Something we've found is course descriptions are hard. Too much info and your mind starts wandering over the paragraphs. Too little and you leave frustrated that you still don’t have an idea of what a course might bring. So we’re gonna try to do our best and give you what we think, is helpful in envisioning what the Jewel course is like.
Runners start bright and early from the Dalton Convention Center Parking Lot. They’ll run up and out making their way up a section of power lines before following the Pinhoti through what we call the “Rock Garden”. Runners will quickly figure out finding a stride is impossible in this section as the rocks are different shapes and sizes and require thoughtful running.
Once through, runners get some beautiful ridgeline (while enjoying the sunrise) and come down to the Snake Creek Gap Trailhead road crossing. We help them avoid getting hit by cars who like to stare at crazy runners and continue on towards Keown Falls.
Keown Falls is a fun section of climbing, climbing and climbing some more. There are rock caves and waterfalls to be enjoyed (at least this time around.) Runners then make their way up to John’s Mountain where the view is just…well…it just is.
Once fueled up runners get to bomb down the mountain and head for the Dry Creek Trail system.
Dry Creek is pretty amazing. Think of a forest with tall pine trees and rolling hills. It’s fast and runnable. Depending on the rainfall there could be a few creek crossings none particularly major.
The great thing about Dry Creek is it’s like a big figure eight. Runners run two loops, twice, each time coming back to the gianormous parking lot, their crew and a killer aid station. This is one of the nice things about this course. For 30 miles the crew doesn’t have to move in order to see their runner. And there are bathrooms. And music. It’s pretty legit.
After the lollipop, runners head out the way they came in, running back to the Convention Center and on to belt buckle glory.
50 milers start their journey at the Dry Creek Trail System by running two loops in the pine tree forest. (Sorry, no swirly twirly gum-drops here.) It's like running a big figure 8. Each loop is roughly 6ish miles and allows runners access to quick aid from the beginning of the race. And bathrooms…sometimes it takes a few miles to get things going.
Once runners finish 15 miles in the Dry Creek system, they’ll head up and over to John’s Mountain. *35 milers start reading here.
The climb up to John’s Mountain is spectacular and rewarded with a fun aid station party at the top and a fun bomb-down section on the other side. Keown falls is next with beautiful rock caves and waterfalls that most runners will appreciate sticking their heads (or whole bodies) in.
From Keown falls it’s a quick run to Snake Creek Gap. *18 milers start reading here.
There’s a surprising steep climb out from Snake Creek Gap before runners get to the beautiful ridgeline running.
7ish miles from there runners hit Stover Creek Aid Station before running more single-track and the infamous rock garden. This rock garden is legendary for it’s inconsistent sized boulders along with its steep climbs. Once runners make it through that they’ll pop out to the power lines all while cursing our names.
Runners hit the power lines and are on the homestretch. Just a few more pesky miles and a fun hill at the end before flying into the finish line, a nice chair and cold Coke.
See 50 mile description but ignore the two loops in Dry Creek. We thought we’d save some web space.
You friends, get to start at Snake Creek Gap trailhead and follow and the Pinhoti to the Convention Center! Jump up to where it says, “18 milers start reading here.”