Breaks Interstate Park is one of only two such interstate parks in the United States. Located on the Kentucky-Virginia border, "The Grand Canyon Of The South" received its name by the "break" caused in the rugged Pine Mountain by millions of years of erosion by the nearby Russel Fork River. It is the largest canyon east of the Mississippi River and reaches craggy depths of over 1,600'. Daniel Boone is often credited for being the first person of European descent to discover the 5-mile long gorge in 1767.
The Breaks Ultra trail race is an extreme challenge for any runner. Starting and finishing within Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia, the race takes runners back and forth across the Kentucky-Virginia border and up and over the ruggedly tough Pine Mountain numerous times. Your breath will be taken away by the beauty of the scenery and the extreme challenge of the terrain at the same time. This 45(ish) mile race will challenge even the best trail runners out there.
Distance: 45(ish) miles
Elevation Gain*: 12,000’
Start Time: 6:00am on Saturday, September 12, 2020
Cut Off: 10:00pm on Saturday, September 12, 2020
*This number is an average. Elevation data varies based on your tracking device. Previous Breaks runners have clocked as little as 11,200’ and as much as 14,500’ of vertical gain.
Pre Race meeting and dinner
Our pre race meeting and dinner will take place at Conference Center at Breaks Interstate Park on Friday night before the race. We will have packet pickup, a meal, and a pre-race meeting (packet pickup will be available on race day as well).
The pre-race meal on Friday night is $10 per person and must be paid at the Conference Center restaurant once you are on site. Pre-race meal tickets will NOT be sold in advance.
Friday, September 11th
4:30pm-7:00pm (meal begins at 5pm. Pre-Race meeting at 6:00)
Breaks Interstate Park
Race Day Packet Pickup and Check In
Saturday, September 12
Shelter 1 across from the Breaks Interstate Park Conference Center.
Please park in the lots next to the amphitheater, Shelter 1, and the upper lot of the lodges. The lower lots are for hotel guests only.
ALL RUNNERS MUST CHECK IN ON SATURDAY MORNING REGARDLESS OF WHEN YOU PICKED UP YOUR PACKET.
All runners must be 18 years of age or older to participate. No exceptions.
There is no official qualifier requirement for the Breaks Ultra; however, we ask that you understand one thing. THIS IS NOT A RACE FOR FIRST TIMERS. The terrain is treacherous, and the elevation is extreme for a race of this distance. If you have not completed an ultramarathon in the past, this is not the race to start. The Breaks Ultra requires experienced trail runners due to the variations in terrain, complexity of navigating the course, and elevation levels. It is HIGHLY recommended that you run at least one 50K race prior to running the Breaks.
All runners must carry the following mandatory gear for the duration of the race. This is non-negotiable.
Capacity to carry minimum 20oz of water (bottles or bladder)
Your mandatory hydration will be checked at the start line. Failure to have this at the start of the race or at any aid station will result in disqualification. This is a safety issue due to the extreme conditions of the race course. This is non-negotiable.
Breaks is CUPLESS. There will be NO CUPS ON THE RACE COURSE AT ANY OF THE AID STATIONS. There will be water, Sword, and Coke at each aid station; but the aid stations will not have cups. Collapsible cups are available for purchase for $5 during registration or on Friday night at packet pickup.
Beginning at 5:00pm aid station volunteers will begin checking runners for headlamps at the mile 31(ish) Carson Island aid station.
Runners not OUT of the Carson Island aid station by 5pm must show their headlamp to the aid station volunteers.
Runners who do not have a headlamp at that point will not be allowed to continue.
OUR ADVICE: Just pack a headlamp regardless of when you think you'll finish!!!!
For questions regarding mandatory gear please EMAIL US.
Awards and SWAG
All participants receive a race shirt.
All finishers receive a customized Finisher Award made by your Race Directors!
Top 3 men and women receive a hand made axe.
Overall male and female champions of the Breaks Ultra receive FREE ENTRY into the following year's race to defend your crown!
FINISH LINE PARTY
Stick around and hang with us at the shelter after you finish. We’ll be grilling food, tossing back some local brews, and high fiving runners as they finish. A random game of horseshoes or frisbee may just erupt without notice as well!
CREWs , pacers, AND drop bags
Crews and pacers will be allowed for all competitors. Crews may access their runner at the Carson Island aid station ONLY. This is mile 32(ish).
All runners may also have a drop bag at two locations. Drop bags will be available at the following aid stations:
Birch Knob Aid Station - Mile 18
Carson Island Aid Station - Mile 32.4
Pacers may join their runner at Elkhorn City at mile 32.4 and not before.
NOTE: Please reference the following Event Guide for full event details. This document will be updated as new information is made available.
BRING THE FAMILY!
Our start and finish line is at the Shelter 1 picnic and playground area across from the Conference Center. There is a nice playground, charcoal grills, and plenty of sightseeing to be had while you are at the Breaks. Breaks Interstate Park also boasts several lodges, cabins, and even a water park! Bring your friends and family down to the Breaks to enjoy a fantastic weekend in the mountains.