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50 Mile Race Information 

Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon Course Summary

The Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon features a scenic and challenging single-loop course that takes runners through the picturesque landscapes of Rothrock State Forest in Central Pennsylvania. This USATF-certified course offers a mix of gravel roads, forest service roads, and rolling hills, providing a true test of endurance and resilience.



Course Highlights:

- Start and Finish: The race begins and ends at the Tussey Mountain Ski Area, offering ample parking and facilities for participants and spectators.

- Scenic Beauty: The route traverses the beautiful, forested ridges and valleys of Rothrock State Forest, showcasing the area's natural beauty and diverse terrain.

- Elevation Profile: The course features significant elevation changes, with a total gain and loss of approximately 5,500 feet, challenging runners with both steep climbs and descents.

- Aid Stations: Well-stocked aid stations are strategically placed approximately roughly every 4-6 miles, providing hydration, nutrition, and medical support.

- USATF Certification: The course is certified by USA Track & Field (USATF), ensuring accuracy and standardization for distance and elevation.

- Course Markings: Clear and frequent course markings help guide runners through the loop, minimizing the risk of getting off course.

This single-loop ultramarathon course is designed to test even the most seasoned ultrarunners while offering the stunning backdrop of Central Pennsylvania's wilderness. Whether you're aiming for a personal best or simply looking to enjoy a day, the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon promises an unforgettable racing experience.

Course Map Overview:

Below, you'll find the detailed course map for the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon. This map provides a comprehensive view of the entire single-loop course, including all critical details necessary for your race planning and preparation.

Key Features of the Course Map:


- Route Outline: The map clearly delineates the entire 50-mile loop, showcasing the starting point at Tussey Mountain Ski Area and the journey through Rothrock State Forest.


- Aid Stations: Marked on the map are the locations of aid stations, spaced approximately every 4-6 miles. These stations are essential for hydration, nutrition, and medical support.


- Key Landmarks: Notable landmarks and trail junctions are highlighted to help you navigate the course with confidence.


- Course Safety: The map includes information on emergency access points and key contact numbers, ensuring that safety remains a top priority throughout the race.


Study the course map thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the route, elevation changes, and aid station locations. This preparation will be invaluable as you tackle the challenging and beautiful Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon.

Elevation Map Overview:

Below, you'll find the detailed elevation map for the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon. This elevation profile provides a visual representation of the significant climbs and descents you'll encounter throughout the race.

Key Features of the Elevation Map:

- Elevation Gain and Loss: The map highlights the total elevation gain and loss of approximately 5,500 feet, giving you a clear understanding of the course's overall difficulty.

- Climbs and Descents: Major climbs and descents are prominently displayed, allowing you to anticipate the challenging sections of the race and plan your strategy accordingly.

- Mile Markers: The elevation map includes mile markers, correlating with the course map, to help you gauge your progress and manage your energy levels effectively.

- Aid Station Locations: Aid stations are indicated along the elevation profile, showing you where you can expect to find hydration and nutrition support during both uphill and downhill segments.

- Key Peaks and Valleys: The highest and lowest points of the course are marked, helping you to mentally prepare for the toughest parts of the race.

Use this elevation map to familiarize yourself with the terrain and to develop a race plan that takes into account the significant elevation changes. Understanding the elevation profile will be crucial for pacing yourself and conserving energy throughout the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon.

Leg Description Overview:

Below, you'll find the detailed graphs showing the ascents and descents for each leg of the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon. These graphs break down the elevation changes by segment, providing a clear picture of the terrain you’ll face throughout each portion of the race.

Key Features of the Ascents and Descents by Leg Graphs:

- Segment Analysis: Each graph represents a specific leg of the race, allowing you to see the cumulative elevation gain and loss for that segment. This detailed breakdown helps in planning your pacing and energy expenditure for each part of the course.

- Elevation Changes: The graphs visually depict the steepness and length of both ascents and descents within each leg. This information is critical for understanding where the toughest climbs and most significant descents are located.

- Strategic Planning: By analyzing these graphs, you can identify which legs will require the most effort and where you might be able to recover. This helps in creating a strategic approach to tackle the course efficiently.

- Mental Preparation: Knowing the elevation challenges ahead of time allows you to mentally prepare for the demanding sections, helping to maintain focus and determination throughout the race.

These ascents and descents by leg graphs are essential tools for any ultrarunner preparing for the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Ultramarathon. Use them to tailor your training, optimize your race-day strategy, and ensure you are ready to conquer each segment of this challenging and rewarding course.

Course Details

Leg #1: Three Bridges, One Leg-Breaker

3.2 miles; difficult.

Topography: Mostly gently climbing, with some steep ascents.

Leg #1 begins on a slight downhill on paved Bear Meadows Road. At bridge #1, the uphill begins. As you pass the stream along the right-hand side, you will traverse bridge #2, continue uphill and turn right onto Laurel Run Road (at 0.7 mi.), crossing bridge #3. At this point the road becomes gravel. Continue climbing to switchback #1, turn and continue up. Switchback #2 occurs at 3.1 miles; only 0.2 miles to Aid Station 1, at the crest of Laurel Run Road and the intersection of Mid-State Trail.

Aid Station 1: At the crest of Laurel Run, at intersection with Mid-State Trail. Parking is on the right-hand side beyond the aid station; first vehicle must pull forward to the orange stake, others file in directly behind.


Leg #2: Down to the Swamp

4.0 miles; easy.

Topography: Downhill to level; gravel.


Beginning at the crest of the hill, Leg #2 rolls downhill past the Fleet Foot Hunting Club (.45 mi.) and Laurel Run Camp (1.1 mi.), both on the right. At the bottom of the hill (1.2 mi.) you will pass Bear Gap Road on the left. Pass Sand Spring Camp and a meandering brook on the right, and go through fern fields as you pass Wildcat Gap Trail. Continue past Bard Gun Club on the left (3.45 mi.) and several cabins to the right and left (3.8 mi.) before coming to the intersection of Laurel Run Road and Pine Swamp Road (on right).


Aid Station 2: At the intersection of Laurel Run and Pine Swamp Road. Parking is on Laurel Run Road on the right-hand side, beyond the aid station.


Leg #3: Race to the Beach

3.9 miles; easy.

Topography: Fairly flat; gravel and then finishes on paved road.

This section of Laurel Run road is slightly winding and mostly flat. Pass through coniferous groves on both sides of the road, Manor Hunting Club on right (2.0 mi.) and cabins on the right and left (2.5 mi), following a meandering brook, continue to Aid Station 3. Turn right at the park sign (3.65m), then another right onto Beach Road to the turnaround point. Reverse back to Laurel Run Road to Aid Station 3.


Aid Station 3: On Laurel Run Road at Whipple Dam State Park. Parking is on the right, before the aid station. Restroom facilities are also in park. The is a spectator area with ample parking.


Leg #4: Three Up, Three Down

5.4 miles; difficult.

Topography: Gently rolling, with several long hills.
Runners continue on Laurel Run Road from the transition zone, then turn left onto Greenlee Road (1.25 mi.), entering a section of rolling hills on packed and loose gravel. At 3.8 miles, bear right onto Beidelheimer Road, ascending a mile-long hill and continuing on gently rolling hills up to the transition zone of Beidelheimer and Gettis Ridge roads.


Aid Station 4: At intersection of Beidelheimer Road and Gettis Ridge Road. Parking is on the right side, beyond the aid station.


Leg #5: The Breeze

3.4 miles; easy.

Topography: Downhill/flat.


Leg #5 starts off on mostly shaded loose and packed gravel, past vistas on the right, passing by Gettis Ridge Camp on the right, meeting up with Bear Meadows Road (2.2 mi.). Turn right on Bear Meadows Road and continue for about a mile, making a left onto paved Stone Creek Road (3.35 mi.). Just ahead is the Alan Seeger Picnic Area. Bear left into the parking lot, where Aid Station 5 awaits.


Aid Station 5: Alan Seeger Picnic Area. Parking is in the Alan Seeger parking lot, beyond the aid station. Vehicles should pull in and park as far from the road as possible.


Leg #6: Stairway to the Stars

4.1 miles; difficult.

Topography: Flat for under half a mile, then one serious, 3+ mile climb.


Leg #6 starts by heading left out of the lot onto paved Stone Creek Road, in a short time (0.4 mi., at bridge) the course reaches Alan Seeger Natural Area on the right and turns right onto Seeger Road. The next 3.7 miles are a steep and nearly continuous climb to the gated road to the Greenwood fire tower on the left. This is the location of Aid Station 6.


Aid Station 6: Gated road to the Greenwood fire tower. Parking is on the right-hand side, beyond the aid station.


Leg #7: Merrily We Roll Along

3.7 miles; easy.

Topography: Rolling, then a mildly challenging climb, followed by a steep downhill.


Moving out of Greenwood fire tower area, there is a beautiful vista to the left at 1.1 miles. Another 0.7 miles later, turn left onto Kettle Road. Over the next 1.1 miles, the road will first slope downward and then up to a ridge. The last 0.8 miles is a steep downhill to the Aid Station.


Aid Station 7: Intersection of Kettle Road and Cooper’s Gap Road. Parking is on the left side, beyond the aid station.


Leg #8: Rock On Down

4.3 miles; easy.

Topography: Some flat, then gently downhill.


Heading left on Cooper’s Gap Road, the course winds downhill. After the road takes a sharp right turn, it parallels the gas line cut, which can be seen on the left during the descent. Continue to the tee into Stone Creek Road.


Aid Station 8: Intersection of Cooper’s Gap Road and Stone Creek Road. Parking is on the left side.


Leg #9: Made in the Shade

2.9 miles; moderate

Topography: Gently rolling with some moderate climbs.


Heading right on paved Stone Creek Road, in a short time the course comes to a fork (2.0 mi.), turning left onto gravel and heading toward Penn Roosevelt camping area. After a slight uphill, the road turns downhill and passes a pleasant vista on the left, then heads past the first entrance into the camping area, at that point bearing left and crossing a bridge and a babbling brook. In no time the course arrives at the central picnic area and Transition Zone #9, where a picturesque mountain pond and picnic tables create a serene scene.


Aid Station 9: Penn Roosevelt State Park. Parking is on the right-hand side, beyond the Aid Station. Rest rooms available.


Leg #10: Stream of Consciousness

5.5 miles; moderate

Topography: Begins uphill, then gently rolling and downhill.

After moving out of Penn Roosevelt campground, the course climbs for the first 0.9 mile; once again crossing the Mid-State Trail (0.1 mi.), passing by Rock Oak Camp (0.5 mi.), and forking to the left at 1.0 mile onto Boal Gap Road. Pavement begins at 4.3 miles, then the course takes a left onto Polecat Road (4.4 mi.) then a quick right onto Bubb Road (4.5 mi.). Passing high meadows, glimpses of the lake and the mountains beyond come into view. Make a left onto Lake Road, then finish with a gentle descent toward Colyer Lake. You will turn right into the Colyer Lake parking lot. The aid station is at the far end of the parking lot.


Aid Station 10: Coyler Lake, occurs at the Colyer Lake parking lot on Lake Road.


Leg #11: Are We There Yet?

5.3 miles; difficult.

Topography: Flat, gently rolling to more serious ups and downs.

Head out of the lot and make a right on Lake Road. Bear right at intersection with High Street, staying on Lake Road, then cross a bridge, go 0.4 mile uphill, and make a left onto paved Treaster Kettle Road. Once on Treaster Kettle, the road alternates between pavement and gravel for a short distance, eventually maintaining a gravel surface. At 1.3 miles bear right, pass Thickhead Road intersection on the left (2.0 mi.), continue through several long climbs and descents, passing Mexico Gun Club (3.1 mi.), until the intersection with Bear Meadows Road (5.2 mi.). Turn right onto Bear Meadows Road and continue for 0.5 mi. to aid station 11.


Aid Station 11: Aid Station 11 has moved to the intersection of Bear Meadows Road and North Meadows Road, at the yellow gate. Parking is both at and before the aid station, on the right and left. Do not block the gate in any way.


Leg #12: Trucks Use Lower Gear!

4.2 miles; easy.

Topography: Mostly downhill, winding.


This final mostly paved and shaded leg continues on Bear Meadows Road, from North Meadows Road, turning to pavement at 1.0 miles (time for your overdrive gears), and continuing down a fairly steep downgrade, passing Laurel Run Road on the left at 3.1 miles, and winding over bridges 1 (3.2 mi.) and 2 (3.3 mi.). The final quarter-mile is a fairly flat sprint out of the trees, making a left toward the pavilion, and to the finish line, at Tussey Mountain Ski Resort.


Finish Line: At the pavilion beside the lake.

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