Baker Trail UltraChallenge
Run a 50 mile ultramarathon in 14 hours!
The Baker Trail UltraChallenge is a 50-mile ultramarathon on the Baker Trail. Unlike the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, this is a footrace; the "challenge" is for you or your relay team to win, or at least finish within 14 hours! The next UltraChallenge is set for Saturday, August 27, 2016. The race starts at 6:30 AM; the deadline for finishing is 8:30 PM. Individuals as well as relay teams of up to 5 members may register.
In 2015 the race traversed the central section of the trail, the second leg in the three-leg series. In 2016 we'll be on the south section. Each year, a piece of a unique three-piece medal will be awarded to all individual finishers. When a participant has completed all three sections, they'll receive a handsome commemorative holder to display all three medals.
See the UltraChallenge 2016 page for details.
The Baker Trail is marked as a typical hiking trail. Yellow blazes on trees, telephone poles, fence posts, guard rails, and so on indicate the path.
Unlike many hiking trails, the Baker Trail is not always a footpath through the woods. In many areas, it follows dirt or paved country roads, some with narrow shoulders. As with road running everywhere, you must always be alert and cautious.
Because of the varying terrain, the UltraChallenge is more mentally demanding than similar ultras. You must always be watching for the blazes in order to stay on the course. In places, the Trail will be following a road only to abruptly turn off the road into the woods. Therefore, if you haven't seen a blaze in a few minutes, you may be off course and should backtrack to the last blaze and determine where you went wrong.
Plenty of runners will go off-course at least once during the day. If you expect -- and accept -- that you will, too, it won't be quite as frustrating. The key to a successful race is to realize it quickly.
- 2014 UltraChallenge: "A Damp Course" | Images | Split Times
- 2013 UltraChallenge: "Expect the Unexpected" | Images | Split Times
- 2012 UltraChallenge: "Nelson Makes it Two" | Images | Split Times
- 2011 UltraChallenge: "Nelson Conquers All" | Images | Split Times
- 2010 UltraChallenge: "A Great Day to Run" | Images | Split Times
- 2009 UltraChallenge: "Cook Cooks Baker" | Images | Split Times
- 2008 UltraChallenge: "Not Even Close" | Images | Split Times
- 2007 UltraChallenge: "Tough Crowd" | Images | Split Times
- 2006 UltraChallenge: "A Hot One" | Images | Split Times
- 2005 UltraChallenge: "The Birth of an Ultra" | Images | Split Times
We need volunteers on UltraChallenge Day! We will need people throughout the day, from morning registration to aid stations along the trail to the finish. People can volunteer for as few as two hours. If you'd like to help out, review and sign up on the Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities page. What's in it for a volunteer? As a thank-you, all volunteers receive a coveted Marshal t-shirt and the gratitude of many strangers!
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "50-mile race an ultra challenge"
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Ultramarathoner means going farther (inside yourself) than you ever thought possible"