SYLACAUGA, Ala. — On November 5, more than 230 runners from 29 states and three different countries will begin their journey in the 9th Annual Pinhoti 100, a 100 mile endurance run through the Talladega National Forest. Beginning in Heflin, AL, runners will embark on a 100.59 mile journey through creeks and streams, rocks and boulders, and mountainous terrain, including a trek over Cheaha Mountain, Alabama’s highest point at 2,408 feet above sea level. More than 80 miles is run on single track trails, with the remaining portion using about 17 miles of jeep roads and 4 miles of pavement.
By November 6, runners will be concluding their journey on the rubberized track at Legion Stadium in Sylacauga, which serves as the race’s finish line. The first runner is expected to cross the finish line at approximately 1:00 a.m., but most will finish between 7:00 a.m., the 24 hour mark, and 1:00 p.m., the cutoff time and 30 hour mark.
There are eighteen aid stations throughout the course, providing runners with fluids, energy gels, and various foods, including bananas, chips, pretzels, sandwiches, and oranges. Four of the eighteen aid stations have bag drops, where each runner has the opportunity to have a bag with fresh clothes, shoes, socks, and their own food. All participants have the opportunity to have a crew traveling from aid station to aid station as well as pacers who run individual sections of the course with the main participant.
Each year brings unique conditions to the race. Record low temperatures and frigid winds made the overnight portion of the 2014 race brutal, resulting in a higher drop-out rate than normal. Just last year, the first segment of the trail was damaged from storms and flooding weeks prior to the race, resulting in a new start location and a revised course for the first five miles. Race director Todd Henderson and wife Jamie, both of whom are Sylacauga residents, are hoping for a relatively calm race this year. The Henderson’s look for race records to be broken, with a new course record faster than the current 16 hours and 42 minutes set in 2011 and 164 finishers in 2013.
However, one potential disruption lingers: forest fires. Due to recent dry weather, the risk of forest fires has risen dramatically, causing an eighteen mile portion of the course to be closed for a short period of time. The section has since reopened, but necessary precautions, such as no campfires at overnight aid stations, are still being taken.
A full course map and elevation chart for the Pinhoti 100 are posted below. SylacaugaNews.com will continue to cover the Pinhoti 100 in the days leading up to race start.
Jack Wilbanks for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2016, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.