Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022

Fierce Dragon (H9)

Vogel State Park

Blairsville, GA 200 Miler, 100 Miler, 40 Miler, 40 K

Registration closes: Thu, Jan 6 @ 11:59PM

Fierce Dragon Overview

The Fierce Dragon (FD) is an H9/HAE event comprised of four races, a 200 mile race designated as the 'Full Fury' (4th annual), a 100 mile race designated as 'Firestarter' (3rd annual), a 40 mile race designated as a 'Flintstrike' (2nd annual), and a new 40 km race designated as ‘Frost Talon’. The races start on different days (Tuesday for the 200M, Friday for the 100M, and Saturday for the 40M and 40k), but all racing ends on Sunday morning.

Race Descriptions
The FD Full Fury 200 involves 10 traverses of the main ridge line of the Duncan Ridge for the equivalent of 5 laps between Vogel State Park and Skeenah Gap. The outbound traverse goes over the Wolf Creek river crossing. The inbound traverse uses FS Roads 108/107 to reach Burnett Gap (Hwy 180). The race has no entry requirements because the course is fairly well contained and if the runner can no longer continue under their own power, then he/she will be shuttled back to Vogel to turn in their bib. The course will be relatively well marked, so for the navigationally challenged most of your worries should be minimized.

The FD Firestarter 100 is a 100 mile race that takes place on the last 2 days of the 200M race. This race starts on Friday morning (6am) and ends on Sunday morning (8am) giving 50 hours to complete 100 miles. The course involves 4x full traverses of the Duncan Ridge (2 laps) and 2x half traverses of the Duncan Ridge (Vogel to Bryant Gap and back). This event does not have a daily progress minimum, instead there are cutoff times at the 1.5 lap point, at the completion of 2 laps, a 90 mile cutoff at Bryant Gap, and hard cutoff of 52 hours at the start/finish line.

The FD Flintstrike 40 is a 40 mile race that takes place on the last day of the 200M race. This race starts on Saturday morning (8am) and ends on Sunday morning (8am) giving 24 hours to complete 40 miles. This course involves 2x full traverses of the Duncan Ridge (1 lap). If the 200M and 100M races are too big for you, then this is the race to choose to get a taste of the Fierce Dragon.

The FD Frost Talon 40k is a 40 km race that takes place on the last day of the 200M race. This race starts on Saturday morning (8:30am) and ends on Saturday evening (9pm) giving 12.5 hours to complete 40 kilometers. This course involves an out-and-back to Mulky Gap starting at the Group Shelter next to the lake, and finishing at the finish-line campsite. If you have concerns about traversing the Dragon Spine in the deep of the night, then this is the race may scratch you without threatening to draw real blood.

Minimum Progress


Runners are required to do a minimum of 1 lap per 24 hours (40 miles per day). Failure to complete the minimum distance ends the runner's race at the last full lap. The 24 hour cutoff time per day is a practical limitation in a runner’s race progress; however, if a runner is a half a mile from the end of a lap to complete the minimum, then this is close enough to count. The final cutoff of 120 hours to complete the 200 miles will be strictly enforced.


There is no minimum progress for the 100 miler; however, cutoffs are applied at the final four aid stops (and for the final course completion time).


Minimum progress is set by the cutoff at Skeenah Gap


Minimum progress is set by the cutoff at Mulky Gap (3:30pm)

Entry Categories

The 200-miler entry categories have been simplfied to one option because this race is a brutal non-fancy-pants run on hard terrain, so the “luxury” options have been dropped. It is clear that contenders are a hardy capable bunch that are able to manage most of their support, therefore the race has migrated in that direction.

That said, if you are seeking more support at Vogel, then contact the RD and some terms of support can be arranged. At the moment, 200M runners are encouraged to use the cottages at Vogel as their base of operations. Campsites are available to park RVs very close to the start/finish area.



The race takes place over most of a week. Check-in for the event is Monday evening 4 to 8pm. The event will start on Tuesday at 8am. The event will finish on Sunday at 8am. Race flags will mark the start/finish area in the vicinity of Campground Area 1 on the main road. Everyone must check-in before 8pm at the Group Shelter. Period. No exceptions.


The race takes place over the end weekend of FD. Check-in for the event is Thursday evening 4 to 8pm. The event will start on Friday at 6am. The event will finish on Sunday at 8am. Race flags will mark the start/finish area in the vicinity of Campground Area 1 on the main road. Everyone must check-in before 5:45am at the start/finish area. Period. No exceptions.

56 and older? See the early start options below.


The race takes place on the last day of FD. Check-in for the event is Friday evening 4 to 8pm. The event will start on Saturday at 8am (8:30am for the 40k). The event will finish on Sunday at 8am. Race flags will mark the start/finish area in the vicinity of Campground Area 1 on the main road. Everyone must check-in before the race at 7:45am at the start/finish area. Period. No exceptions.

No early start option. Everyone will be done within 24 hours.

Support Points

The support locations are Vogel State Park, Fire Pit, Bryant Gap (Dragon Locker), Fish Gap and Skeenah Gap. Support at Vogel will be at the main tent that will have hot food and drinks. This may involve serving yourself. Support at the Fire Pit, Fish Gap and Skeenah Gap will be provided by hardy volunteers who like seeing people suffer. A Dragon Locker will be placed at Bryant Gap to hold water and small snacks. Runners really should not have need for support at this point, but knowing that this is available is emotionally helpful.

The support for the 200M race has changed because the field size is yet too small to warrant full time staff at the aid points during the early part of the race. Much of this is due to the practical implications of completing 5 laps of the course. It is difficult to continue on after completing a lap wihtout some recovery time, therefore we find that most runners end up on a type of daily schedule. This results in considerable periods of time during the initial 2 to 3 days of the 200M race where aid points are inactive. It is quite frankly difficult to ask volunteers to hang out on the small chance that a runner may appear in the wee hours of the night. So, in this regard, the support time at remote aid points of Days 1,2, and 3 of the 200M race is broken up into active and inactive support times. Days 2 (Wednesday) and 3 (Thursday) have progressively more active support time; with fulltime support kicking in on Day 4 (Friday) of the race. Support will be available during inactive support times via Dragon Lockers containing the normal snacks and fluids that would be expected, but without the assistance of an aid station worker. The active support periods are structured such that runners can advance their daily clock by 2 hours each day and still have active support at the aid stations when they pass thru.If you intend to “bust out” the 200M race, then let the RD know so that some type of roving assistance can be arranged.


Participants are allow to use crew. Crew vehicles are limited to one vehicle per runner to limit congestion on the Forest Service roads. Crew are allow to meet their runners at Vogel State Park, Bryant Gap, Mulky Gap, and Skeenah Gap. Crew vehicles traveling to Vogel or Skeenah Gap do not require placards indicating a crew vehicle. However, crews intending to travel to Bryant Gap or Mulky Gap must obtain a crew placard. Crew vehicles will be inspected to verify adequacy in terms of ground clearance and size. Large crew vehicles (RVs, dual wheeled trucks) will restricted because the road is narrow; and rough and steep in places.


200M: Paces (safety runners) are allowed on the return traverse from Skeenah Gap to Vogel. For most runners this section most likely will be traversed at night. Pacers are responsible for their own transportation to arrive at Skeenah Gap.

100M: Pacers are allowed after 1 lap. Pacers are responsible for their own transportation.

40M: Pacers are optional for the return traverse from Skeenah Gap to Vogel. The 40 mile race is a 'Fun Run' that is intended for runners who wish to have a taste of the Dragon Spine but are not yet ready for the 100M or 200M. In this regard, new runners to the DRT are often surprised by the demands of the trail and how long a single traverse will take. Any 40M runner that leaves Skeenah Gap (turnaround) after 6:00 PM must have a safety pacer, or will be cut off at Skeenah Gap.


Staking-out is taking time away from the course to rest or find food and water. Staking-out (and back in) is only allowed at Vogel State Park. Staking-out does not stop the clock, so runners must still meet the 40 miles per day minimum to complete the race. Runners are allowed to access and rest in a crew vehicle at crew aid points. If a runner meets crew, then staying with the crew is allowed provided the runner remains at the meeting location (i.e., cannot stake out).


One or more token locations may be placed where runners must obtain a punch (or token) to show they have passed thru that point. These token punch points are typically associated with Pointless Elevation Change (PEC) climbs for the simple enjoyment of the RD. The tokens will be validated at the next aid station.

Clock Stop

If the weather forecast shows an intense squall line with high winds, a Race Clock Stop may be issued 24 hours in advance. Depending on the weather forecast, this Clock Stop could be 2 to 4 hours. Weather conditions persisting longer than 4 hours will be considered a normal race condition. For a Clock Stop, runners will be gathered at aid station locations starting about 2 hours in advance of the Clock Stop; their arrival time will be recorded. After the Clock Stop, runners will be released in the order they arrived. If the Clock Stop is long, then the layover time may simply be deducted from the runner’s overall race time (all runners would be released at the end of the Clock Stop).


Other than the minimum progress requirement, the only cutoff is the final cutoff. This a strict cutoff at 8am Sunday morning + any Clock Stop time. The final cutoff is not negotiable. Based on prior year experiences, runners will have a very good understanding of their progress by the end of the 4th lap, so a failure to meet the final cutoff will not be a surprise.


Vogel Park and Blairsville have lodging. The cabins at Vogel are not inexpensive, but if shared, then the cost is not too bad.

Parking at Vogel State Park

Parking at the Georgia State Parks is $5 per day, or you can purchase an annual pass.

Early Start Options - 100M

The 100M race caters to older runners. Make no mistake, this is a very hard race course and requires significant strength training to successfully complete. In that regard allowance is given to older runners to account for a slow loss of muscle mass, but who have no real loss in endurance. The time structure for the extra time has been updated this year. No course completion has yet been accomplished under the extra time option so a modification of the time structure does not effect previous results. In any case, instead of modifying the age-weighted time in blocks of 5 years, the extra time is more simply allocated in 30 minute amounts per year after age 56.

The extra time allocation is converted to early start times in 2 hour increments. So if an older runner does not have enough 30 minute allocations to sum to 2 hours of time, then this extra time is simply added to their final cut off time and this would be tracked accordingly. AND, to make things even more confusing, if an older runner qualifies for early start times (2hrs+) then that runner may start and complete the 1st lap of the race with a safety pacer.

Note that the extra time option will not help with being under-trained or other physical contraints that result in slow forward movement. This is not stated in an exclusionary vein – but simply put, if getting up and over Coosa Bald eats your lunch, then no reasonable amount additional time will allow you to reach 100 miles.

Local time: 12:14 AM


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