The tentative date for the 2015 IMTR is Saturday, September 5, (Labor Day Weekend), start: 7 AM. The start time is actually a staggered start: the 50 mile event starts at 7 AM, the 30 mile event at 7:30, and the 16 mile event at 8 AM. This will reduce some of the congestion on the first part of the trail. Future IMTRs are tentatively scheduled for the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, as long as the USFS continues to approve our permit (2015- Sep 5, 2016- Sep 3, 2017- Sep 2 . . .). Registration for future races will hopefully open on June 1 of that year.
Before you register, please understand this is a trail race with sections that are very challenging and potentially dangerous. Some runners may feel that the course, especially the steep technical downhill near the end, is too dangerous. Please understand that the course is what it is. You will need to adjust your pace to stay safe. You alone are responsible for your safety on the trail. If you enjoy a challenge, sign up. If you feel that steep, rocky, muddy, and potentially dangerous trails do not make for a good race course, good luck at a different race with terrain that suits your preferences.
The IMTR is an ultramarathon sanctioned by USATF starting and finishing in Damascus, VA. Three distance options are available- 16, 30, & 50 miles. The footing varies from open easy running along the VA creeper trail (and forest service roads) to technical single track. The majority of the run follows the Iron Mountain ridgeline through the Jefferson National Forest along what used to be the Appalachian Trail. The total climb for the 50 mile course is around 8000 feet. The time limit for official completion for the 50 mile distance is 12 hours (8 hours for the 16 mile distance & 10 hours for the 30 mile distance). All three distance events start at the same time.
Registration should open on June 1, 2015. However, before you register, please understand, there are NO REFUNDS, for any reason and no transfer of entries (and no deferring an entry for the following year). The field for all three distances combined (16, 30 & 50 milers) is limited to 200 runners. I anticipate that it will fill up. Registration will close (no additional runners will be taken from the wait list) on Aug 24.
To register, click on: 'Registration'. This will take you to an outside website (Ultrasignup.com) to register. Please ensure when you register that you are registering for the event distance you intend to run.
Again, there are no refunds!
Registration fees are $25 for all race distances if registering before August 1. On August 1, registration fees will increase to $45 for all distances. Registration fees only include aid during the race and a post race meal. Technical race shirts are an additional $20. If you register after Aug 11, you are not guaranteed a race shirts even if you pay for one online (since the shirt order may have already been placed). You will be given one as supplies last or refunded your $20 (again, this is an additional $20 charge for a shirt). All runners may buy additional shirts on race day after registration is complete (after the race) as supplies last.
There is an additional ~$4 handling fee charged by the registration website. All registration will be online.
This race was started as a 50 mile race and that is still our primary focus. Our permit limits us to 200 runners. Before July 1, the 16 mile event will be limited to 45 entrants, the 30 mile event will be limited to 60 entrants, and the 50 mile event will be limited to 100 entrants. On July 1 there will no longer be limits on any individual distance, just an overall limit of 200 entrants. Also, for the first time we will be using a waiting list (handled by Ultrasignup). So even if the race is full, you can still sign up (I think your credit card will be charged once a spot for you opens up). However, please remember, there are no refunds for any reason!
The moral of the story is: register early!! Register while there is space available, before the fee goes up, and while you can order a shirt. I do anticipate that we will fill up (we did last year) and the 16 mile event will fill up first.
There will be limited awards for top finishers in each distance (the M/F winner). Usually we have a locally baked bread or a locally made jam/jelly for all official finishers. Given the low registration fee, no awards are guaranteed!
We allow people to drop down in distance during the race. Anyone opting for a different distance during the race is not eligible for placement awards. This is a logistics headache for race volunteers, and changing distances during the race is allowed primarily as a safety option so runners don't try to push past their abilities.
Another award will be offered in each distance- the Iron Mountain Man/Woman Award. This award will go to the runner who does the most push-ups, sit-ups & pull-ups (pull-ups count for 3) within 5 minutes of finishing his/her distance within the required time limit.
Friday night packet pick-up is tentatively scheduled to be 5-8 PM (August 29) at the Damascus town park gazebo (race start/finish). Packets can also be picked up 6-6:30 AM on race morning. If possible, please plan to pick up your packet on Friday evening.
Technical race shirts are an additional $20. You may order one (or more) if you register before August 11. If you register on or after August 11 you are not guaranteed a shirt (the shirt order will have already been placed). You will be given a shirt as supplies last; if we run out, you will be refunded your $20. All runners may buy a shirt after the race as supplies last. If you register for the race, order a shirt, and can not come to the race, I will NOT mail it to you. If you have a friend attending the event, he/she can pick it up for you if you email me ahead of time (again, NO REFUNDS, for any reason).
There is one other way to get a race shirt (for free!). Volunteers (who volunteer for the whole race) will get a free race shirt. You can sweet-talk a friend or relative into volunteering and then swipe the shirt from him or her. Just make sure they get your size. Since the shirt order is placed weeks before the race, we have to have the volunteers lined up early to make sure a shirt is ordered for them. Have possible volunteers contact the Race Director, Kevin Townsend, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no race provided pre-race meal. There are a few small restaurants in Damascus. Also, many runners enjoyed the 2009 meal at the Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA (http://meadowviewfarmersguild.com/HarvestTable.html), right off of I-81, exit 24. There are several restaurants in Abingdon, VA.
A pre-race breakfast is not provided by the race. There are very limited options in Damascus before 7 AM (no restaurants are open). Either bring your breakfast, eat before you get to race start, or do without.
The post race meal will consist of a cook out at the finish line. Burgers, hotdogs, and veggie burgers will be served. The post-race meal will start around 11:30 AM and continue through 7 PM (50 mile cut-off).
If anyone is interested in volunteering with the race, please email the race director, Kevin Townsend, at email@example.com. We can always use a few more people to help at the aid stations or the finish!
Detailed Route Description:
The race starts at the Damascus Town Park gazebo. The course sets out east along the VA Creeper Trail to Straight Branch (mile 5), where it turns left (north) to climb Iron Mountain via the Beech Grove Trail. At the top of the big climb, the course turns NE onto the Iron Mountain Trail. The course crosses FS 90 (mile 10; turn around for the 16 mile option) and Rt 600 (mile 16; turn around for the 30 mile option). The 50 mile course veers off onto FSR 84 (continuing east), then Old 84, then back to FSR 84 (mile 22) toward Dickey Gap. Runners cut across to Barton Gap (turning north onto the Barton Gap Trail) and then head back west on FS 643. The course turns south climbing back up the mountain on the Rowland Creek Falls Trail (mile 29). Back on FS 84 at Hurricane Gap (mile 32), the course proceeds west, merging with the Iron Mountain Trail. Runners eventually split from FSR 84 following the Iron Mountain trail all the way back to Damascus crossing Rt 600 at mile 37 and FS 90 at mile 43.
For a course map, click on the Course Map page.
The course will be marked with streamers and/or cones. The streamers will be used on the trails and cones will be used in town. The race typically uses pink streamers with black polka-dots. The US Forest Service uses pink streamers to mark insect traps. Make sure the streamers you are following have black polka-dots!
Pacers will be allowed for 30 and 50 mile runners from the Skulls Gap aid station only on the last 13 miles. However, any runner using a pacer will not be eligible for one of the placement awards. Pacers are mainly allowed so runners can introduce friends to trail running and just have a fun time running with friends.
You and your pacer are responsible for pacer transportation. Race staff of volunteers will not help you in going to get the pacer's car, etc.
Take I-81 to exit 35 (exit sign says '107'). Turn east onto 762 south. Drive 8.0 miles and turn right into the overlook parking lot. The Skulls Gap Overlook parking lot is located near the top of the mountain, across from a trucker emergency pull off (for failed brakes).
The IMTR wants to thank the Russell County Amateur Radio Club for their help in keeping track of runners! They provide communications between remote aid stations and the race start/finish, allowing race staff to know which runners have dropped as well as any other problems on the trail.
I will have at least 2 organized training runs on the course, tentative dates and times are below.
On Saturday, July 5, at 9 AM, we will meet at the Skulls Gap Overlook Parking Lot to run the east end of the race course (about 24 miles). This section is only run by the 50 milers, although others are welcome to come train. It is easy to shorten this to about 14 miles for those interested in a shorter distance. Route: Garmin Connect.
On Saturday, August 9, at 9 AM we will meet in the Damascus Town Park, (race start/finish).
We will plan on running up to 30 miles. It is very easy to shorten this to 9 miles (or anything from 9-30 miles). This will cover the start and finish for all race distances, and depending on the distance you run, possibly the entire course for the 16 or 30 mile options. Full route: Garmin Connect (30 mile race event) or shorter route: Garmin Connect (16 mile route).
On Saturday, August 16, 0900 an optional training run is tentatively planned. Location/route will depend on the preferences of those expressing an interest in the training run (most likely starting at the Skulls Gap Overlook Parking Lot or the Damascus Town Park (start/finish area).
On Saturday, August 23, 0900 (tentatively), we will meet at Skulls Gap Overlook Parking Lot to mark the course. This would be a good time to see certain sections of the course (16 & 30 mile runners, this is a great chance to see the waterfall).
For all of these dates, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know if you plan to come. I intend to set out water in a couple of spots for some of these runs. You will need to plan on a hydration system for the longer runs, probably a hydration pack. For training runs, you may have sections of ~12 miles with no water.
Directions to Skulls Gap Overlook Parking Lot
The Iron Mountain Trail Run has no official Facebook page. However, there is a local running club (the Iron Mountain Trail Runners) who greatly support the race (by volunteering &/or running in the race). You may find information about training runs in the Damascus area on their Facebook page as well as some IMTR race announcements.
Multiple Trail Users
Most of the course is open to other trail users. These include horseback riders, bikers, dirt bikers (motorized), and hikers. Given that it will be Labor Day weekend, I expect many of you to run into horseback riders. Everyone I have met on the trail has been friendly; please ensure that you are friendly as well, especially since you are an entrant in an organized event. If we get many complaints we could be denied a permit in the future.
Horses have right of way (over all other users); foot travel has right of way over all except horses. Please be courteous to all users! If you do encounter a horseback rider, understand that you should not run past them (as this can spook the horse). Call out to the rider, and he/she will probably try to move over and allow you to pass as soon as there is room on the trail.
The Iron Mountain Trail Run was started in 2006 by Eric Grossman. In the first year there were 37 starters with 32 finishers; local runner Nick Whited won in 8:01 (Bethany Patterson won the ladies' race in 9:15). After three years of directing the IMTR, Eric decided to move on to other projects so he handed off the position of race director to Kevin Townsend for the 2009 IMTR. To increase participation and provide opportunities for those unable (or uninterested) in a 50 mile race, Kevin added two other distance options (16 & 30 miles).
The design of the race course and much of the information on this website is due to Eric's work. The original IMTR website is http://imtr.ehc.edu/. "Thanks for all your hard work, Eric!"