile walk to start line. Shared showers, water, sinks, toilets available in central washroom. Race staff will be there partying it up after the race on Sat. We ask on Fri that you keep it to a minimum for the runners who believe they will get any sleep.
You will share the site with one other party - they may also have up to 3 people. We hope to encourage meeting new friends :-) If you want up to 6 of your own friends or your own private site, you must enter Qty 2 when registering on the link above.
Where else to stay
There are a host of hotels and motels 20 mins away in the sizable city of Frederick, MD. You might also find something in the small town of Thurmont 10 mins away. Try airbnb for a cheap stay in a local home. There is a secondary campground with cabins at Cunningham Falls State Parks Houck Area.
$50/$40 ticket price - It will increase twice after Feb and Late March.
$FREE GPS rentals (saves you $30!)
$20 camping /night (pays for up to 3 people)
If you want to switch from 14 to 6 hr or vice versa, ultrasignup has a self-service option (log in to ultrasignup, click 'Account Info' in the upper right, then 'Registration History'). If you want to do it day of the event, let the tracker official (timing person) know at 12 noon - please be on-time.
Local time: 9:22 PM
See our Logistics Details for day-of and prep details.
Send us a question if needed - there is a green button at top right of the desktop website.