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The Course

Shawnee 50 Mile, 50K, and 13.1 Mile Course Information

50 Mile Overview

Distance:  54 miles (87 km)

Elevation Gain:  12,000 feet

Forest Trail Miles:  50 miles  

Gravel Road Miles:  3 miles

Pavement Miles:  1 mile       

50K Overview

Distance:  31 miles (50 km)

Elevation Gain:  6,500 feet

Forest Trail Miles:  27 miles  

Gravel Road Miles:  3 miles

Pavement Miles:  1 mile       

13.1 Mile Overview

Distance:  13.1 miles (21K)

Elevation Gain:  2,600 feet

Forest Trail Miles:  10 miles  

Gravel Road Miles:  2 miles

Pavement Miles:  1 mile       


Course Description

The Shawnee 50 Mile and 50K Trail Run course features some of the most rugged terrain in Ohio and puts runners in the most secluded wilderness areas in the region.  And yes, the 50 Mile course has four bonus miles giving you 54 miles total. 


The 50 Mile route starts by running the 7 mile "Opening Loop" before completing a continuous 47 mile loop before finishing in the same location as the start.  The majority of the course is ran on the 40 mile Shawnee State Forest Backpack Trail in a clockwise direction.  The main deviation from the Backpack Trail is when the course reaches the remote "Campsite 6" at mile 36 - at this point runners exit the Backpack Trail to enter Wilderness Area Side Trail.  The Wilderness Area is a unique 8,000 acre area of land that has limited forest activity, including no motorized tools or equipment being allowed; that means all trail maintenance is done by hand in this area.  This 9 mile portion of the course is known as "The Dark Side" not only because it is from miles 36-45, but it is also the most remote area of the forest seeing very little sign of civilization.  Once 50 Mile runners complete The Dark Side they will rejoin the Backpack Trail until the finish line 8 miles later.

The 50K course bypasses the Opening Loop and heads straight to the start of the Shawnee State Forest Backpack Trail.  After starting an hour after the 50 Mile race, 50K runners will likely join in with 50 Milers as they begin the Backpack Trail near the same time as you.  From here the 50K course runs with the 50 Mile course on the Backpack Trail until around mile 20; the 50K cand 50 Mile courses split at a key junction on the Mackletree Bridle Trail.  After this split the 50K course enjoys 4.3 miles of smooth ridge top bridle trail and gravel road running before joining back in with the Backpack Trail, and completing the same finishing 8 miles as the 50 Milers.


And new in 2023, the Shawnee Trail Runs includes a 13.1 mile race option to make this event more accessible to runners who don't quite want to bite off the ultra marathon distances. The 13.1 mile course still includes some notable hills, with 2,600 feet of elevation gains, and gives runner a quick dose of the two longer distances; but, the half marathon distance provides the smoothest and most runnable trails in the forest, giving runners of all abilities the chance to take part in the Shawnee Trail Runs!


A quick glance at the elevation profiles and you'll notice the frequency of the uphills.  What this course is lacking in long sustained climbs of mountainous races will make up in the the frequency and steepness of the hills.  There are very few flat sections along the course so you'll either be going up or down the entire route.  Some say this frequency of ascents and descents can be harder than big mountain races because you'll never be able to get into a rhythm.  This will eventually take a toll on your physical and mental capacity.  Whatever race distance you choose at the Shawnee Trail Runs, you'll be treated with the best and most rugged terrain Ohio has to offer - we can't wait to see you at the Shawnee Forest!       

Shawnee 50 Mile, 50K, and 13.1 Mile Course Maps

-toggle between distances in the upper left corner of map

Shawnee 50 Mile, 50K, and 13.1 Mile Aid Stations
See information below about what will be at the aid stations.

54 Mile Aid Station Details and Chart​

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50K Aid Station Details and Chart​

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13.1 Mile Aid Station Details

Aid Station Locations for the 13.1 Mile Course

Mile 3:  Water Only

Mile 6.15:  Full Aid Station (and Course Turn-Around)

Mile 9.25:  Water Only

Drop Bags: there will be a location on Saturday morning at the starting line to place your drop bags.

The Shawnee Trail Runs is a cupless race!  In an effort to cut down on the waste of hundreds of paper cups, lessen a burden on volunteers, and to stay current with trail running trends, we will not have cups at aid stations.


You will be able to fill up with soda, water, electrolyte drink, or other liquids with your handheld bottle, bladder, and/or collapsible cups.   


We recommend purchasing a collapsible cup at your local running speciality store; collapsible cups can easily be stashed in your pocket or pack while running, and saves a massive amount of waste from paper cups that are just used once..  Here are two great products that we recommend:


Ultimate Direction:

Crew and spectator information, including a "Crew Guide", can be found on the Spectator/Crew Info. Page.

Aid Station Size

There are 3 different “sizes” of aid stations shown on the chart.  Here is the breakdown:

  1. “Water Only” -  Stations indicated as “water only” will not have anything except water.

  2. “Medium” - Medium aid stations will look similar to most ultra marathon aid stations, with water, electrolyte drink, soda, salty snacks and sweet snacks.

  3. “Full” - Full aid stations will look like the “medium” stations but will also include hot foods and/or real foods such as soups, pb&j, grilled cheese, potatoes, pierogies, etc., and/or etc.

Electrolyte Endurance Drink Mix

We will have Tailwind Nutrition at all the "full" and "medium" size aid stations.  Tailwind is a tried and trusted Endurance Fuel for ultramarathon runners and endurance athletes.  Tailwind is the perfect liquid source of complete calories, electrolytes, and hydration.  Aid stations will have the correct ratio of mix in coolers, ready for you to just roll in, fill up, and head out.  We'll only have the non-caffeinated Mandarin Orange flavor option.  Visit this link for the complete details and nutritional facts of Tailwind.

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