Jimmy Ballard and Doug Dawkins went hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont in 2011.
They hiked south from Hanover, N.H. into New York State.
Somewhere in Vermont during the countless PUDS (AT talk for pointless ups and downs) Jimmy wondered if we had been a vertical mile and in fatigued and deranged humor said something like “Wouldn’t it be something to put on a run where the whole idea was to do a vertical mile in the shortest distance possible?” 5280 feet up and 5280 feet down! It took a while to find the right location, but with the help of Rick French, this is that event. If you’re looking for a few hours of pure challenge this is your place.
The course is approximately a 2 mile loop beginning and ending at the bottom of the rock face directly behind the parking lot at Rocky Face Recreation Area. It is paved for a bit and then becomes typical single-track trail and after approximately 1/2 mile begins the 500 feet climb up the face of the mountain. At the top of the climb the course reaches the Hollow Rock Trail (red blaze, typical single-track) and follows it down to the top of the lower rock face. At this point runners will follow the blue blaze down to the end of the loop at the start/finish area. Completing the loop eight times is about 16 miles and a vertical mile up and a vertical mile down.
The Vertical Mile Challenge will have an 8 hour cut-off. This cut-off will be done by only allowing those who have finished 7 loops by the end of 7 hours to continue onto the 8th loop. This cut-off is not a hard and fast rule. The event director may allow a few extra minutes at his discretion on a case by case basis.
At the base of the mountain near the start/finish will be a self-service aid station with water and an electrolyte drink. Salty and sweet snacks will be available on the aid station table. Runners are encouraged to carry a bottle. Each loop runners will travel a paved section along the base of the rock face. This is an ideal place to bring your own drop bags with any special needs you may have. A large trash receptacle will be along the course just after the aid table and right after entering the woods. Please, if you carry trash into the woods, bring it out with you and deposit in a trash receptacle.
Awards will be given in two categories. Overall Male and Female will get finisher awards recognizing their accomplishment. Additionally, the fastest first lap both male and female will be recognized with an award. Only those who complete all eight loops will be eligible for the “fastest first lap” award.
Shirts will be guaranteed to those who register by June 1 and finish. Those registering after June 1 will get a finisher shirt if one is available. Non-finishers will not receive a shirt.
Registration for this race is online only or in person June 17 at the event from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m.
Any runner who agrees to not litter on the course may deduct $5 from his entry fee. Litter is anything not belonging on the course including clothing, empty gel packets, paper, wrappers, and toilet paper. If you simply must poop in the woods, cover it and pack out the paper. There will be a place on the entry that you can check “I agree”. Check it and deduct $5 from the entry fee.