Thursday, January 28, 2010

Clinton Lake Course Rating

For those that don't know, Ultra Running magazine now has expanded its race entry information to include course ratings.  This is true for both the actual magazine race listings and the online calendar equivalent (online has even more data based on what an RD submitted).  There are two course difficulty ratings--one for terrain (elevation gain from flat to mountainous) and one for surface (paved to rough/rocky trail).  They are both based on a  1-5 rating scale: 1=easy, 5=very hard.

So, where does Clinton Lake 30-Mile Trail Run fit in on this scale?  If you look at the online calendar, Ultra Running has two listings for the race (one was done automatically by the editors, one was submitted by me).  Depending on which listing you look at, Clinton Lake is either a 2/2 or a 3/3 rating for terrain/surface.

2/2 = rolling, total climb up to 50' per mile, mostly groomed trail or dirt roads
3/3 = hilly, total climb between 50'-150' per mile, trail or dirt road with some rocks, roots, or ruts

I submitted the second (harder) rating. The trail does have an elevation gain of over 1500' per 10-mile loop (that's about 150' per mile) and qualifies for a rating of 3 for terrain.  The surface is probably between a 2 and a 3. It's mostly single-track trail with a few rocks, roots, and ruts.  Sometimes there is an open grassy meadow, other times there are muddy and slippery hills, but most often it is just a basic single-track trail with a bit of uneven footing.  I think that's a "3" rating...and if we have rain and mud, it's definitely a 3...leaning toward a 4!  Runners should hope for dry conditions on race day.


Jerry Davison said...

I did 20 miles on it on the 16th of January and it was a 5!

Chris Ⓥ said...

Wow! You are hardier than me...haven't been out there for about 4-5 weeks.