By Don Halke, RD
On a devilishly hot July day, 56 runners from five states met to run the 5th edition of the Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club’s Conococheague 50K Trail Run. The event is held on rock-covered single track and forest service roads in the wilds of western Perry County, Pennsylvania, in the Tuscarora State Forest. The course has five major climbs totaling over 6,100 feet of ascent.
Because of the difficulty of the course, we plan for a few shortcuts in case the day is not working out as planned. And on this course, plans often change. This year we had 17.7- and 24-mile options.
This year 27 of the 56 starters completed the full 50k course, with Danny Mowers running strong from the start for the win. Many other talented runners took it easy or backed down to one of the shortcuts, as they use this run to prepare for the Eastern States 100.
The Conococheague 50K is a free run, with five well-stocked aid stations made possible by donations from the runners. At the finish, runners are welcomed by Melanie and her chili, burgers and other picnic treats.
Melanie and I are very grateful for the volunteers who have become friends, who help clear trail, mark the course, run aid stations and sweep the course. Often, runners have come from two and three hours away just to help! I want to thank the Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club for sponsoring this run, everyone who participated, all the dedicated volunteers, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Tuscarora State Forest staff, and the special assistance from my good friend, Ron Shields.
I hope you all have recovered from the weekend’s adventure and will join us in March 2018 for the Tuscarora Trails Ultra 50K. Registration will open in early January and information will be posted at www.donrunsfar.com.