The 100 mile course will consist of four laps and the 50 mile race will be of two laps around a 25 mile Russell Forest Trail System course.  Each lap will be made up of two loops, a north loop that is 18.33 miles and the south loop which is 6.67 miles in length.  The North Loop is divided into three sections.   Section 1 is the Start at the Cabin Aid Station to Heaven Hill Aid Station (AS 1). The 2nd section is Heaven Hill back to Heaven Hill (AS2).  Section 3 is Heaven Hill to The Cabin (AS3).  The South Loop is the 4th section where runners will leave the Cabin for a 6.67 mile loop returning to the Cabin (AS4) and the end of the first 25 mile lap.  Each section of the Russell Lands Trail Map of the course is color coded.  
 North and South Loop GPS Map and Course Profile.

The course is mostly on single track trails and carriage paths with about 2 miles of dirt roads, most of which do not allow any automobile traffic.  There are numerous stream crossings all around the course and several trails follow creeks.  If there has been little or no rain the week before the race, runners will be able to complete the race without getting their feet wet.  It is easy to cross over every creek without getting into the water.  If, however, there has been a lot of rain a day or two before the race, you will probably have to wade some creeks.  If it rains heavily during the race, you will have wet feet.  I suggest bringing extra shoes and socks.

Section 1 - Start to Heaven Hill - Aid Station 1 - 7.51 miles:   The run will start in The Cabin, located 220 yards south of Catherine's Market.  This is also the location of Aid Station 3 and 4 and the finish for all races.  As you leave the start runners will head north along the road past Catherine's Market and the Discovery Center and turn right on the gravel road before heading into the SpringHouse Restaurant Parking Lot.  Go 40 yards and angle left at the "Y" (on the gravel cart path) and down the hill. Two gravel roads and a carriage path cut off to the right along this road but continue straight staying on the road.  You will head up a hill and see the Stables 100 yards ahead.  Turn left down a pathway along a pasture and go about 300 yards until the path connects into "Big Way" carriage path and go to your left.  Stay on Big Way for about 175 yards (stay straight at the gravel road on your left) to where you will see a footbridge and a picnic table on your left. Turn left off Big Way and cross the bridge over 100 Year Creek, the creek that you have been following.  You are now on the "Lake View Trail."

Stay on Lake View Trail for just over 1 mile to the intersection of the "2-Day Loop Trail." Turn left up the hill onto the "2-Day Trail." Runners will stay on the 2-Day Trail for about 2.5 miles.  After crossing several Cabin Roads you descend a steep hill toward the lake and a creek. Watch for the "Dark Valley Loop Trail" Sign to your right. Turn right onto the Dark Valley trail for a 2.4 mile loop before returning to the 2-Day trail.   Dark Valley climbs for about 1 1/4 mile to The Adamson Road Trailhead. At the trail head, look for the signs and flags directing you across the back end of the trailhead and back onto the Dark Valley Trail.  Follow Dark Valley back down the hill to the intersection with the 2-Day Trail.  

NOTE:  About 1/2 mile before reaching the Adamson Road Trailhead and about 1/2 after you start back down the other side of the Dark Valley Loop you will cross the "Big Way" carriage path.  This intersection can be a little confusing.  Look at the image below.  As you approach Big Way, you will see the other side of Dark Valley about 75 ft. to your left.  You will also see flagging.  Continue straight ahead across Big Way.  There will be signs directing you straight ahead on both sides.  There will be a "Wrong Way" sign on Big Way between the trails. Just follow the ARROWS.

The intersection where Dark Valley again meets the 2-Day Trail is easy to miss.  The Dark Valley trail has crossed back and forth across a Creek for about a mile.  As the lake comes into sight, Dark Valley connects back into the 2-Day Loop Trail and continues straight ahead.  At this intersection, you will turn right and immediately crossing the creek and head up a hill.  Do not continue straight ahead on 2-Day Loop.   If you end up at the lake you missed the turn.  Go Back!  You will stay on the 2-Day Loop Trail for about 3/4 mile, first paralleling the lake, then climbing away from it on a steep, rocky trail.  Watch for the Left turn heading uphill to Missionary's Downfall and the Ridge Trail.  You will climb a gentle hill for perhaps 600 or 700 yards then follow the ridge for about 1/2 mile. The trails then drops downhill to the Big Way Trial.  Make a sharp left down to the "T" intersection at Big Way. Follow Big Way downhill for about 1/3 mile, almost to the large open area around "Butterfly Crossing."  Watch for the signs to Heaven Hill on Heavenly Loop going right up the hill.  Heaven Hill is the longest climb in the race gaining just over 200 feet in about 3/4 mile.  At the top of the large bald hill continue straight ahead over the hilltop following flagging to the aid station located on the far side of the hill. 

NOTE:  The actual location of the aid station will be announced at the pre-race briefing Friday Night.  If the weather will be good all weekend the Heaven Hill aid station may be located on top of the hill adjacent to the "Heavenly Loop" Trail sign.  If the weather is questionable we will move the aid station down the gravel road about 100 yards into the trees for safety.

Section 3 - Heavenly Hill 2 to the Cabin Aid Station 3 - 5.04 Miles: Leave Heaven Hill Aid Station 2 and follow the road back the way you came to Green Way and turn right. Continue straight ahead to a gate. DO NOT take the first gravel road to the right, Cyclone Hill Rd. Continue straight and go through the gate. Just past the gate turn right onto Adamson Rd. Stay on the road past the Adamson Road Trailhead for 0.4 miles to O. Z. Hall Road (the paved road.) This is the intersection called Seven Points. Cross the road and angle to the right into the open grassy area and enter the "Pony Express Trail."  The Pony Express trail travels west toward the lake for about 1.5 miles.  Before the lake comes into view the trail makes a left turn, crosses a creek and "Ts" into the other side of Pony Express. Turn left at the "T" and stay on the Pony Express trail for approximately one more mile.  The trail stays near the creek. Watch for the intersection of the trail leading to Beechtree Hollow.  This turn is easy to miss because the Beechtree Sign is across a small creek at the bottom of a short hill. Turn left on the trail to Beechtree Hollow and follow the trail up a hill and across another Paved Road to the intersection with Big Way West.  Turn right on Big Way for less than a mile to "Beechtree Hollow."  At Beechtree Hollow turn left onto "Carriage Way."  Stay on Carriage Way for less than one mile to where it joins another gravel path, probably part of Green Way.  Continue along this path to just before Seven Points and turn right 20 or 30 yards past another gravel road and onto the Link Way road. Link Way is the leftmost gravel path and closest to Hwy 63. The transition from Green Way to Link Way making almost a 180 deg. turn.  It is now about 1.15 miles back to the start/finish and the Cabin Aid Station. 

Follow the road past the Old Kowaliga Kilns and up a steep hill. At the top of the hill you will see Russell Crossroads on your left and SpringHouse Restaurant to your right. Cross the Paved Road that leads to Russell Crossroads. (Watch for cars going to the Stables and to SpringHouse.) After crossing the road, get on the sidewalk that leads down the hill into the woods near Catherine's.  Do not run down the paved road that leads past Catherine's. This sidewalk is the way the race started and the sidewalk will bring you back to the Cabin Road 100 yards from the Cabin Aid Station.

Section 4 - Cabin Aid Station 3 to Cabin Aid Station 4 - 6.67 Miles:  Aid Station 3 and 4 are located at the Cabin, location of the start.  As you return from the North Loop, follow the signs and flagging back to the Cabin.  The aid station will be located in the large tent by the cabin. You will arrive at The Cabin from the north and leave to the south. Remember, you must make sure the person recording numbers gets your number.   As you head out to the South Loop, (Section 4) of the course, you will immediately cross Tucker Road and head into the woods directly across from the cabin on the Turtle Back Rock Loop.

​This loop is a little complicated to explain but the course will be well marked so you should have no problem staying on the correct trail.  After you leave the cabin, cross tucker road and enter the plantation pines on the Turtle Back Rock Trail. (This trail starts directly across the road from the Cabin.)  After about 200 yards the trail makes a sharp left and winds back to Turtle Back Rock. You will circle the rock to the right and continue down the trail that eventually leads back toward Big Way. Watch for a trail turning off Turtle Back Trail to the left where you cut over to another trail heading to the right. Cross a small creek and after a couple of hundred yards go left about 10 yards and enter another trail. Go left heading up hill. This newly created trail leads to a cabin road, Creek Trail Road.  Cross the road and enter the Rocky Mountain East Trail. Stay on Rocky Mountain Trail for about a mile to where it connects into Big Way at Governors Island Road. Cross the road and continue down Big Way to the Wilson Road Trailhead.  You will cross a creek and just before reaching the trailhead turn right onto the Branch Loop West Trail. (Do NOT enter the trailhead)

The Branch Loop Trail connects into the Rocky Mountain West Trail and eventually comes out on a large Slough. The trail follows the lake along the slough to Big Way.  At Big Way turn left for about 200 yards, across a creek, then go left into Lakeside Loop Trail. You are now heading down the opposite side of the slough you came up a few minutes earlier.  You will climb a hill leading away from the lake to the cabin road, Creek Trail Rd.  Turn right on the cabin road and follow it a few hundred yards to Big Way. Turn left on Big Way to the bottom of the hill and just past a creek crossing. 10 feet past the creek, turn left on a trail that heads toward the lake then up over a small hill. Follow the flagging past a few lake cabins and back onto Big Way. You will follow the lake for a short distance to where Big Way turns sharply to the right and uphill. Follow Big Way to the right continuing straight ahead up to Tucker Rd. Go left on Tucker Rd. about 100 yards and follow it around to the right, between pastures heading back to the Cabin. Where Tucker Rd turns right, you will see the Stables directly in front of you. DO NOT GO TOWARD THE STABLES. There is also a small shed directly in front of you and the Hay Barn on your left. Follow the Cabin Rd, Tucker Road, to the right up a gentle hill. Tucker road will take you back to The Cabin and Cabin Aid Station 2.

27 Mile Fun Run Finish: (New for 2017)
After completing one full 25 mile lap of the Lake Martin course, 27 Mile runners will leave the Cabin following the course as if they are headed back for another loop of the 18.33 mile north loop. Follow the same route as the 50 mile runners going left at the "Y" and down the hill. Follow the gravel road around to about 100 yards before reaching the stables and turn right down a carriage path. At the bottom of the hill go left on Big Way to the turnaround. There will be a sing and arrows. Grab a piece of flagging and head back to the finish following the exact same route you just came down.

Section 2 - Heaven Hill 1 Aid Station to Heaven Hill 2 Aid Station - 5.78 Miles: 
 Leave the aid station heading back up to Heaven Hill (The way you just came) and as the road enters the clearing turn right onto the north side of Heavenly Hill Loop. At the bottom of the hill cross a small bridge and enter a large open, grassy area. Turn right on Big Way, cross over Horsley creek (This is Butterfly Crossing - See the image to the left) and immediately turn left on the Horsley Creek Loop Trail. The trail parallels the creek for about 1/2 a mile until you reach the lake. Follow the lake a short distance, then, circle away from the lake and connect into the Upper Horsley Creek Trail after another 1/2 mile. Turn Left and follow Upper Horsley all the way to the Willow Point Cutoff Trailhead. This area was logged in 2015 and in places the trial is hard to follow. This section will be heavily flagged.

At the trailhead, go straight across the trailhead to the gravel road leading to the Willow Point Cutoff Road. Continue straight up the road for about 100 yards where you will go through a gate. Watch for cars entering the trailhead day and night on the gravel road. Crew and family are welcome to go to Willow Point Cutoff Trail Head to cheer for their runners. Just before reaching the paved road you will come to several very large rocks (Like 4 feet high) standing upright, marking the entrance to the Green Way Trail. Turn right onto Green Way then immediately left on the Frontier Trail. You are now heading back south toward the start. Follow the Frontier Trail a few hundred yards to where it "Ts" into Green Way, a gravel roadway reserved for electric vehicles, bicycles, horses and hikers, and of course, runners. You will stay on Green Way for several miles over rolling hills. This is a great place to make up time. As you top a small hill you will see a road leading to the right. This is the road to Heaven Hill and the aid station. Turn right and go 200 or 300 yards to the Heaven Hill Aid Station 2.
Section 2 - Willow Point Cutoff Trailhead.
Click to enlarge
Click on the Green Square to see an image of Butterfly Crossing
Section 1- Heading into &  out of Heaven Hill Aid Station,  Click on image to enlarge.
Sunset on Lake Martin
Turn by Turn Course Description