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Vermont 100 Mile Course Description - 2015

Updated June 17, 2015

By Zeke Zucker In a nutshell (Executive Summary, if you will), the course is going up or down most of the time with only a few stretches that are flat. Equal ascent/descent of approximately 14,000'. Some of those hills, primarily on the 68% which is smooth gravel road, are quite steep. 27% of the course is on single track trail or jeep road, with only a small amount of that being lumpy. Basically the footing is quite good overall. About 5% is on 7 short segments of paved road, with the longest of those being 2.5 miles long. The last 30 miles are rather challenging.

Now, for those who crave more detail, here's a run-on sentence description:

In the first few miles you have some early trail up then down leading to an extended climb up Densmore Hill and Garvin Hill Rd. Runners will then head down and over the Taftsville Bridge to the Taftsville Aid Station.

You're on gravel roads and a trail section that climbs gradually with a little undulation. After Pretty House handler station at 21, it's paved, then gravel, then jeep roads up to Sound-of-Music Hill at about 27 miles. The view up there is fantastic at one of the highest points of the course (1,946')! The course then goes across meadows, down trails and more meadows to Wild Apple Rd. (700' elev. loss) and a long easy downgrade gravel road to Stage Rd. handler station at 30. Runners then head down a paved 1/3 mile stretch on Rte. 4 then up a steep grassy trail for a half mile and onto wooded single track behind Suicide Six Ski Area. Cross Rte. 12, some gravel roads, dirt roads and trail sections down to a pavement 1/3 mile on Rte. 4 and cross Lincoln Covered Bridge. One of the toughest hills takes you 2.5 miles up Fletcher Hill Rd., then hill & dale roads until you get down to Rte. 106 at about 44 miles.
The 100k racers join in here. Exactly a mile of paved moderate uphill, then back onto some climbing single track/horse trails until you get to Jenne Rd. Up some, then a sweeping down and up and soon a nice downhill stretch into Camp Ten Bear (the first time) at mile 47.

Out of Camp 10 Bear there's a half mile hump that connects you to a 22 mile-long loop. Some road, then meandering trail and Agony Hill – a lumpy steady uphill grind to the halfway point, then on gravel again to Pinky's. Cross Tyson Rd. and it's class 4 dirt road for 2 miles of easy upgrade to Birminghams at about mile 54. Cross a big field into the woods and snowmobile trails, up and down and out onto gravel for a nice 2 mile downhill breather to Tracer Brook. Hairpin turn and now facing mostly uphill for 9 miles. First 3 are the steepest and only a few level sections. 1.3 miles after Brown School House (about mile 65) there's a rewarding 3.5 miles of downhill, then that hump again and Camp Ten Bear again, where pacers join up.

In your planning keep in mind that the last 30 mile chunk is challenging, with a number of trail sections and short, steep uphills. Just out of Camp Ten Bear, there's a half mile level trail then ¾ mi. fairly steep up Heartbreak Hill on bumpy, usually wet jeep road. A mile of easy grade gravel and first up and down on 2 miles of trail, then back on road at Seabrook at about mile 74. Road then single track up and down and up a steep gravel driveway to Spirit-of-'76 handler station (which is at approximately 76 miles). Head out onto 1.5 mi. of up and down trail, then 10 miles of uninterrupted road, more than half of it down, and then a couple of steep roller coaster ups in the last mile to Bill's at about mile 88. Single track in woods up, then down, and out onto a long, somewhat bumpy grassy downhill on the edge of a big meadow. At the bottom enter onto Hewitt Hill Rd. for a good mile of uphill, then Hunt Rd. shorter and steeper up and then down and flat. Just before mile 93 you hit Marton Rd. , which is very steep up for the first ¼, then not quite so steep, then better before Pond Rd. and Pond trail, somewhat up and lumpy for another ¾ mi. Exit onto gravel for ¾ mile to Polly's (mile 95) handler station. Short down then pretty steady up on smooth roads for 2.2 mi. Back on trail up for 0.9, hump road for 0.4, then veer off to the right for the last half mile of undulating trail. It then goes down and levels out to the finish at Silver Hill Meadow.

When folks ask me how hard this course is, I tell them it doesn't have the high elevation or rough footing like other 100's out west or down in the southeast, but it certainly does have hills.
In the words of Devon Crosby-Helms, the 2008 women's winner: "Vermont ain't no joke!"

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