The Course

Shawnee 50 Mile and 50K 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       


Course Description

The Shawnee 50 Mile and 50K Trail Run course will feature some of the most rugged terrain in Ohio and put 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 54 mile route starts by running the 7 mile "Opening Loop" but will then head out on a continuous 47 mile loop before finishing in the same location as the start.  

The 54 mile course will cover the majority of the 40 mile Shawnee State Forest Backpack Trail in a clockwise direction.  The main deviation from the Backpack Trail will be when runners reach "Campsite 6" at mile 36 and turn left onto the 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" because not only is it miles 36-46 but you will also be in the most remote area of the forest seeing very little sign of civilization.  Once 54 Mile runners complete The Dark Side they will rejoin the Backpack Trail until the finish line 8 miles later.

The 50K course will bypass the Opening Loop and head straight to the start of the Shawnee State Forest Backpack Trail.  After starting an hour after the 54 mile runners, 50K runners will likely join up with them as they begin the Backpack Trail.  From here the 50K runs with the 50 Mile course on the Backpack Trail until around mile 20; the 50K course turns right onto the Mackletree Bridle Trail to separate from the 50 Mile course.  After 2.3 miles on Mackletree BT the course turns right onto Service Road #2, for 2 miles of smooth ridge top gravel road, before turning right again to rejoin the Backpack Trail.  Where the 50K rejoins the Backpack Trail runners are once again on the 50 Mile course (mile 46),  with 8 more miles on the Backpack Trail until the finish line.   


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.     

Shawnee 50 Mile and 50K Course Maps

-toggle between distances in the upper left corner of map

Shawnee 50 Mile and 50K Aid Stations

See information below about what will be at the aid stations.

54 Mile Aid Station Details and Chart​

Shawnee 50 Mile Aid Station Chart Image.PNG

50K Aid Station Details and Chart​

Shawnee 50K Aid Station Chart Image.PNG

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:

UltraSpire:  https://ultraspire.com/products/ultraspire-c2-cup/

Ultimate Direction:  https://ultimatedirection.com/re-cup-4-pack/

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 want to Thank Tailwind Nutrition for sponsoring the Shawnee Trail Runs!  Tailwind Nutrition provides calories, electrolytes, and hydration all in liquid form.  Each aid station, except the "water only" stations at the Shawnee Trail Runs will be serving Tailwind!  

See nutrition facts here.