Unforgiving. Historic. Gnarly. Do you have what it takes?
Fastest Known Times (non-race) and GPX files - Gerard Hiking Trail
All races will use a 50K loop course run in a counterclockwise direction, using primarily the main yellow loop (yellow blazes on the trees) of the single-track Gerard Hiking Trail (GHT) between Titusville Middle School (TMS) in downtown Titusville and the park office in Petroleum Center.
50K: 7 AM start 1 loop from TMS to AS # 2 in Petroleum Center PA 5,459 feet elevation gain
100K: 6 AM start 2 loops 11,010 feet elevation gain
100.6 miler: 5 AM start 3 loops + 7.6 mile "Boughton Acid Works going home" loop 17,785 feet elevation gain
The pre-race announcements will be in the cafeteria beginning 10 or 15 minutes before each race's start. We will then walk outside to the courtyard in the rear of the school about 5 minutes before each race starts and start promptly at 5, 6, and 7 AM.
All races begin with a 1.5 mile section of asphalt to allow some spacing between runners before hitting the single track trail at the Gerard Hiking Trail trailhead about 1/4 mile south of the Jersey Bridge canoe launch parking lot. Plan your race start accordingly.
The beginning and ending 1.25 miles of subsequent loop(s) - if any - will be on the flat asphalt bike path and side streets that run between Oil Creek State Park and Titusville Middle School (TMS) located in downtown Titusville. The short sections of side streets that lead from TMS narrow upon entering the paved bike / walking path that leads to Oil Creek State Park, so be prepared at the start of the race for this narrower section.
The 100.6 miler has roughly 87.1 miles of trail and a short amount of dirt road (87%), and 13.5 miles (13%) of asphalt.
3 loops of the 50K from TMS to Egbert Farm picnic pavilion in Petroleum Center PA, in counter-clockwise direction (south on the west Gerard Hiking Trail and then north on the east Gerard Hiking Trail)
Your resolve to keep going will be tested 3 times as you visit AS # 4 at TMS, the race HQ and start / finish line. It will be VERY tempting to DROP here and head for the showers - be prepared for this mentally and get your aid as quickly as possible and then get back out on the course
An additional short 7.7 mile "Boughton Acid Works going home" loop 4. You will be crossing Oil Creek on a suspension bridge just like the citizens of Boughton used when going home after a day of work at the Boughton Acid Works in the 1860's. Only the 100 milers use this special "going home" loop 4 - watch for signs. On this final loop 4 you do not run the 1 mile Drake Well Museum section.
The 100K has roughly 54.25 miles of trail and dirt roads (88%), and 7.75 miles (12%) of asphalt .
2 loops of the 50K from TMS to Egbert Farm picnic pavilion in Petroleum Center PA, in counter-clockwise direction (south on the west Gerard Hiking Trail and then back north on the east Gerard Hiking Trail)
Your resolve to keep going will be tested once as you visit AS # 4 at TMS, the race HQ and start / finish line. It will be VERY tempting to DROP here and head for the showers - be prepared for this mentally and get your aid as quickly as possible and then get back out on the course
The 50K has roughly 26.25 miles of trail and dirt roads (84%), and 4.85 miles (16%) of asphalt.
There are 4 main staffed aid stations and 2 unstaffed water-only aid stations (Section 3's Cow Run shelters and end of Section 4 near the Drake Well entrance Course Marshal tent). Therefore, water will be available every 5 to 7 miles . The portable toilets on section 2 and 4 trail part of the course have been removed due to accessibility issues.
The yellow blazes on the trees that mark the main Gerard Hiking Trail will have these fluorescent pink & reflective silver striped marking flags - with reflective tape applied to them - to guide the way. They will be primarily on the right hand side of the trail as you travel the course counter-clockwise, but it may not be feasible for all of them to be on the right. Besides the flags, fluorescent orange soccer cones with the reflective tape will also be used where it is difficult to get a metal flag into the ground:
COURSE OVERVIEW - the park map below displays OCSP as east / west oriented to make it easier to read but it really is situated north / south as the maps & elevation profiles above show.
NOTE - revised in 2022 to show the removal of three unstaffed water-only stations for the safety of our volunteer roamers - there is water available every 5 to 7 miles:
Section 1 - no water anymore between TMS race HQ and aid station 1 at Wolfkiel Run
Section 2 - no water anymore at the 4 mile point at Pioneer Rd / west GHT intersection
Section 3 - water available at the 5 mile point at Cow Run Shelters
Section 4 - water available at about the 6 mile point near the course marshal tent / portable toilet after exiting the trailhead
Section 1 - 7.1 miles
Aid station 1 captains - Taylor Nelson, Jeff Nelson
Elevation profiles using USGS data, not GPS calculations, of major sections - BonesInMotion (BiMactive.com)
Start of ALL races - a completely flat section of side streets and paved bike path from TMS to the west Gerard hiking trail trailhead about 1/4 mile south of the Jersey Bridge canoe launch parking lot - 1.5 miles - Asphalt - 80' ascent / 75' descent
South on yellow blazed west GHT to the Boughton Acid Works area white trail intersection (new in 2011) - 2 miles - Single-track trail - 495' ascent / 301' descent
Boughton Bridge white alt. trail intersection - turn SHARP RIGHT and continue on yellow-blazed west GHT to Wolfkiel Run AS #1 - 3.6 miles - Single-track trail - 600' ascent / 836' descent
Wolfkiel Run picnic pavilion AS #1 - runner's perspective from west Gerard hiking trail. PORTABLE TOILET and permanent pit restroom.
Section 2 - 6.8 miles
Aid station 2 captains - Jamey Bush, Raeann Rauch
Wolfkiel Run AS #1 to Egbert Farm AS #2 - AS #2 is the turnaround point, 2nd drop bag location and the other crew accessible aid station at the Petroleum Center park office - 6.9 miles - Single-track trail / short distance on dirt road - 1282' ascent / 1335' descent
Runners will pass by the 35' replica oil derricks at Benninghoff Farm - the inspiration for the logo and finisher's award belt buckle - about 1 mile from Egbert Farm AS #2.
Section 2 video - house-size rocks about a mile north of Pioneer Road:
Egbert Farm AS #2 is reached by running a short distance on a dirt road (Old Petroleum Center Rd) and crossing over this one lane steel open grate bridge (use the right side of the bridge where safety cones will be placed) - use caution when crossing at the same time as a car. The aid station is about 1/4 mile past the bridge on the right side of the road:
Egbert Farm AS #2 picnic pavilion behind restroom, about 1/4 mile past the one lane steel bridge on the right. PORTABLE RESTROOMS and permanent pit toilet restroom:
Leave Egbert Farm AS #2 by crossing the road at this brown sign, heading for the oil derrick, and then left toward the park office and the propane gas tank that marks the entrance to the white trail:
There is a small sign marking the entrance to the trail between the park office and the propane tank. Follow that up the hill until you intersect with the main yellow east Gerard hiking trail, follow it north (left) toward Cow Run shelters and Miller Farm Road AS # 3:
Section 3 - 8.8 miles
Aid station 3 captains - Heather Nelson, Linda Young, Adam Peterson
Petroleum Center's Egbert Farm picnic area AS #2 to Miller Farm Rd AS # 3 - run back north toward Titusville on the east GHT - 8.7 miles - Single-track trail, some wider XC ski trail - 1581' ascent / 1519' descent
Benninghoff Farm oil derricks from the scenic overlook all runners will be routed past:
Cow Run shelters & rest room - unstaffed water only aid station - between staffed AS # 2 and AS # . Boy Scout Troop 97 out of nearby Hydetown PA will greet you here and provide moral support only:
Cow Run Shelter to AS # 3 Miller Farm Rd bridge is 3.8 miles
Miller Farm Road bridge AS #3 from runner's perspective after running down the dirt Miller Farm Rd to reach it. AS # 3 will be in the left parking lot where the fisherman are around the pickup truck - between the OC&T railroad tracks and the bridge. PORTABLE TOILETS. After checking in at the aid station, runners will return to the steps you see on the right of the picture and head up the hill past the cemetery (Cemetery Hill):
Section 4 - 8.4 miles
Aid station 4 captain - Rob Giannamore
Previously: Libby Culbertson and Craig (12/29/1953 - 5/28/2016) / Susan Williams
Miller Farm Rd AS #3 to end of east GHT - 6.1 miles - Single-track trail - 1246' ascent / 1171' descent
From end of east Gerard Hiking through Drake Well Museum loop - 1 mile - grass trail - essentially flat
Jersey Bridge to TMS finish line (for 50K runners) or AS #4 for 100K & 100 mile participants - 1.25 miles - Asphalt - essentially flat - 82' ascent / 82' descent
TMS AS # 4 is for 100K & 100 mile participants only and is on the far right side of this photo under the bright orange kitchen loading dock overhang with the 2 cement pillars:
TMS AS # 4 will be reached by running along the side of the grass on S Brown St, past the Coach John Heisman tribute at the corner of the lawn, on the sidewalk along Water St to the kitchen loading dock patio. New for 2014 - to reduce AS # 4 congestion, you'll make a counter-clockwise loop in / out of AS # 4. Those finishing the race (50K one loop runners and later loop 100K & 100 mile finishers) will instead use the bus drop off road at the rear of the school where you started the race rather than going to the aid station:
100K - repeat the above four sections one time
100 miler - repeat the above four sections two times
100 milers only - loop 4 - "going home" loop - 7.7 miles
1) The same TMS AS # 4 to the west GHT trailhead as the first three loops - 1.5 miles
2) "Going home" loop - "Boughton Acid Works Headed Home" Loop - Jersey Bridge canoe launch parking lot loop - 5 miles - primarily single track (plus the 1.3 miles to / from the middle school - 7.7 miles total) - 971' ascent / 967' descent
3) Exit north end of the east GHT trailhead - skip the 1 mile Drake Well Museum Loop - run around end of guard rail and across Jersey Bridge and back to TMS to finish - 1.25 miles
100 mile participants will pass the historic site of the Boughton Acid Works. All 100 milers making it this far will run past this empty area that looks like the scene of a fire but is really the result of sulfuric acid leaching into the soil. In addition, you will use the suspension bridge over Oil Creek that is mentioned in the story below - just like the citizens of Boughton did in the 1860's to return home after a day of labor at the acid works. From the book "Hiking Pennsylvania" by John Young:
Photos section of the Yahoo discussion group - including park & topographic maps for some of the photos
Oil Creek has an elevation of 1150' at the north end of the park and 1050' and at the south end while the (steep) hills on each side of the valley are generally in the 1450' - 1575' range.