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.
Vertical Mile Challenge Race
A One-Day Event – June 17, 2017
Registration Fee: $25
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.
Packet pick up is race morning 6:30 until race begins at Rocky Face Recreation Area.
All proceeds will go to Rocky Face Park.
Vertical Mile Challenge Club
A Year-‘Round Challenge
1 Vertical Mile Challenge
Participants must complete 8 loops of the 2.2 mile trail,
a total of 17.6 miles/1 vertical mile.
Finishers will receive a free t-shirt and become an honorary member of The Vertical Mile Club.
1 Mile Finishers
5 Vertical Mile Challenge
Participants must complete 40 loops.
A total of 88 miles/5 vertical miles.
Finishers will receive a free long-sleeve VMC shirt.
5 Mile Finishers
10 Vertical Mile Challenge
Participants must complete 80 loops.
A total of 176 miles/10 vertical miles.
Finishers will receive a free short-sleeve VMC shirt and a sticker.
10 Mile Finishers
100 Lap Vertical Mile Challenge
Participants must complete 100 loops.
A total of 220 miles
Finishers will receive a plaque.
100 Lap Finishers
Participants must register at the Park Office and sign-in upon completing each loop.
For more details, please see a Park Attendant.
The Vertical Mile Challenge
June 17, 8:00 a.m. start Hiddenite, N.C.
Rick French, Event Director