“*Be prepared for this section!! It is long and tough.”
“*Be aware: This is the second toughest section of the race.”
“*** This section will seem like it goes on forever.”
These are footnotes within the course description written by David Horton. When Horton says something is tough and long, you best be listening and heed the advice.
This is the 9th running of the Hellgate 100k. The race starts Friday night, er, Saturday morning at 12:01AM, so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the frozen ground, chilly water crossings, and 20 degree temps all while navigating through the pitch blackness, save for the ghostly hue from the full moon (given there are clear skies, that is). Good for you if you’re fortunate enough to get some sleep Friday evening before the race. For most, it will be a long time between rest from Friday morning until they finish sometime Saturday afternoon and into another evening for many.
The course is a monster point to point starting near Big Hellgate Creek in Rockbridge County, VA and traverses through the Jefferson National Forest, drunkenly following the Blueridge Parkway for 66 miles to the finish at Camp Bethel in (heh, heh) Wise, VA. 13,500 feet of gain and roughly the same amount of descent ensures you’ll have fond physical memories for days after the race.
For the men this year, watch for Frank Gonzales, Aaron Schwartzbard, and Jeremy Ramsey. For the ladies, Amy Sproston makes the trip back East and should run uncontested.