Barkley Marathons- but less torturous/more fun. This is a night race; headlamps and flashlights are strongly suggested. It’s a sure bet that you will stumble, trip, and/or rack up a spectacular fall at some point during this race. This race is also a scavenger hunt. There is an individual runner division and a team division. Runners/teams will be searching for books hidden on the mountain; some on the trail, some slightly off trail. The more you know about Ruffner Mountain – its terrain and history, the easier it will be to figure out the clues, locate the books, and snatch out your assigned page. Be the first to arrive back with all (or the most) specified pages and win bragging rights (and schwag of course).
The course is entirely on 1,036 acre Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve in Birmingham, AL. Be aware that there are trail-side holes, sheer drop-offs, and plenty of elevation change...this is not a casual hike. Starting at the Nature Center as the ‘home base’, runners/teams will scatter in whichever direction they feel they can find the books the fastest. It is suggested that participants obtain a trail map in advance as the books are mostly hidden on trails shown on the map. There will not be any special course markings except where a book may be located slightly off trail; keep your eyes peeled for anything reflective or not otherwise ‘natural’. There are no books hidden in caves, off cliffs, or in locations requiring feats of super-human strength or extraordinary courage and/or stupidity. No aid stations out on the course, so hand-held bottles are recommended. If books are located in the most efficient manner, approximately 12-14 total miles will be covered, 4,000’+/- elevation change. (Teams may split the mileage; individuals can expect to cover about this distance if not more.)