Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 Laurel Highlands Ultra

The Laurel Highlands Ultra is 70.5 miles covering the full Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Registration for this event is old school, no signing up online or using a credit card.  You have to fill out the paper registration and mail it in with a check.  Registration fills up quickly and the only way you know you got in is they cash your check.

The race started in Ohiopyle near the falls.  They also had packet pickup there in the morning.  They had a great pre-race dinner the night before (at least what I heard about it), but I was unable to attend.

The race started out of the parking lot and onto the road for a short piece until we hit the trail.  There was a little backup at the trail head, but it was a pretty good up hill so most racers weren't in a hurry.  One of the toughest parts of the race is the first 8 miles, which are mostly up hill.

The trail is very easy to follow, and is marked very well with yellow markings.

One thing different with this race then others I have done is every mile is marked by one of these stone mile markers.  It is very easy to keep track of where you are and it is a great feeling when you pass them and know another mile is finished.

Throughout the trail there are a few scenic overlooks right off the trail which are worth the extra minute or so to take a peak.

All of the aid stations have the usual stock of all the ultra race foods you normally see.

There are a lot of technical sections throughout the course.

There are a few areas that you weave through large rock formations.

The trail is very well maintained, all of the stream crossings have very sturdy foot bridges.

Almost all of the trail is single track, but there are a few spots you are on a dirt road on Seven Springs Ski Resort.

There are a few crew stations, where it is always nice to see family and friends, even if it is for a short period of time.

The terrain and view changes throughout the race.

There is also a very impressive bridge that crosses the PA turnpike.

The finish is great and the race director hands you your finisher's trophy.  It is a wooden replica of the 70 mile, mile marker.  They later send you a personalized plaque to add to it with your name and finish time.

This a great race on an amazing trail system.  I would highly recommend it.  It was also local for me and something I wanted to do for some time.  I'm glad I finally got the chance to do it.

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