A 50-kilometer microcosm of the Pacific Northwest.
For most runners, traveling to this race involves a ferry ride and a drive down US 101. It’s hard to get more Northwest than that — unless, of course, you throw in a run through big, damp mountains and some IPAs.
Welcome to the Olympic Mountains 50K, a celebration of running in the Northwest.
Friday, September 11
3:00pm — Camping area opens
Saturday, September 12
6:30am-7:45am — Check-in and bib pick-up*
7:50am — Mandatory pre-race brief
8:00am — Start
6:00pm — Cutoff (10 hours)
8:00pm — Finish line “closes” (although you’re welcome to camp Saturday night)
Sunday, September 13
10:00am — Camping area closes
*In order to check in, you MUST present a photo ID. No one may pick up your bib for you.
Come camp with us! The retired quarry at the Start/Finish has plenty of room for tents, vans and small RVs. The below map shows the camping area and overall Start/Finish layout. If you arrive on Friday, please bring your own food and beverage.
You’ll start at a retired rock quarry at 2,600’ above sea level and grind your way to 5,800’. The high point of the course, a turn-around at the Buckhorn Wilderness boundary, offers huge views across the eastern slope of the Olympic range. Along the way, you’ll be treated to pines, rhododendrons, moss, a river named after a crab, and peaks still holding traces of snow.
For an interactive map, head over to CalTopo.
The 50K will throw approximately 8,800’ of ascent and descent at you, about half of which is in one climb to the high point of 5,800’. The middle-third of the race is a steady downhill, followed by a steep climb to get you up-and-over to the finish. Get ready to dig!
Runners can expect welcoming and well-stocked aid stations. We’ll have water, Tailwind, and an assortment of foods — sweet, salty, hearty, etc. Our aid statoins are cupless, so bring something with which to drink.
Estimated Arrival Times
Using finishing times from 2019, we created the following graphic to help runners and their crews set goals and manage race-day logistics. A middle-of-the-pack runner, for example, can expect to arrive at aid station #4, West of Zion, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Their crew, therefore, should be situated around 1:30pm.
The course is 74% single-track trail (23.5 miles) and 26% fire road (8.2 miles). Of the 8.2 miles of fire road, 5.2 miles is a smooth and very runnable downhill from Rhodies to Deadfall. Our median runner in 2019 covered this section in 54 minutes — save your legs for this relaxing downhill!
Directions to Start
The race starts and ends at a retired quarry inside Olympic National Forest, about 25 minutes from Quilcene, WA. Our course map includes driving directions, shown in blue, from US 101. Here are turn-by-turn directions from 101.
Head west on Lords Lake Loop Road for approximately 3.4 miles
At Lords Lake, turn LEFT onto Little Quilcene Road (FS Road 28). Go straight for approximately 5.4 miles
You’ll come to a fork in the road. Take a SLIGHT RIGHT onto FS Road 2810. Go straight for 3.2 miles
Turn LEFT on FS Road 2810-070. The parking area will be 0.4 miles down this road
We will mark the turns from 101 to the starting area with balloons or a similarly obvious object. Be sure to factor ferry departure times into your trip!
Plenty of parking, including spots for camper vans, is available at the Start/Finish area. When you arrive, a volunteer will point you in the right direction.
Pacers, Crew & Spectators
Primarily because of a limited supply of trailhead parking throughout Olympic National Forest, pacers are not allowed at this event.
Runners may have a small crew, meaning one car, visit them at the Rhodies (mile 16.6), Deadfall (mile 21.7) and West of Zion (mile 26.8) aid stations. One car only — we cannot emphasize this enough. Olympic National Forest is a popular destination, and many of the trailheads runners will cross will be packed throughout the day. We do not want to prevent others from enjoying the trails.
Crew support is limited to within 50 feet of the aid station — the closer, the better. Crews may not help their runners outside of these aid stations. Doing so may jeopardize our permit with the National Forest and, therefore, is cause for disqualification.
We love spectators — the more, the better! It’ll be a family-friendly scene at the finish line, so all are welcome, all day long. Details on the post-race festivities are below.
For spectators who want to see their runner on the course, please read the “Crew” note above.
Runners are encouraged to prepare a drop back for AS #2, Rhodies, which is at mile 16.6 — about halfway. Please mark your drop bag with your name and bib number. We’ll post bib numbers to UltraSignup about a week before the event. Drop bags should be sealed tightly and no larger than a shoebox. While we’ll do our best to take great care of them, please do not place anything fragile (like glass) inside your drop bag.
Although it pains us to say this, dogs are not permitted at this event.
All finishers will receive a modest “thank you” for joining us — a wooden coaster that’s a perfect complement to the coffee mug or pint glass you picked up at your last great event. In addition, we'll recognize the top female and male finishers in two age categories: "Open" (0-39) and "Masters" (40+) with an embroidered Patagonia vest.
Starting around 3:00pm, we’ll have food, music and NW beers available at the finish line. All are welcome.
The race starts and ends in a retired quarry. It’s, ah, rustic. On the north end of the quarry, there’s a 50-foot tall pile of gravel that, on most days, serves as the backstop for a firing range. On race day, the gravel pile morphs into Mt. Gunshot and serves as the stage for new inductees into the Quarry Qlub.
Want to join? No problem. When you’ve finished the race, simply keep going until you reach the top of Mt. Gunshot. (You’re welcome to briefly pause on your way to fill a solo cup.) The picture below shows our founding members.
Feel free to email the RD, Colin, at email@example.com. We’re happy to talk all things trail.