_ The 2019 Steep Rock Half Marathon:
Just a little over an hour from the northern suburbs of NYC, in the northwest hills of Connecticut lies one of the best kept secrets in trail running around! If you are ready for a new challenge of some awesome trails, then the Steep Rock Trail Series brought to you by Steep Endurance is for you! In cooperation with the Steep Rock Association, the Steep Rock Trail Series gives runners a chance to experience the idyllic trails of the Steep Rock Preserves in Washington, CT. Each preserve and race offer its own sweeping viewpoints, lush forest single track trails and hillsides, babbling brooks and streams, old rail beds, rural landscapes, and of course the ever present New England fall foliage. With each subsequent race, runners will progress from a 10K up to a Half Marathon.
The Steep Rock Half Marathon starts near the entrance to the preserve where runners will begin with some gentle single track through the northern end of the preserve along the river before making the steep climb up to Barnes Rd. From there it’s quick trip on the pavement to rejoin with the preserve trails at the end of Ferry Bridge Rd. As runners enjoy the early miles they will pass by the old foundation of the Holiday House as they work their way on gentle tree lined downhill trails towards Spring Hill Rd. After the short, but runnable climb up the dirt road, it’s a sharp right turn back onto the single track into a less traveled part of the preserve, weaving your way up then back down to the river a couple of times. After reaching the southern part of the preserve via a winding technical rocky descent, you will find yourself on the old Shepaug Railroad rail trail before entering the iconic Steep Rock Tunnel for the first time. It’s a beautiful site and you will feel the rush of cool air upon entering. Exiting the tunnel, it’s a couple of quick turns, up a steep hill, and down towards the beginning of the Clam Shell section of the preserve. This is mostly a flat trail along the river. On the left hand side, you will see a huge boulder in the middle of the river that fell from the cliff above many years ago. About ⅔ of the way around the Clam Shell, you will come upon the first river crossing of the day, a double crossing with a small island in between. Leaving the cold water of the Shepaug River, runners will make a quick climb up the single track, then a sharp right turn down one of the pine tree laden sections of trail on the course towards the Hauser Footbridge, but will again cross the river at another one of the “ford” sections of the river before then crossing over the bridge to return back to the north side of the river and turning right. Some flat sandy trail along the shore and it’s time to hit some technical, rocky portion of trail before starting the climb up towards the Steep Rock Summit. It’s about a 300’ climb, but over a distance of only 4/10 mile. Upon reaching the summit, take a look to your left at likely the best view in the preserve! Then it’s down the backside on some technical rolling (with just one short climb) downhill to the river. Another quick river crossing, a short climb up, and you have reached the Steep Rock Tunnel again. After passing through this time, it’s all rail trail and flat dirt road for the final 2 miles with just a little single track in the last ½ mile. A downhill finish awaits you back near the riding ring. This course is challenging, with a mix of lush and technical single track trails, rail trail, river crossings, but a relatively fast finish!
Central NYC Stadium