If you find yourself exploring around the JT Nickel Family Nature Preserve over the weekend of October 17-18, you might come across a mob of thousands of trail runners and bicyclists hammering down the dirt roads of Cherokee County. Don't be alarmed, these athletes are competing in the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd Trail Run and Gravel Smasher and an elite few are attempting to complete a 100-mile run!
Runners of the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd will compete on a course of varying lengths including a 10-mile, 25k, 50k, 100k, and 100 mile. All runners participate on the same course that laps the JT Nickel Preserve. Runners in the 10-mile and 25k races will complete relatively short out and back runs on the west side of the preserve. Runners in the 50k will complete one full lap of the preserve, 100k runners will complete two laps, and 100 mile runners will see the course three different times, at least one of which is overnight.
The lineup of runners at this event is as diverse as it is impressive. You will find local athletes from small towns across the region as well as ultra athletes training for big mountain runs in Colorado and across the West.
A new addition in the last few years is a gravel bike ride route called the Gravel Smasher. Riders have the option to register in a 30, 60, or 70 mile distance and will find themselves finishing around the same time of day as the 100-mile runners that began their run more than 24 hours prior.
The Gravel Smasher is a great bike race for riders just starting out as well as seasoned endurance riders. The course is challenging and fast, plus with 100 mile runners next to you, your bike riding will seem really fast.
The best, I repeat, THE BEST aspect of the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd is the community of folks that organize, volunteer, and promote this event. Whether you are running in the shortest or the longest race, the community is there to support you and inspire you to keep getting better year after year.
Even up to the final hour the event organizers are looking for volunteers to help put on the event. If you are considering running or riding in the event next year, go volunteer and see what it is all about. Even if you aren't a runner or cyclist, if you are looking for something to do on Saturday, head down to Eagle Bluff Resort and watch the runners and cyclists competing at the highest level.
When: Saturday October 17-Sunday October 18th (VIEW RUN SCHEDULE)
Where: Eagle Bluff Resort
If you make it out to the PH100, tag us in your photos on Facebook and Instagram and use #tourtahlequah.
All images credited to www.ph100.run