Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
2.5
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
2
SWAG
3
The Pine Creek Challenge is just that, a place to challenge yourself and see how far or how fast you can run. It will be a scenic trail run along Pine Creek in northern Pennsylvania. The Pine Creek Rail Trail stretches 63 miles from Wellsboro Junction to Jersey Shore. It … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '20

    This is an absolutely gorgeous, pancake flat non-technical trail marathon or ultramarathon in Northern Pennsylvania. I stayed in Corning in Southern NY which is about 45 minutes away as I … MORE

    This is an absolutely gorgeous, pancake flat non-technical trail marathon or ultramarathon in Northern Pennsylvania. I stayed in Corning in Southern NY which is about 45 minutes away as I had originally planned a small vacation to Corning for Wineglass weekend but when that went virtual I switched my vacation weekend to coincide with this race but there is also closer lodging in Wellsboro PA or you can even camp on site if that is your style. Since the marathon had a late start at 9am I still didn’t have to get up early with the 45 minute drive and Corning is lovely. I was not very impressed with pre-race communication at least via email. However there were many updates on Facebook so make sure you like their page if you are going to run this race. All the other races I did during covid had very detailed procedures but this was mostly vague like don’t congregate too much and we are serving mostly prepackaged food. The marathon is very small (about 30 participants) so even though there weren’t as specific of covid procedures it felt safe enough but I’m not sure how it felt for the more popular ultra distances. The marathon is very simple a 13 mile out and back on a trail then a 0.2 mile run through the parking area to the finish line. The start was kind of odd there was no timing mat at the start at 9am someone just said go and you went. I was a little worried about a 9am start and running in the middle of the day in September but the weather was cool and absolutely perfect. I was also worried an out and back on a trail may be boring but the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. You could easily get lost in thought and it was very peaceful and zen and luckily as it was on one large trail it was very easy to follow and would be hard to actually get lost. For the marathon there were 2 aid stations you pass twice. They were well stocked since it is an ultra race with the usual gels but also candy, chips and sandwiches. I would recommend bringing either a hydration pack or a handheld water bottle as the aid stations are as far as 8 miles apart but they gave you a collapsible cup with your swag and if you don’t need much water you may be okay without one. At 13 miles there is just a sign that says turn around. It wasn’t super big and there was no volunteer there so it could easily be missed. It also didn’t say the distance the turnaround was for. Obviously if you were running the marathon you knew to turn around there and the longer distances to keep going but as the 100 mile runs the course twice I believe I could see getting confused in the middle of the night. You turn around and run 13 miles back where you came from and then do a 0.2 miles loop through the parking lot to complete the marathon distance and there is a timing mat at the end which I’m guessing gives you a time based on how long you are after 9am. The race is pancake flat the change in grade is barely perceptible and the terrain was technically very easy. A marathon is never easy but this course is as easy as possible. Mentally its a little tough without as much crowd and aid support but you pass by some of the ultra runners who all cheer you on. Also it is so pretty it helps. My finishing time was okay but I would have liked to have run under 5:30 but I was happy enough with it especially since I didn’t do any specific training for this race and had no runs more than 16 miles before the race as opposed to the LA marathon where I religiously followed a marathon training guide. If you did train properly this would be a great PR course as it was much easier than the LA marathon. But if you didn’t another great thing about the race is it has practically no time limit. Basically the 100 mile race has a 30 hour time limit and the other races need to finish by then so the marathon pretty much has no time limit (technically it is 27 hours) and the 50 miler and 100K have very generous time limits of 28 and 29 hours respectively. So great course for walkers or beginners. At the finish line you get your medal which is wooden with the race logo and distance. It is a fine medal. Not particularly big or special but also not gaudy. Normally I would want a fancier medal but the simplicity of the medal worked for the simplicity of the race. There was also food. They were making hot food for the ultra runners which wasn’t ready but they had other cold items including chips and hummus my favorite snack which was enough to hold me over until I could get into town for my traditional post-marathon veggie burger. Other swag could be picked up either the day before at a local store or the morning of the race. I got it the day before. It came in a nice simple tote bag that I will definitely use filled with lots of useful goodies including a buff, small flashlight, poncho, the collapsible cup, this cute lady bug cold pack and the best part some maple candies. It also had the shirt which is super ugly. It is a hideous lime green with these weird black stripes over the sleeve. It is also not distance specific and just says pine creek challenge 100 which is kind of cool because if I am brave enough to wear the shirt in public people will think I ran 100 miles. Its actually a decent shirt other than the color and is tech material so I’m sure I will use it. Overall I really enjoyed this race and am so happy to have done a marathon during the pandemic. I did think there were some production issues which is why I took away a star but nothing that got in the way of the overall experience. I’m not sure I will do the marathon again given there are so many other fall marathons I want to do but I could be convinced and would absolutely do it again if we are stuck with limited options again next year. I wish there was a shorter either half marathon or 30K distance so I could run this race regularly. If I ever decide I want to try a 50 mile race I am definitely picking this one given the easy terrain and generous time limit but right now the idea of running nearly twice the distance I ran today sounds pretty awful.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Irunfar FIRST-TIMER '16

    It was hot; 87 degrees hot. Aid stations are roughly 6-7 miles apart. At one aid station I was told, "Wait until you get to the next aid station, they … MORE

    It was hot; 87 degrees hot. Aid stations are roughly 6-7 miles apart. At one aid station I was told, “Wait until you get to the next aid station, they have smoothies.” When I got to the next aid station they told me they did not have the smoothies ready.

    Once I got to the ~35 mile mark and it was 87 degrees out (you will be running in the direct sun for most of this race) I went to grab water and they told me to only grab one small cup b/c they only had 6 small cups of water left! They said they had called in 1.5 hours previously that they needed water but it had not arrived. WTF. A half mile away, there is a general store — GO BUY SOME WATER OR FILL UP YOUR WATER JUGS WITH A GARDEN HOSE. Seriously WTF. The race is also longer than 100 miles and yet this is absurd given that they can just shorten the end points since it is an out and back. Also, they did not put water jugs half way between the aid stations even though it was so hot and even though the trail has vehicle access.

    There is no food the night before and some of the aid stations, not one volunteer said one word to me as I was there. I was really disappointed in this race.

    There were many other things that indicated that the Race Director did not manage this race well which is surprising given that they had put this race on several times in the past. But the points I made above should let you know how they approached other aspects of the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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