The Great Cove 50k Challenge

[ Introduction | Finishers | Rules | Course Directions ]

The Great Cove 50k Challenge is what we call a DIY (do-it-yourself) 50k. It allows you to run an ultra-distance trail run without worrying about things like race fees, firm race dates, and cut-off times. The course is designed with three 10-11 mile legs, with each leg starting and ending near the parking area at Cowans Gap State park. This allows your vehicle to be your “aid station” where you keep supplies and nourishment. During the summer months there is also a concession stand and swimming area at the start/finish. Another benefit of the three-leg course is that you can bring a friend along to “pace” you for one or more of the legs without them having to run the entire course or be shuttled back to their vehicle.

The course has plenty of features to enhance your enjoyment (and suffering). Each leg incorporates 1500-1800 ft of elevation gain and scenic views. There are a variety of trail conditions, ranging from slow technical single track to fast well-groomed trails and logging roads. This is relatively dry course. You may encounter a few muddy or swampy areas depending on the weather, but usually you can avoid getting your feet wet if you choose.


Below is a list of those who have completed the course and provided us with the proper verification that they have done so. We encourage runners to help one another with this challenge. If you have run the course, consider providing support or pacing those who are attempting to complete the challenge for the first time.

Name Date Time Links
Eldon Martin 03/30/2018 8:26:19 strava – reliveyoutube

If you wish to be listed on the Great Cove 50k challenge website, please follow these rules:

  • You must use a GPS tracking device so we can verify your time and that you traveled the entire course.
  • You may choose the order in which you run each leg of the course. You can also run legs in reverse if you wish, but obviously that will make it more difficult to follow the directions.
  • Time must be tracked continuously from the start to the finish. Do not pause or stop tracking when you take a break or rest stop. You may use two devices if you wish (if, for example, the battery in one doesn’t last long enough), as long as you start tracking on the second immediately when you stop tracking on the first. The activities can be combined later with the tools available at
  • No short-cutting. If you leave the course for any reason (rest stop, getting items from your vehicle, etc), rejoin the course at the same place you left it.
  • When you have completed the course, you must email me a link or screenshot to your activity (on strava or another app/website). My email address is: It must show your name, the distance, time, and a map to confirm you followed the course.  If the activity is publicly accessible and you wish for us to do so, we can include a link to it beside your name on the finishers list.  We can also link to photos and blog posts about your run.
  • We reserve the right not to list a participant if the results information is not complete or if we suspect the rules or course were not followed. We will be the final judge of who gets listed and who doesn’t.
Course Directions

Disclaimer: This information is provided as-is. You accept all the risk associated with travelling the course. There are some areas of the course where mobile phone coverage is limited or non-existent. For safety’s sake, we encourage you to bring a friend along for your run. At minimum, let somebody know of your plans.

Click here to download PDF with course directions

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