Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The 1st Annual BLOOD ROCK 50 Mile, 50K and 25K (And in 2017 the Blood Rock 100

On November 19th, Southeastern Trail Runs held our most exciting race ever, The Blood Rock 50 Mile. Next year it will be twice as exciting with the inaugural Blood Rock 100 Mile Endurance Run. It will have almost 40,000 ft. of elevation change. And you thought Alabama was FLAT!!
It’s very rare for a first year race to sell out but that is exactly what the Blood Rock 50 did! The final race in the 2016 Southeastern Trail Series surprised us all by selling out by the end of September. In October, after talking things over with our local trail club, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society (B.U.T.S.) it was decided we could handle up to 300 runners so we opened registration again. Within a matter of days, the race was full again. The Southeastern Trial Series is a seven race series starting in April with a 3 & 6 mile race and ending in November with an ultra.

50 Mile and 50K Start

The Blood Rock 50 was actually three races, 50 miles, 50K and 25K. The runners in all three races got to enjoy the awesome backcountry section we call the “Outback.” Everyone had all the climbing a trail runner could ever want. The 50 mile had over 19,000 feet of elevation change, the 50K wasn’t far behind with over 14,000 feet of change and the 25K had 10,000 feet. We had some tired runners at the end of the day but after a beer and some of Logan Cook’s awesome food everyone was all smiles.

Just a sample of Logan's "Fare"

As with most Southeastern Trail Runs races, runners don't leave after finishing. They hang around and enjoy the food and company of fellow runners and friends.



 In the weeks leading up to Blood Rock there was more excitement about the event than any race we have ever done. Oak Mountain State Park allowed us to use old, no longer maintained trails in areas few people ever see, including an old abandoned wagon road down the back side of the mountain. Some of these amazing trails followed a ridgeline with spectacular views out across Dunnavant Valley. And then there was Barkley Hill, named after the infamous Barkley Marathons. This climb is only 1/10 of a mile from bottom to top but the climb gains 233 ft. We installed 600 feet of fixed ropes just to be sure everyone made it up the hill.

The 50K and 50 Mile started at 6:30 AM with 165 runners, the 25K began at 7:30 AM with another 130. Runners have an easy first mile along a park road to give everyone time to spread out before heading into the backcountry at Oak Mountain State Park. Five and one half miles of the first 10 miles is on unmaintained backcountry trails with over 4,000 ft. of elevation gain.


                                                           Yeah, it really is that steep!!


Barkley Hill is so steep we had to install 600' of fixed rope all runners would make it to the top.


  That's a lot of very heavy rope to haul up the mountain, then, back down.

The Blood Rock 50 mile was also the RRCA State Ultra Championship Race. Our overall winners were Brandon Sullivan of Nashville, Tennessee and our own Lisa Booher from right here in Birmingham. The 50K winners were Mark McAlister from Sewanee, TN and Sarah Grappo also from Birmingham.  Sarah is also this year’s Southeastern Trial Series Points Champion. The 25K race was won by Alec Hill also from Sewanee, Tennessee (must be something in the water in Sewanee) and the first woman was Natalia Pribytkova of Metairie, Louisiana.

RRCA State Champions, Lisa Booher (center) after finishing.

 Brandon Sullivan receiving his awards from RRCA State Representative, Alex Morrow.

Take a look at the finisher medal for the 50 Mile and 50K. I can’t wait to see what the 100 Mile buckle will look like!

The RRCA Alabama State Ultra Championship medals on a pile of “Blood Rocks.”

 And the Blood Rock awards weren’t too shabby either.

This is Natalia Pribytkova of Metairie, Louisiana Showing of her 1st Place award.

As always, Southeastern Trail Runs has some of the best aid stations and aid station food anywhere. These great aid stations are, in no small part, thanks to efforts of the Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, "B.U.T.S." Here are just a few pictures from around the course. Thank you BUTS!!

The Marina Aid Station Crew                           The North Trail Head Aid Station Crew

The High Crest Aid Station                        The Peavine Falls Aid Station



If you plan to run the 2017 Blood Rock 100 or any of the other Blood Rock races, you had better register early. The race will be December 9th & 10th. You can find more details about the Blood Rock 50 and 100 Mile Trail Race at

Pictures provided by: Charles McKenzie, Marye Jo Tosch, Suman Silwal ( Southeastern Trial Runs.