PLEASE READ! A note from the trailblazers:
We have seen the Dam Half trail challenge grow from a small race for hardcore trail runners to a popular event enjoyed by entire families. While the first races had fewer than 50 finishers, we now have a few hundred runners out on the trail on race day. We’re not alone; trail running and racing has exploded in popularity in central PA, and the number, variety, and quality of races here has gotten national attention. So it’s understandable that many people looking to try something new would want to see what our race has to offer. In order to have an enjoyable yet safe day on the trails, here are some details about the Dam Half to make sure our race is for you.
The course is mostly single-track trail connected by some forest roads and will include roughly 2300 feet of elevation gain. This puts it in the middle of the range of “central PA trail race difficulty level”. Though not as brutal as some, it has challenging climbs, descents, and rocky technical sections - everything that makes a PA trail race a PA trail race! It is not a plush rails-to-trails race, so if this is your first time racing on trails you may want to consider our Dandelion, Snowfest, or Night Flight races first.
Of course, if you’ve done some of the more difficult races – like other half marathons in the Rocksylvania Series – you’ll feel right at home!
Please pay attention during the pre-race gathering, where you’ll get valuable info about race day trail conditions. And remember: no matter what you do, follow the trail of orange ribbons! If you go 100 yards without seeing any ribbon, turn around and go back! We use a LOT of orange ribbon and as you pass one you can also usually see the next one and the previous one. The only time that’s not true is when you’re in dense growth and to go off trail you’d need a machete anyway!
CUTOFF TIMES: This year we have found the need to institute and enforce cutoff times at each aid station. Please understand that our race depends on our volunteers, and in recent years they have needed to work extra hours for a handful of competitors who did not approach the event as the trail race it is. In addition, the health and safety of both volunteers and competitors are a priority and become increasingly difficult to manage the longer the event goes on.
This coming year we are setting a six-hour time limit to complete the race. Cutoffs to reach each aid station are based on a generous 27.5 minute-per-mile average pace (adjusted to reflect the difficulty of each leg - especially the stairway). We recommend a competitor who is unable to maintain this pace on the course to please consider less challenging trail events and venues.
These times will be:
First aid station at Douty Mill Trail (5.2 miles): 10:05am
Second aid station at Black Gap Rd (8.7 miles): 11:50am
Third aid station at McCall Dam Rd (11.2 miles): 12:50pm
THANK YOU for understanding!