This year, XTERRA Big Elk is adding 5K, 10K, and kids’ trail runs to the popular half-marathon and marathon line up on June 16th.
Held at the Fair Hill Fairgrounds – formerly the famous DuPonts’ Foxcatcher Farms– the XTERRA Big Elk half marathon and marathon are beloved by XTERRA Atlantic Region Runners.
“These trails have it all,” said race director, Jefferson Nicholson. “We are adding races for the entire family this year so more runners can join in the run and experience the joy of the trails. The XTERRA Big Elk Running Festival has an event for every member of the family and for runners of all levels.”
The races are structured for optimal participation and spectating. The trail marathon and half marathons begin at 7am, the 10K and 5Ks take off at 8am, and the kids’ races don’t start until 9am.
“Runners in the longer races can run with their kids as a cool down, or parents can each participate since the races begin at different times,” said Nicholson. “This is truly a community event. We asked ourselves how we can get everyone involved and time the runs so no one is sitting around and everyone is having fun.”
Established as a large horseracing stable in the 1920’s, Foxcatcher Farms eventually became the site of an amateur wrestling training facility (and the basis of the 2014 movie, Foxcatcher).
These days, the estate is better known as Fair Hill. Just like its history, the XTERRA Big Elk course has a little bit of everything. Consisting of two 13.1 mile loops, the course is the same for both races.
“Starting by the fairground recreation center, the half marathon and marathon courses include a little bit of a road prologue to thin out the crowd before we hit the trails,” said Nicholson. “The course is a mixture of single track, double track, gravel road, bridge crossings, field crossings, and a creek crossing or two. The first third of the trail has a healthy amount of rock gardens to keep you alert and on your toes while the rest of the course has a fair amount of roots to keep you engaged.”
The 10K trail run is cross-country style for the first few miles, meaning that runners get to experience the grass paths and carriage trails of Foxcatcher history. The last three miles include field crossings and single track.
“We ran the 5K again last night,” said Jefferson. “And the trails are so much fun. The first mile and a half consists of gravel carriage roads used by horses. After that, the trail ducks into the woods for some sweet single track that meanders through the woods and crosses a small creek. But it’s really a gentle course. Nothing too rocky, rooty, steep, or slippery.”
All races use the same last two and a half miles of course for easy spectating and as a way for families to share in the finish line experience together.
The kids’ races for children ages two through seven are 100 meters in length so all participants can be successful. The course snakes through a field and ends at the finish line.
For older kids up to age 12, the .75 mile kids run stays within eyesight of the finish line but ventures 100 meters into the woods so kids can get a taste of true single track.
The XTERRA Big Elk Trail Run Festival will also include food trucks (with a discount to runners!), an expo, and massage tents.
Learn more and register at https://www.xterraplanet.com