Overall Rating
Overall Rating (5 Reviews)
3.2
(5 Ratings)  (5 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
1.4
SCENERY
2.6
PRODUCTION
3.4
SWAG
4.6
The Run for the Elk Race Festival will take place at Parker Dam State Park. The courses will be right through the heart of the Wilds!! The 5K will be a pretty easy out and back course along Mud Run Rd (Paved Road) with ~150 feet of elevation change. The … MORE
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Recent reviews

    emelia.pitlick FIRST-TIMER '21

    The packed gravel was what I expected, but did make it a bit more difficult. The race was out and back, which was sort of nice to see everyone, but … MORE

    The packed gravel was what I expected, but did make it a bit more difficult. The race was out and back, which was sort of nice to see everyone, but also was a little narrow in places. One of the water stations ran out of water, but luckily I had my water bottle. (I’m slow. LOL) The announcer at the end was AMAZING! He called out everyone as they crossed the finish line. The food and drinks at the end were fantastic. We didn’t see any elk. 🙁

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is a race in "Elk Country" PA which is a 2.5 to 3 hours straight shot south of Rochester, NY. It is produced by Schuykill River Runners. I chose … MORE

    This is a race in “Elk Country” PA which is a 2.5 to 3 hours straight shot south of Rochester, NY. It is produced by Schuykill River Runners. I chose this race since it was the closest half to Rochester this weekend, I love animals and was hoping to see some elk and they offered the Rut Challenge which consists of the 5K and 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. The Rut challenge allowed me to compete my “triple triple” or 3 races in a weekend 3 weekends in a row. There was very good pre-race communication included updates on course changes and shirt deadlines along with the regular race info. Logistics, this race is kind of in the middle of nowhere. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in St. Mary, PA. St. Mary appeared to be the closest lodging but it was about 30 minutes from the race. The only elk I saw during my trip was on my drive to the half marathon in the morning even though I spent a good couple hours Saturday looking for them. Packet pick-up was easy. I got my packet Saturday morning before the 5K. It is one bib for the entire weekend. Packet also included a race shirt. The shirt is a really nice short-sleeve tech shirt. I absolutely love the color. It is a teal green. I will definitely wear it. You also got drink tickets for both days and a meal ticket for after the half. This year all 3 races were an out and back on a rail trail in Emporium. The plan was originally for the half to be an out and back on this trail. In the past based on the description on Race Raves I think the half used to be point to point. I don’t know what the plan is for future races. I really liked how they did the start of the race. It started at 7am which I think was the perfect time to start as weather wasn’t too hot yet but allowed time for travel since most of the hotels were further away. They did a mass start but this was chipped timed and kept the start line open for 5 minutes for people who weren’t yet comfortable with a mass start. To me this is the perfect way to start a race right now. The start line had a timing tent and music but there wasn’t a start/finish arch. The race was the same out and back as before. Of the 3 out and back races I did recently, this was the least scenic but had the best maintained and easiest to run trail. The first mile is extremely unscenic passed some industrial metal company. The rest of the trail is more scenic but one side there is a road visible most of the trail. When I run on a trail whether a flat rail trail or a technical trail, I want to see as little signs of civilization as possible so I didn’t love the views of the road. The other side of the trail was decently scenic after your passed the metal company with views of the woods and creek. After the 10K turnaround point, the road disappeared for most the trail and it was more scenic hence I gave the half marathon the highest marks for scenery. I did not see any elk on the course although the elk I spotted on my drive there was near the course so it would be possible. I did see some cute ducks and chickens. The course was as easy as possible and great for a multi race weekend. As I said the gravel was well maintained, easy on the joints and there were no rocks to trip on. The first half is a gradual, barely perceptible incline and the second half a gradual, barely perceptible downhill just how you want a course. There is also a 5 hour time limit so in that aspect it is very walker friendly. However there were some productions flaws. Some were a little out of the race company’s control. Apparently someone stole the mile markers at a previous race (what is wrong with humanity?) so they had to do some makeshift mile markers and some were just spray painted on the ground. They did apologize for this. But my biggest complaint of the race and it is a big one is in their control. It is the aid stations. They said there would be aid stations every 2 miles with gatorade at one of them. They did encourage you to bring your own hydration but did not say it was necessary. Luckily I started to always bring my handheld water bottle even when it doesn’t seem necessary because their descriptions of the aid stations were not correct. There was an aid station at mile 0.5/12.6 (which is about the most useless spot for an aid station), another at mile ~3/10 and then there wasn’t one for 3.5 miles until the half turn around. Another issue is the aid stations were completely unmanned. I think there may have been issues getting volunteers since they posted multiple times about needing them but still. It was just cups of water left out. When I passed the 3 mile aid station the first time I saw there were not many cups left and was concerned they might run out. At the half turnaround there did seem to be enough water cups and there was some extremely watered down gatorade. Given my suspicion the aid station in the middle would be out of water, I filled my water bottle to the brim at the half turnaround point. Luckily I did since the aid station was indeed out of water. I am on the slower side but as this is a walker friendly race about 25% of the race field finished behind me so at least 25% and I’m guessing more like half the racers had no water for 6 miles. A lot of people didn’t have water bottles. This does not seem safe for a summer race. The lack of volunteers and support staff on the course also didn’t seem very safe. It got very hot at the end and I had to conserve my water to make it last 6 miles. I had cramping at mile 11 and had to walk quite a bit then and was very happy to finish under 2:45 which was a pretty good finishing time for the conditions and how many racing miles I have under my legs from the past 5 weeks. The RD at the end was extremely nice though and commented on my half fanatics shirt and chatted a bit. The medals are excellent and Elk theme and I got my half medal and a separate rut challenge medal. Right at the finish line there were some water bottles, fruits and chips. They were out of granola bars when I finished. Then a block away you could redeem your food and beverage tickets. There were breakfast sandwiches and I was very happy they had a clearly labeled meat free egg and cheese option. There were also vegan options which were just plain bagels but at least they offered something for vegans. I did see a spectator in a PETA (People Eating Tasty Animal) shirt so this isn’t exactly vegan country. I’m going to say I chose an egg and cheese over the plain bagel in case there were any strict vegans who hadn’t finished to make sure they got something as there were only 2 vegan options on the table and a ton of egg and cheese options and not because egg and cheese sounded tastier than a plain bagel. I also loved the drink options. They had wine slushies for the alcoholic option and they also had a choice of gatorade or coffee slushies for non-alcoholic options. Loved that they had fun non-alcoholic drinks! I tried one each day and both were delicious and refreshing though the coffee one was a little sweet for my taste. Overall there were some things I really enjoyed about this race mainly the challenge option, the swag and the non-alcohol and vegetarian food and drink options but the production issues were pretty big in my opinion and I have a hard time highly recommending this race as a result.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I ran the 10K as part of the Rut challenge (5K + 10K + half marathon). The 10K started at 8am on Saturday one hour after the 5K. This was … MORE

    I ran the 10K as part of the Rut challenge (5K + 10K + half marathon). The 10K started at 8am on Saturday one hour after the 5K. This was the perfect amount of time between races for me so I could have time to use the restroom, fill up my water bottle and stretch a little bit but not so much time that my body got stiff from waiting. It also allowed walkers to be able to finish. The RD seemed very relaxed and easy going which is I think part of the reason why production was so-so. I’d imagine if the 5K took you a little longer than an hour, they would let you start late so I wouldn’t let concern about finishing in an hour deter you from the challenge. This was the same rail trail as the other 2 races but again initially was supposed to be at Parker Dam. It was more scenic than the 5K and less scenic than the half marathon. They said there would be 2 aid stations but there was just the useless one at the 0.5 mile mark. My water bottle is generally big enough to last a 10K exactly so I was fine but if I didn’t have it it would have been tough. My goal was for this to not be my slowest road 10K and I succeeded at that. The medal is the same Smokey the bear medal but it has a different ribbon and the ribbon does say the distance. At the end there was water, fruit, granola bars and chips and you could redeem your drink ticket for a slushie.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I did the 5K as part of the Rut Challenge (5K+10K+half marathon). More race specifics are in my half marathon review. The 5K and the 10K were initially supposed to … MORE

    I did the 5K as part of the Rut Challenge (5K+10K+half marathon). More race specifics are in my half marathon review. The 5K and the 10K were initially supposed to take place at Parker Dam but due to overcrowding at the Dam, it was switched to the rail trail in Emporium where the half was. The 5K started at 7am which was perfect as it was not hot yet. The 5K was extremely not scenic mostly going passed a metal company but it was easy-peasy. I purposefully took it easy. I was aiming for under 35 minutes but ran 35 exactly. The medal was a cute Smokey the Bear medal. I’m not completely sure how it relates to the elk theme but it was cute and nice sized. I do think the initial location would have been better as I got really sick of seeing that metal company building 6 times. The production issues of the half really didn’t affect the shorter races. There was one pretty pointless water stop at the 0.5 mile mark but on Saturday it was manned by an extremely friendly volunteer.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    5

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    bborowicz FIRST-TIMER '20

    The rut challenge was fun and challenging. Don’t be afraid to try something new and run a couple extra miles to show off your toughness and receive some extra medals … MORE

    The rut challenge was fun and challenging. Don’t be afraid to try something new and run a couple extra miles to show off your toughness and receive some extra medals to show off for your collection.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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