Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Mount Madonna Challenge

Sprig Lake Day Use Area

Gilroy, CA 1/2 Marathon, 10K, 5K

This Event Took Place Sat. Sep 23, 2023

Course info

• 8:30 AM Start
• 843 Feet of elevation gain

• 8:30 AM Start
• 1,532 Feet of elevation gain

Half Marathon:
• 8:00 AM Start
• 2,828 Feet of elevation gain

For more info on each race, including GPX files, please refer to our website.

The 48th Annual Mount Madonna Challenge

The Mt. Madonna Challenge began in 1975 by a hodge podge group of runners led by a gentleman with a passion for running, Bill Flodberg. It was one of the original trail races that began the evolution of trail running. In his 75 years, Bill wore many hats, and he wore them with equal passion. Bill was an avid runner; during college, he ran for UC Berkeley; later, he ran and trained on the roads and trails in San Martin and Gilroy, and he raced competitively well into his 70s. In addition to his personal running accomplishments, Bill encouraged runners and running as a Cross Country Coach at Gavilan College, as one of the founders of the Gavilan Joggers and Striders Running Club, through his “Running Man” running column, and as an organizer and director of several local races, including the Mt. Madonna Challenge. Thanks to Bill, thousands of people were enriched by his efforts to encourage music and the arts. And thanks to Bill, thousands of people in the running community have benefited from his example, encouragement, and advice.

Non-profit/Your Race Fees at Work!

In 2007, the South Valley Running Club took over ownership and management of the Mt. Madonna Challenge as Bill could no longer manage putting on the race. The running club took over the race with the intent of all proceeds being donated in the form of scholarships for college to local high school running athletes. Over the 13 years, the running club put on the Mt. Madonna Challenge, one to five scholarships were given out each year to local high school seniors.

As with many organizations over time, the running club saw a decline in club support and participation with putting on the Mt. Madonna Challenge and decided that it was time to transfer the race to someone that could bring renewed energy and passion to the race. Beginning with the 2020 race, Jose Cruz will be taking over ownership and management of the race. A local amazing running athlete, Jose has big plans for the race and promises to put on a fantastic race for those coming to run it. All proceeds will go towards the Mt. Madonna Scholarship, which will sponsor 8 local high school runners to take part in the Max King Trail Running Camp from June 17 - 21! A week packed with adventure, camaraderie, running tips, exploration, and stewardship! Our goal is to eventually have 8 - 10 underrepresented kids from various local schools attend this running camp. Read more information on the camp at

Cupless Race/Hydrapak

There will be no disposable cups at this race as it produced much unnecessary waste! But not to worry!, Hadrapak stepped in to support us in 2024! The SpeedCup's flexible design allows you to crush the cup and stuff it anywhere, from your running vest to your camp kit. The integrated finger loop provides support when drinking or pouring, free standing when empty and full. Made of ultra-durable, abrasion resistant TPU & RF welded seams for superior durability and elasticity. Perfect for race day!

Cut-Off Time (Half Marathon)

As much as we’d love to see you cross the finish line, we will be implementing a cut-off time for the Half Marathon. We know that the climb up Sprig Lake Trail is not easy but if you have not reached the first aid station for the second time (the first aid station is at mile 2.6, also serves as the second aid station at mile 5) by 9:45am, which is a 21:00 minute per mile pace, we will ask you to take Blackhawk Trail all the way down to the finish. Please respect our aid station volunteers as they ask you to make your way down to the finish. This is primarily for your safety, but our permits and timing partners have time limits and we want to respect that. We will have course sweepers removing course markers shortly after the cut-off time. Please respect them as they are volunteers. Please be sure to let the race director and timers know that you did not make the cut off or that you dropped from the race.



Parking and Shuttle

We have capped the amount of participants this year to 150 to avoid the shuttle system. The parking at Sprig Lake Day Use Area is fairly small and it is limited to parking. Please, we encourage you to carpool to the event if possible. We also encourage you to show up early so that we can start the race on time. Though we may no longer need to worry about overflow parking, there will still be a shuttle on standby at Fortino Winery (4525 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020). Fortino Winery has kindly let us use their space as overflow parking.

Check-In and Packet Pickup

Check-In, Packet Pickup, and Registration
Pre-Race Day Packet Pickup will be hosted the day before the race at Promised Land Brewing Co. on Friday 4-8PM.
Address: 7419 Monterey St. Gilroy, CA.
If you can't make it to Pre-Race Day Packet Pickup, we'll have Packet Pickup on the day of the race. Race Day Packet Pickup will be at the race location.

Chip Timing by SVE Timing

Timing will be done by none other than SVE Timing! So whether you are running the half marathon, 10k or 5k, you will be guaranteed accurate results! Chip timing through bib.

No Refunds

We understand that things out of our control can happen weeks before the race or even the day of the race. We’ll try our best to accommodate you but there are no refunds. All our proceeds benefit the youth in our community. Think of it as a donation.

Event's current local time: 7:30 AM PT


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