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Baker Trail Ultrachallenge

August 2013

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Jennifer   (Event photos) (Past events)


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Members attending:

Address Vandergrift, PA
The ninth annual Baker Trail UltraChallenge will take place on Saturday August 24, 2013. Elite Runners & WalkersThe UltraChallenge is a 50-mile ultramarathon on the Baker Trail. Unlike the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, this is a footrace; the "challenge" is for you or your relay team to win, or at least finish in 14 hours or less! This year, the UltraChallenge starts near Godfrey, PA at 6:30 AM. Runners will follow the Baker Trail north for 50 miles to Smicksburg and end at a private farm. The deadline for finishing is 8:30 PM.

Registration is open for the Baker Trail Ultrachallenge. 50.1 miles, it can be run solo or with a team of up to 5 members. http://my.rachelcarsontrails.org/events

You must register on that page to participate.

2012 Baker Trail UltraChallenge

Solo 50.1 miles

Relay 50.1 miles

Participant Information
by Steve Mentzer — last modified Mar 22, 2013 01:55 PM

Baker Trail UltraChallenge 2013

The UltraChallenge will take place rain or shine. All participants must check in at the farm between 4 AM and 5:00 AM on Saturday, August 24 where you will receive your race packet and ID tag. You may also check in on Friday evening between 6 PM and 8 PM. Please pin the tag on your right side at waist level so it can be scanned at each Checkpoint. You are responsible for ensuring your tag is properly scanned!

The shuttle bus will depart from the farm at 5:10 AM to take the individual participants and first leg relay team members to the starting point. There, all starting runner tags will be scanned just prior to a group start.
Aid Stations and Checkpoints

There are 11 aid stations along the course providing water, sport drinks, gels, sandwiches, and bagels. Candy such as M&Ms and other snacks will be available at some stations. Four of these stations are also relay transfer spots and checkpoints where your tag will be scanned and your time recorded. Except for the start, relay teams are responsible for their own transportation to and from each transfer spot. Each Checkpoint has a designated cutoff time; participants must depart the checkpoint by the appointed time or they will be pulled out.

[Aid Station location and operating times will be posted soon]

All participants will finish back at the farm where food will be provided. Showers are also available for cleanup.

The awards will be issued to runners as their finishing position becomes official.
Course Map

A map of the course is here (820KB JPEG). Copies of this map will be available at check-in.
Drop Bags

You may leave bags or gear at the farm in the morning for pickup and use when you arrive there upon finishing. Also, you may have a bag delivered to any Checkpoint (AS 2, AS 4, AS 6, AS 9), and you may drop off gear, clothing, etc. at any aid station (plastic bags will be available). Everything will be brought back to the farm when the aid station closes. Be sure to label everything with your name and ID number.

Please adhere to these rules or risk disqualification:

Runners must check-in prior to the race, at each of the checkpoints, and the finish line.
Runners must depart the checkpoint by the designated cutoff time. However, runners will be permitted to miss one of the first three cutoff times, provided it is by less than 30 minutes. Exceptions to this rule may be granted during the race and are solely at the discretion of the Race Director.
Runners are not permitted to obtain any outside assistance. If a runner leaves the course for any reason (including getting lost), they must return to the course by their own power at the point they left it.
Pacers are not permitted for relay runners.
Pacers are permitted for individual runners beginning at AS7 Dutch Run Road (mile 33.1). Pacers may not carry food, drink, or gear for the runner or provide any other assistance. Pacers are permitted to consume aid station food and drink. Runners are permitted one pacer at a time, and pacers must be at least 18.
Support crews may meet their runner anywhere along the course, but must not impede traffic. Crews must not park or operate (a) on private property without permission from the property owner, nor (b) in an unsafe manner or location. Runners are responsible for the conduct of their support crew.


There is no shuttle service to the Checkpoints! Relay teams must provide their own transportation. If you drop out at an aid station and cannot arrange your own ride, the volunteers will do their best to assist you in securing transportation. However, you will almost certainly be required to wait, perhaps for several hours, for someone to take you. If you drop out between aid stations, you will need to find transportation yourself.
ID Tags

If you drop out and don't make it to the finish, please give your ID tag to a Marshal. If you do not return your tag you will be charged a $5 replacement fee.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink lots of liquid in small amounts at a steady, frequent rate. You should be carrying at least two quarts.

Water and snacks will be available at each aid station, every 3-8 miles.
Wear a hat and use a high-SPF sunblock. You'll be outside all day.
Watch the weather forecast closely to know what gear to bring; the UltraChallenge will happen rain or shine.
Stay on the trail. Shortcuts may not be fair to other participants and can upset landowners.
Backtrack to find the last trail blaze and reassess your direction if you haven't seen a blaze in a hundred yards or so, as you may have missed a turn.
Resist forging ahead or spending time trying to "hook up" with the trail if you lose it; this rarely works to your benefit.
Respect private property! Much of the Baker Trail crosses privately owned land and the owners graciously allow us there; do not impose upon any landowner you may encounter.
Clean up any trash you bring and any you encounter along the way. There are trash receptacles at each checkpoint.
Stop if you feel sick!
Check in at each checkpoint. This is how we keep track of you! You must have a time recorded at the start and every checkpoint or your finish time will be disqualified.

The Baker Trail is a 132-mile (212 kilometer) hiking and backpacking trail, following forest paths, old jeep trails and dirt roads through woods, farmlands, along rivers and creeks. The Baker Trail is one of the 18 state-designated hiking trails and is included on the trails map of Pennsylvania.

Trail Ethics

At all times while hiking the Baker Trail, please:

Be courteous to people living along the trail.
Remember, you are generally on private property.
Respect the land and its owners. If asked to leave, do so.
Stay on the trail.
Do not camp or build fires along the trail except at designated shelters.
Refrain from bringing dogs and bicycles on the trail.
Keep off the trail with motorized vehicles.
Carry out your own trash; help by picking up others’ litter.
Recognize your limitations and your assumed risk. The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy and the landowners want you to enjoy your hike; neither will take the responsibility for personal injury or losses while using the trail.

Use & Trail Guide

Currently, there are nine campsites with openfront "Adirondack" shelters located on side trails. There are no signs pointing to the shelters, so they must be located by consulting the Baker Trail Guide. The Guide includes a detailed description and maps of the trail. For ordering information, see the Merchandise page of this web site.

The Guide includes a section-by-section trail description, locations of shelter sites, a set of topographic maps, information on the use and history of the trail, hiking tips, information about campgrounds, cabins, food stores and park facilities within walking distance of the trail.

Besides the shelters, there are primitive campsites along the trail where tents can be used. All hikers should be equipped for the season. Carry with you food, water purification and the gear you will need. There are a few stores convenient to the trail (see the Guide for locations).

Try to leave a supply of wood in the shelter for the next hiker. Do not cut trees. Before leaving the shelter, put out your campfire and leave the site clean. Pack out cans, foil and all other unburnable items. As with most trailside shelters in the U.S., burying trash is no longer acceptable.
Trail Condition

Presently the trail needs work in some areas. Volunteer work crews address problem areas in the spring. If you encounter any difficulties with trail conditions, blazing, or landowners, please email the trail manager at bt@rachelcarsontrails.org.

The Baker Trail was established in 1950 and named for the late Pittsburgh attorney Horace Forbes Baker, who was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Pittsburgh Council of the American Youth Hostels after World War II. The trail originally extended from Aspinwall to Cook Forest State Park (133 miles). However, extensive development along the Allegheny River caused the Aspinwall-Freeport section to be abandoned. In 1971, the trail was extended northward from Cook Forest Fire Tower to near the Allegheny National Forest, making the trail 132 miles long.