The Elk-Kings Trail Races will start at 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at Jones Creek Campground in Tillamook. These races will consist of a Mountain Marathon, a 50K, and a 25K in the Tillamook Forest.
The Elk-Kings Trail Races is an annual event and has been happening since 2013.
“We started back then with the 25K,” said Renee Janssen from Go Beyond Racing, the organizer of the event. “We added the 50K the following year. And last year was the first year for the new Mountain Marathon distance.”
The 25K race is a very steep and technical course run on single-track trails in the Tillamook State Forest. Runners will summit two mountains – Elk and Kings Mountains – and involve 5,800 feet of gain.
“The 25K distance is the most popular of the three,” Janssen said. “It’s the only race like it around, with scrambling with your hands up Elk Mountain and using ropes to descend the summit.”
The Mountain Marathon race will lead you to the backside of Elk Mountain, over to King’s summit, down and back up to the Elk summit before heading back to King’s and then the finish. This race involves 8,000 feet of gain and even more in loss.
The 50K runs on single-track trails all along the Wilson River Trail and has 6,500 feet of gain. It is a double out and back. The 50K doesn’t go up Elk or Kings mountain but is still a tough course with lots of rolling hills on the Wilson River Trail.
If you haven’t registered by Oct. 6, you will have to on the day of the race, as long as races are not sold out. The Mountain Marathon is $110, the 25K is $100, and the 50K is $120.
There are awards for the top three men and women in each distance.
“We give out Nike Trail shoes, Black Diamond poles and headlamps, and Ultimate Direction running packs,” Janssen said. “We also provide age group awards for all three distances.”
Janssen said people like this race for several reasons.
“The unique nature of the 25K and the Mountain Marathon courses draw people who like technical and rugged running,” Janssen said. “It’s similar to the sky running races in Europe and there isn’t a lot like that in the northwest.”
The race provides The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) points for those looking to qualify for the race in Chamonix, said Janssen. Chamonix is a resort area near the junction of France, Switzerland, and Italy. The base of Mont Blanc is the highest summit in the Alps.
The Elk-Kings Trail Races is a nice end-of-season event for runners to wrap up their year of racing.
Saturday, Oct. 12
6-7 a.m. – 50K bib pickup (photo ID required)
7:30 a.m. – 50K start
7:45-8:40 a.m. – 25K and Mountain Marathon bib pickup (photo ID required)
8:25-8:40 a.m. –Shuttles for 25K & Marathon to start
9 a.m. – 25K and Marathon start