This Event Took Place Sat. Jul 20, 2019

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Registration includes Park and Ultrasignup Fees
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75% of Entry Refund by June 1st. See Refund section below
The Start/Finish does not have an "official" address. If you don't select from the Ultrasignup directions link (upper left of webpage) then use the address located across Route 15 from the park entrance. 12917 Catoctin Furnace Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788


2020 Covid Cat Plan (Part 1)

Based on the strong Covid Cat Safety Plan the State of Maryland Park Service has said we are the FIRST event approved since the lock down. The Frederick County Health Department has also approved the plan.

Being the first event, the Park Service and County are watching us. Let’s do a great job so others can hold their events. As the Race Director, I respectfully ask that runners and volunteers read and adhere to the following.

Race Structure for Crowd Control:

  • Think of Catoctin as a cross between an official race, a fat ass and a virtual run.
  • There is NO official start line or finish line location.
  • There is NO official start time but still limited to 9 hours 15 minutes.
  • Runners will self-time and post their results online. Details to follow.
  • There will be no packet pickup or prerace briefing. Bib numbers or a link will be displayed here on July 7th. Runners will mark themselves so an aid station volunteer can easily see it. (wrist, arm, forehead, shirt etc. :-)
  • Runners may start at any time from any spot along the course. Full Cats must start and finish at the same location. All runners must “check-in” at the Manor Aid Station with the Race Director (Kevin) to verify their participation between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • The Manor Aid Station has moved to the large Pavilion at the top of parking lot. There will be signs in case you’re not sure where it is.
  • Runners may isolate from Aid Stations and have their own crew and may be crewed anywhere along the course. We respectfully ask that your crew understand that parking is extremely limited along the course and to display common sense and good manners at all times.
  • You may drop off “supplies” along the course away from the Aid Stations prior to starting. You must pick up those supplies when you’re done.
  • Half Cat runners your course options are: (1) Start at the Tea Room (High Knob Area) and run to Manor. (2) Reverse of #1. You are responsible for your transportation. (3) Start at Manor and run to Hamburg and back to Manor. (3) Start at the Tea Room and run to Delauter and back to the Tea Room.
  • Please keep in mind that parking at Hamburg is very limited and Delauter parking is almost nonexistent. Getting dropped off or car pooling at those two locations is advisable. NO NOT park in the spaces near the trail heads or where we set up the aid stations.
  • Runners are to plan their run around the Aid Station Hours of operation: (Manor 6:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) (Delauter Rd. 7:30 a.m. – 3:30) (Hamburg Rd. 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) (High Knob 9:00 – 2:30).
  • Stay to the right while on the trail. When its appropriate to pass then announce that you are passing on the left. Passing runner please point your breathing to the left. Runner being passed, please point your breathing to the right.
  • Cat Card distribution upon finishing is still TBD.

2020 Covid Cat Plan (Part 2)

Aid Station Crowd Control:

  • With no official start time or start line the runners will not progress through the course in the typical linear fashion thus eliminating “packs” of runners.
  • If needed, volunteers will direct runners where to stand and wait to be served according to social distancing guidelines.

Aid Station Hygiene:
  • Runners MUST wear a face mask while at, or passing through, an aid station. Failure to do so will cause your participation to be omitted from the Results.
  • The definition of a face mask is common sense. It’s a product called a “Face Mask” that is commonly used these days. You may use a Buff. Your face mask must cover your mouth and nose. Pulling your shirt over your mouth and nose is NOT a face mask.
  • Volunteers must wear a face mask when runners are at the aid station or if you are within 6’ of another volunteer.
  • Volunteers will use food service gloves.
  • The general aid station tables are for viewing from a distance. Food will be kept in containers and will be dispensed upon request. All items will be placed on a separate food “pick up” table via paper towel or plate. Once an item is placed on the table and the volunteer steps away the runner may approach. Runner will dispose of their trash in the provided Hefty construction trash bags.
  • Volunteers will not touch any runner gear. It’s up to the runner to hold and handle their hydration equipment.
  • Runners will place their water bottles on the hydration “pick up” table and step away. A volunteer will pour hydration from a pitcher then step away at which point the runner may gather their bottles. Runners must take out and hold their own water bladder.
  • Runners may not touch anything that is not theirs or intended for them.
  • Volunteers will be responsible to consistently clean the “pick up” tables with CDC recommended and EPA-registered household disinfectants Clorox and Fantastic All- Purpose Cleaner.

Runner Responsibility:
  • To read and follow the Covid Safety Plan as shown above.
  • Follow volunteer instructions.
  • Must have a face mask and your own hand sanitizer.
  • Face masks must be worn at Aid Stations or be omitted from the results.
  • Hand sanitizer must be displayed to the Race Director at Manor. This is a replacement for the long-standing tradition of showing us your hydration system at bib pickup.
  • Must follow social/physical distancing.

Volunteer Responsibility:
  • To read and follow the Covid Safety Plan as shown above.
  • Wear a face mask around runners or within 6’ of other volunteers.
  • Not to touch or handle any runners gear.
  • To ensure a safe and sanitary race.
  • Direct or remind runners of expectations.

2020 Comments from Kevin

Trail running is a community of really cool people who help each other. It’s more about the adventure rather than the destination. It’s about overcoming the challenge of the course or conditions and having fun. I believe that those that run Catoctin are consistently the coolest of the cool. Those who run the Cat do it for the love of running. Those who volunteer do it for the love of supporting runners. It’s my hope we carry on that tradition and come together, at the proper distance, to have a fun and safe time again this year.

2020 Waitlist & Entry

Those on the waitlist will receive an email from me via UltraSignup inviting you to pay and join the entrant list. Those on the waitlist will have till 9:00 p.m. Sunday June 28th night to pay. Those that have not paid will be deleted from the waitlist. On Monday June 29th at 9:00 a.m. entry will re-open until we reach the "manageable" and "safe" number of runners.

2020 What's Not Happening

  • No tee shirts
  • No post race BBQ
  • No course records will be recognized
  • No runners accountability. Runners will be verified at Aid Station but will not track.
  • No trail sweeps


Entry opened in November and it has been stated (on the third line of this website) since that time... that REFUNDS would be issued PRIOR to JUNE 1st. That policy has not changed even in the midst of the Covid lockdown. Entrants were able to request a refund at any time prior to that date. It's now June 29th and I'm receiving emails asking for refunds because you feel uncomfortable. It's totally understandable and I respect everyone's desire to remain comfortable. If you're uncomfortable then I sincerely don't understand why you didn't request a refund when things were at the worst. The loosening of restrictions has made it possible to conduct the race. Our safety precautions have been approved by the State and the County and the race is going to happen. The reality is... it was your responsibility to request a refund prior June 1st. So once again... why didn't you request a refund prior to June 1st? The refund period has passed and no refunds will be given and no deferrals will be made. We will remain fair to all runners especially to those that have followed the guidelines.

The Course:

It's an out-and-back on rocky, slow, difficult and demanding (but yet run-able) trail. Starting at the Manor Parking Area in Cunningham Falls State Park runners proceed up Bob's Hill then take a left and follow the Catoctin Blue Trail south bound across the stream, then across Catoctin Hollow Rd then up the hill towards the over look. At the overlook you continue on the Catoctin Blue Trail through the Frederick Water Shed to the Delauter Aid Station then the Hamburg Aid Station. You will continue south on the Catoctin trail though Gambrill State Park till arriving at the Trail Head for the Catoctin Blue trail. There, runners cross Gambrill Park Rd and proceed up the hill to the High Knob area. Once at the top runner bear slightly right to the covered pavilion. Runners will NOT run by the Tea Room. Turn around and repeat back to the start/finish. Mantra: No matter the direction it's always up hill :-)

There are a couple of favorable points to this challenging yet entertaining run: (1) Shade. The course is almost entirely covered with luscious tree foliage. (2) Streams. there are several stream crossings where you can twinkle your toes in cool "beer commercial" type of mountain water and cool down. If we don't have a lot of rain and it's a hot summer the streams will wither up and dry and will tease you with the thought of what they once were. When it's hot its usually really hot. It's puke your guts our type of heat where you want to lay down but that feels worse if you do. If it rains hard during the race then the trail becomes a major water way and it's... hello, where did I put my goggles.

Since this is an out and back on an established trail and has been permanently blazed with light blue blazes on a fair number of trees. The trail will not be marked with the customary engineering ribbons or chalk. No trail maps or orienteering seminars will be conducted. Simply follow the runner in front of you. This should work as long as they don't get lost or take a wrong turn.

Once you reach the half way point its simply a matter of turning around and retracing your steps. Getting lost is always possible but let's hope for the best. Sixty percent of the runners get off course at least once. This course will penalize any runner who runs "heads down". The Catoctin 50k trail run requires that you slow down/stop and look around at each intersection. If you think you know the way without looking around then we wish you good luck and hope your detour is minimal. If you have a habit of not following directions then please don't run. There's no search and rescue which means race management and volunteers have to cover the course and surrounding areas. This is a very unpleasant situation and makes us very "unhappy".

Course questions will be answered at the pre-race briefing. Unreasonable complaints, criticisms, and selfish attitudes will be ignored and race management and/or the appropriate volunteer will administer humility to the participant in question.


Race day will be hot, the rubber on the bottom of your shoes gets really gooey hot, melt synthetic clothing hot, sweat buckets of H2O hot. 2019 is now referred to as the Hell Cat because it was so hot.. Runners were crying on the course and the Finish line looked like a MASH unit. Then again, it might rain. The summer of 1999 the temperature dropped 20 degrees on race day. The over abundance of rocks will be sizzling and the dirt will turn into throat choking dust. Along with the heat is the humidity. It gets, "cut it with a knife" humid. You'll feel like you're swimming in the open air. No matter how acclimated you are this run demands that you carry water. In fact it's mandatory! ALL RUNNERS MUST CARRY AT LEAST ONE 20 oz WATER BOTTLE and TWO bottles if you want to finish the race. In 2007 one bottle runners had an extremely hard and difficult race. An equipment check will be conducted prior to the start to ensure safety and fashion. The Hagerstown Almanac (which has an unnatural record for predicting race day temperatures) predicts that race day will bring us temperatures worthy of ultra lore... hot, humid, hazy, possibility of rain and frustrating. You'll curse the day they created the Catoctin Trail.

First Time Ultra Runners and Hikers :

I'm not going to discourage anyone from trying but... this is a slow and demanding course and not necessarily the best venue to run your first 50k ultra. It has been known to make grown men weep and woman to curse the day race management was born. Once the race starts, sympathy is not displayed to anyone regardless of the circumstance. This is an ultra event and will be conducted accordingly.

If you're using this race to train for anything else but an ultramarathon of 50 miles or longer then you're wasting your effort. If you're trying to get in shape for that special Triathlon, Ironman or marathon we strongly suggest that you choose the Half Cat or a road course for training.

For you hikers if you think you can walk it and finish the 50k in the time allowed you can't. It's been tried on numerous occasions and everyone has failed. Besides, this is a run, not a hike. If you dress like some hiker in the Swiss alps for the 50k then be prepared for ample heckling and humiliation from the trail runner police. Once again... the Half Cat is perfect for you. Trekking poles... please leave them at home. This is an out an back on sometimes narrow trail and we are opposed to you impaling or tripping your fellow runner. If you need poles that are other races I direct where they are allowed and even encouraged.

Aid: (Hours not valid for 2020)

There are three aid stations along the course making a total of 6 aid opportunities during the race, not including the start/finish area. The stations are fully stocked and supplies will consist of water, soda, sport drink, cookies, pretzels, Pringles, candy, bananas, Succeed! Caps (1 Gram Buffer/Electrolyte Nutritional Supplement) and many other assorted goodies. Pharmaceutical needs are the responsibility of the runner.

Aid Station Mile Time
Manor - START 0 miles Start: 7:30 am
Delauter Rd. 6 miles outbound Cutoff: TBD am
Hamburg Rd. 3 miles outbound Cutoff: TBD am
High Knob - TURN AROUND 16 miles Cutoff: 11:45 am
Hamburg Rd. 22 miles inbound Cutoff: TBD pm
Delauter Rd. 25 miles inbound Cutoff: TBD pm
Manor - FINISH 32 miles Cutoff: 4:45 pm

What You Don't Get

Since this race is geared towards ultrarunners / trail runners, we would rather concentrate on what you don't get rather than what you do get. After all, this isn't a plush west coast race with goodie bags, massage practitioners at every aid station, and impeccably groomed trails that you could run on with wing-tip shoes. So keep the following in mind when considering if you want or would be able to run this race:

  • No engineer ribbons to mark the course (we don't want to have to set it up and take it down)
  • No personal assistants at aid stations (leave that for the high $$ races)
  • No sympathy
  • No rides back to the start/finish line (we don't want to embarrass anyone)
  • No credit for going off course and adding mileage.
  • No trail sweeps to pickup after you or get you moving if you take an extended break.
  • No credit for completing the race if you approach the finish line from any direction other than the official course . Can't finish the race if you can't follow the course.

Crew: (Not valid for 2020)

Crews are only allowed at the Start/Finish (Manor), Hamburg Rd. Aid Station and the High Knob Aid Station (turn around). Crews are NOT ALLOWED at Delauter Rd. Aid Station. If a runners is "crew'ed from any other location then they will be DISQUALIFIED. There's no pacing, companion runners, mountain bikers or friends keeping you company on the trail. You must be able to complete this 50k on your own motivation.

Pre-Race Briefing and Check-in: (Not Valid for 2020)

The briefing will be held race morning at 7:10 AM sharp at the start line at Manor. Check-in and number pickup is from 6:15 to 7:10 am.


The awesome part about changing the start line to Manor is that there's PLENTY of parking! It would still be cool if you'd carpool but if you don't there will be no carpool "assessment" fee. Once the lot fills then we'll close it down and you'll need to park around the play park.


There are bathrooms at Manor and the turn around point (High Knob). Please remember that the race is on public land, so leave no litter of any kind, biodegradable or otherwise. Other organizations have been permanently banned for environmental abuse. We don't want that to happen to us.


You get a one of or a combination of... a wink, smile, handshake, fist bump. Hugs are only given to those about to collapse. We do this so you don't fall and embarrass yourself when the wheels fall off (so to speak). During this welcome back process you be given a prestigious Cat Card. This professionally hand crafted wallet size card entitles the barer to bragging rights and a rightful place in ultra running history.

Post Race Eats:

Around 1:00 we do BBQ and other assorted stuff depending what's on sale at Costco and Sam's Club and what our Rogue Chef Bob Fabia decides to do. There will also be Exploded Potato's from A.K.A. Frisco's in Frederick, chips, water melon, ice cold water, soda, lemonade and "other". There's ample room in the Pavilion as well as trees for a shady comfortable post race collapsing experience. A setting in which to ponder why you ran a race on what could be the hottest day of the year. The Park service allows beer in and around the Pavilion. So its BYOB if that's part of your post race recovery plan.


Rick and Nancy Hamilton conceived and held the first run on Saturday March 5, 1994. The first run was considered a "fun" run with no "official" race results retained or distributed. In 1995 and 1996 it was run as an "official" race. During those two years there was also a 30k race for those unable or unwilling to run the full 50k distance but was stopped in 1999. For those three years the course was a point-to-point, which started at Chestnut Picnic Area in Catoctin Mountain Park and ended at High Knob in Gambrill State Park. Due to logistics and remodeling of the Tea Room and time commitment for the Hamilton's the race was cancelled in 1997 and 1998. After intense negotiations between Ric Hamilton and Kevin Sayers (current race director) the race was revived on Saturday March 13, 1999. That same year a second race was held in August when the race date was permanently moved from the frigid month of March to the hot, humid and intolerable month of August. In 2010 the race was moved to 3rd weekend in July. In 2012 the race was moved to the second weekend of July so the RD could make the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in time. The Half Cat (25k) was established in 2016 for those utrarunners over the age of 52 who are on the down side of their careers and struggle with cutoffs. The course was reversed in 2020 with the Start/Finish line now in the Manor Parking Area. Also in 2020 Half Cat entry was opened to all ages and all abilites.

About the Race Director

Hi, My name is Kevin Sayers and I'm the Race Director. The year was 1994, and I ran across an article about ultrarunning in a magazine and said "I just gotta do that".  One hundred miles in 24 hours?  What's not to like? Since that time I enjoyed a 39,000 mile running adventure throughout North America. Now, I’m a race director and have made it my mission “to conduct and promote fun and rewarding running events for entrants, crews and volunteers alike”.

As the Race Director I consider my myself a cheerleader who encourages and inspires all to reach their goal. My commitment is to be available at all times during a race and greet every runner at the finish with a smile, hand shake, high five, fist bump or a combination there of.

  • My running history on UltraSignup (1996 - current)
  • website since 1996
  • Completed the Grand Slam of Ultra Running in 1998
  • Completed the JFK 50 Mile Run as a 100 miler (1998, 1999)
  • Aid Station Captain - Bull Run Run 50 Mile - Centerville A.S. since 1999
  • Received Vermont 100 "1,000 Mile" belt buckle in 2007
  • Race Director - Catoctin 50k Trail Run & Half Cat since 1999
  • Race Director - Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run since 2011
  • Race Director - Greenbrier Ultra's since 2018
  • Race Director - Bobcat Trail Run (11 Miles) since 2018
  • Race Director - Cow Bone 6-12-24 Hour since 2019
  • Race Director - Antietam Creek 3 Hour Run since 2020

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