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50 Miler

Tier 1 - SOLD OUT

Tier 2 - $105 

Tier 3 - $115 (begins 2/1/18)

10 Miler

Tier 1 - SOLD OUT

Tier 2 - $40 

Tier 3 - $45 (begins (2/1/18)


Tier 1 - SOLD OUT

Tier 2 - $80 

Tier 3 - $95 (begins 2/1/18)




Morehead, Kentucky is not only one of the state's most popular official Trail Towns.  We are making it a go-to spot for trail running with the Big Turtle 50 Miler!  The Big Turtle is a fun and challenging trail running event that runs along the northern section of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.  Why Big Turtle?  Well, back in the day the Shawnee gave Daniel Boone the nickname "Sheltowee" which means "Big Turtle."  

The race is an out and back course that runs from beautiful downtown Morehead to the northern terminus of the Sheltowee Trace and back.  50K-ers and 10 Milers turn back sooner.  

This race will give you a little bit of everything:  rolling meadows, steep climbs and descents, rugged terrain, creek crossings, fast forest roads, and amazing spring views of the surrounding foothills.  The Big Turtle is a challenge that only a select few have been able to conquer.  Sign up today to test yourself at one of the biggest trail races in Kentucky.

50 Miler

Start Time:  7:00am

Cut Off:  10:00pm (15 hours)


Start Time:  7:00am

Cut-Off:  7:00pm (12 hours)

10 Miler

Start Time:  9:00am

Cut-Off:  2:00pm (5 hours)

Pre Race Dinner and Meeting

There will be a pre-race dinner and meeting on Friday night in Morehead at the Laughlin Health Building of Morehead State University.  The pre-race meeting is an important safety and course logistics meeting, so it will be very beneficial for you to be there.  Also get your picture taken with your bib in front of our banner!  Meal tickets are $10 for all you can eat pasta and salad.  Meal tickets can be purchased on site on Friday night or online (coming soon).


Morehead State University

Laughlin Health Building Gymnasium

University Blvd., Morehead, KY 40531

For driving directions to Laughlin, CLICK BELOW

Laughlin Health Building, Morehead State University, University Blvd., Morehead, KY 40351

Times:  4pm-7pm

Packet Pickup & cHECK iN

There are two packet pickup times.

Friday, April 20th


Laughlin Health Building, Morehead State University, University Blvd., Morehead, KY 40351

Saturday, April 21st


Laughlin Health Building, Morehead State University, University Blvd., Morehead, KY 40351


Awards and SWAG

All participants receive a race shirt.
All finishers of the regardless of distance receive a special finisher's award.
Top three men and women at each distance receive a special award.

We stand by our belief that these are the BEST awards out there.  Just check out some of our other races if you're not sure!

CREWs , pacers, AND drop bags

Crews and pacers will be allowed for 50 mile racers only.  50K and 10 Mile runners will not be permitted to have crew or pacer.  50 milers may have crew access at the Elk Lick aid station at mile 17(ish) and 33(ish)  and at Big Perry Road/FS977 at mile 40(ish).  Pacers may join their runners at these points.  Also check out the official Big Turtle Event Guide below which contains all the information on this page as well as additional details for crews and pacers.

50 Mile runners can also have a drop bag.  Drop bags will be available at the crew locations at the Elk Lick and Big Perry/977A aid stations.  That means you may have TWO drop bags.  Drop bags must be dropped off in the morning on Saturday prior to the start of the race.  Please clearly label your drop bags with your bib number.  Elk Lick drop bags will be returned to the finish line by 6pm.  Big Perry drop bags will be returned to the finish line by 9pm. 

NOTE:  The Event Guide is your one resource for all relevant information.  You can bookmark that document, print it, or download it.  Just know that if you print it or download the Event Guide it may be updated after you do so.


The Big Turtle 50 Miler is a simple out and back route along the iconic Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.  All runners start in downtown Morehead on the campus of Morehead State University.  50 Milers will run The Trace all the way from downtown Morehead to the trails northern terminus in northern Rowan County.  50k runners will turn around at the Dry Branch Aid Station (mile 15.6) and 10 Milers will turn around at the first aid station at FS977L (mile 5).

The race will start and finish on the lawn of the Laughlin Health Building on the campus of Morehead State University.  Runners will run approximately a half mile through the Morehead State University campus before reaching the trail head at Eagle Lake.  Then you are on the Trace. 

The 50 mile course has approximately 8,000 feet of elevation gain and equal descent.  The 50K course will give you approximately 3,800 feet of elevation gain and equal descent.  10 Milers will see approximately 1,600 feet of elevation gain and descent.  Click the buttons below for maps, turn by turn directions, and downloadable GPS files.

*All distances and elevations are based on GPS data and are approximate.



The Big Turtle 50 Miler trail races take place along Kentucky's long trail:  the Sheltowee Trace.  The races will start and finish on the lawn of the Laughlin Health Building on the campus of Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky.  Parking for racers will be available at the University overflow parking lot at East Wilkinson Blvd. and University Blvd.  Runners make a short walk to the Laughlin Building for the start of the race.

For directions to the parking lot use the following address and/or GPS coordinates:

Overflow Parking, University Blvd., Morehead, KY 40351

GPS Coordinates:  38.186480, -83.429045

The start and finish line is at Morehead State University's Laughlin Health Building University Blvd., Morehead, KY 40351. (see Parking map above)



Nobody likes rules; but in order to maintain the integrity of the race, keep everyone safe, and keep it fair we need to law down some rules.  Violation of any of these rules could result in disqualification.

  1. Respect the land!  This race is run on both private land and public land across the Daniel Boone National Forest.  We proudly support the US Forest Service and the private landowners who allow the Trace to flourish.  As such any misuse of this great land will not be tolerated.  Next Opportunity strives for sustainability in all of our races, and we hold our runners to the same standard.  DO NOT litter, pick wildflowers, or otherwise deface the property in any way.  Failure to follow this rule will get you disqualified from the race and asked to leave the premises.  
  2. Stay on course and on trail.  Going off trail creates a negative ecological impact.  So if there is an obstacle in your path go through it, over it, or under it.  If there is mud, get muddy.  If there is water, get wet.  If there is a tree down, find a way over it.  This isn’t just about the environment.  It’s about challenging yourself.  Again, so of this course crosses private land and deviation from the marked trail of the race course will be considered trespassing.
  3. Be respectful and courteous of each other.  If you need to pass another runner you must announce your intent to do so.  If you are being passed, step aside and let the other runner by when you feel safe enough to do so.  Offer some words of encouragement to each other while you're at it!
  4. Be respectful to and obey all race volunteers.  Thank the volunteers and obey the orders of the course marshals and emergency personnel.  They want you to have a great time, but above all they want you to be safe.  The Race Directors reserve the right to disqualify any runner that is disrespectful to any of our volunteers.
  5. Take nothing.  Leave nothing.  Leave no trace of your presence by taking any trash out with you.  Do not pick or otherwise deface any plant life.  This trail is extremely well-maintained, and we want to keep it that way. 
  6. Use extreme caution and run on the LEFT side of the road when running through the city of Morehead.  That is all.
  7. Leave no injured runner behind.  Help your fellow competitors.  If you come upon an injured runner, help them if you can or run to the nearest race official.  Tell the race official the injured runner’s location, bib number, and nature of the injury.
  8. Know what you're getting into.  While this is a great introductory race, trail running is never to be taken lightly.  Train and prepare properly.  Make sure you get some experience running trails before you attempt to tackle any of the Big Turtle distances.  This race is challenging but very achievable if you are properly prepared.  
  9. Crews are allowed at the Elk Lick and Big Perry/977A Aid Stations ONLY.  50 mile runners may have crew.  There are two crew points:  Elk Lick Road and FS977/Big Perry Road.  Reference the Event Guide above for specific directions.  Any runner who receives aid from a crew at any other point in the race will be disqualified.  Any crew teams attempting to access any other aid station locations will have their runner disqualified.  This is due to the remoteness of our aid stations.  
  10. All runners must check in and out of every aid station.  This is to ensure that everyone is accounted for and that everyone runs the full distance of each race.  If you do not check in/out at of any aid station you will be subject to disqualification.  There will be a volunteer at each aid station responsible for checking each runner in and out.  It is the runner's responsibility to make sure he or she gets checked in and out of every aid station.  When you arrive at an aid station, announce your bib number and make sure that you get checked in.  The same goes for when you leave the aid station.
  11. Runners must run the full distance in order to receive an official finishing time.  Turning back before you reach the turnaround of your race distance will be cause for disqualification.  No questions.  No exceptions.
  12. No pets are allowed at the race.  This includes dogs on or off leash.  Per regulations related to our USATF event sanction and Next Opportunity insurance policies pets are prohibited on the race course and at the race site for the duration of that event.  That includes Friday night.  We love our doggies, but they'll have to miss out on the Hot Hot Hundred.


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You've got questions.  We've got FAQs.  Click the button below to view them all.


Volunteers make Next Opportunity races successful.  Period.  Without volunteers our events will fail!  All Volunteers receive a FREE SHIRT and 25% off registration fees for any future Next Opportunity Events race.  Course sweepers receive even BIGGER discounts.  Click the button below to see the volunteer opportunities and express your interest in volunteering.

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There are TONS of lodging options in Morehead, Kentucky.  We are currently working with local lodging providers to get you deals, so please check back here soon for more info on that.  Until then, check out this web site for complete info on the lodging that is available in town: 

Thanks to our sponsors at Morehead Tourism for making the Big Turtle a success!