Free State Trail Run
26.2-mile Trail Marathon
Saturday, April 19, 2014
|Photo by Tyson Hofsommer.
|100K Female winner, Olga Varlamova-King
Online Registration is now open! Click Here.
Location: Clinton Lake State Park, in Lawrence, Kansas
40-miler & 100Km start: 7:00 AM, Marathon start & 1/2 start: 8:00 AM
Loop course on rocky & hilly single-track trails.
Amenities: Food, gels, water and sports drink at the manned aid stations. Post
race meal, regular and vegan. Post-race showers will be available right next to the race finish area, this year. Nicely-designed,
technical event shirts, a logo'd mug, & unique finisher's "hardware." The
marathon, half, and 40-mile finishers get custom medals, and the 100-Km finishers get a custom-made pewter belt buckle. Camping and showers are available within the State Park.
Prizes for age group winners.
"A major shout-out is due to
the Kansas City Trail Nerds. They have done such a phenomenal job in organizing KC metro area trail races, and yesterday was
no exception. Their volunteers are always gracious, the courses at races are well-marked, aid stations are stocked to the
gills, and they just have their overall act together. Some race organizers should follow their lead and take logistics lessons
from the KC Trail Nerds."
- NYC Native (More Here)
"Your races are some of the best around in my eyes. You choose great trails
to have the races on and the staff and volunteers that man the aid stations are always great and extremely helpful. I think
you have some of the best aid station workers of any trail race I've participated in. The overall organization and feel
of the race is superb."
- Jeremy Duncan, Trail Runner Magazine
Course: A loop course on rocky single-track trails. "But it's
Kansas, how tough could it be?" The marathon is one very-large 26.2-mile loop. The 40-mile course
consists of two 20+ mile loops. The 100-Km course is three 20+ mile loops.
The course is held on single-track trails,
(and some cross-country for the marathon). Map of Courses.
Location: In beautiful Clinton State
Park, in Lawrence, Kansas.
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Start times: 7:00 a.m. for the 100K &
40-Miler. 8:00 a.m. for the Marathon and Half-Marathon. Chip timing will be used for all event distances.
2014 Online Registration
is now open. Click Here.
Shirts: Well-designed technical t-shirts for all participants that enter prior to April 1, 2014. No guarantee of
a shirt or proper size for later registrants.
All Entrants in all distances will also receive another race logo swag item!
Finishers' Medals: Finishers of the 100K will receive a pewter belt buckle. 40-Miler, Marathon and ½-Marathon finishers will receive a large, heavy, finisher's medal! All finishers will also receive a special (distance-specific) oval car stickers!
Food: We will have hot food and cold drinks for all participants after
your race; regular and vegan. Showers are available, within 200 feet of the race start/finish.
in to Kansas City International airport, (MCI). The race Start/Finish is just a one hour drive from the airport. Map and directions.
Lodging and Restaurants: There are many lodging and dining opportunities within 5 miles from the race. Camping is available, within 1/2-mile of the race location.
Packet Pickup: Packet Pickup will be at the Union
Pacific Depot Building, located at 402 North 2nd Street, (Just north of downtown, across the bridge), Lawrence, Kansas from
Noon to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2013. There will also be late packet pickup on race day at the start/finish area, one
hour prior to your race.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): Click Here
Race Reports, Photos, and Results for previous years.
2014 Race Entry Fees:
April 18, 2014
At Packet Pick-up
on April 18, 2014
On Race Day
to 60 entrants; it will fill-up)
|Join this Race's FB Page:
|Photo by Tyson Hofsommer.
|Photo by Tyson Hofsommer.
|Ben Hian...photo by Gene Wee
2013 Free State Trailrunners, Some wrap-up information…
If you have a race report, I’d like to post it or post
a link of your blog post. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put it up onto the race webpage.
Here are some race photos available for free to
you, (but paid for with race proceeds):
Tyson Hofsommer’s on-the-course
Dick Ross (SeeKCRun.com)
start/finish line, special interest, and family photos, HERE.
Results can be found HERE. Again, if there was an issue with your results, please
contact Raul at email@example.com .
Special thanks to our sponsors: the Michelob Ultra
Team (for providing beer), Hammer Nutrition (aid station nutritional supplies), and the Moosejaw Crew (for their wonderful
2013 Race Reports:
Danny Loental (100K)
Olga Varlamova-King (100K Female Winner)
Ed Husar (Trail Marathon)
Video by Adele Jordan:
What dreams (read nightmares) are made of…the "Red Trail" section of the
Free State Trail Run.
|Photo by Ed Husar
See all of our events HERE.
It's a Family Affair:
|A Dick Ross Photo, SeeKCRun.com
|Ben Holmes with Jason Dunn and his Trailrunning kids!
Ben Smoker (40-Mile)
Short Video Clip of Red Trail (Ron Ruhs)
Thank you very much for putting on such a terrific race. I was very impressed with
the organization and hard work you put into all of the events. A big thank you also to all of the volunteers.
got back to San Diego and looked at the race online, I was pleasantly surprised to find the link to the photographer's
website who was offering free downloads of the pictures so I could share the wonderful experience with my friends and family.
It was a terrific race with top notch, A+ race directing.
Thanks again for everything. No poison oak, never lost.
See you next year,
- Ben Hian (100K winner & record-setter)
Thank you for organizing the race.
Although it was my first trail marathon, I think I have fallen in love with trail racing. It is much more challenging than
road racing. I look forward to participating in the future. Thanks again!!!
- Brian D. Smith
Thank you so
much Ben. Volunteers were great as always but that's a trail nerd event for you. ;)
- Ammanda Warren
for having a quality event! See you in July!
- Andy Emerson
Thanks for hosting this wonderful event. Psycho Wyco and Free State are the two best races I've
done. I am now thinking about the Psycho Psummer (event).
- Xiao Geng
Thanks, as always, for running a great event. I've done every Nerd Event
so far this year, and plan to keep that streak alive.
- Alex Beecher
My first Trail Nerd race and it was an absolute blast, thanks to everyone and
that chili was incredible. Maybe next year I'll break 13hrs.
- Kevin Brown
Thanks Ben and crew.
- Gregg Mrkvicka
always...awesome job by Bad Ben and all the volunteers. Mucho thanks to all. Cheers.
- Jeff Bird
Ben, thank you so much for putting on this event. I did
the marathon and had a blast. It was my first official trail race and I plan to be back next year. I appreciate all you and
the volunteers did to help us through the course. - Peter Benson
Hi Ben. I ran the Free State Trails 40 miler this past Saturday. Not only was
this my first 40 miler but it was also my first time to Kansas. I wanted to tell you how awesome I thought the race was. Not
only was the race very well organized, but it was very well marked so there was no question that I was going the correct way.
The volunteers were beyond awesome! They made sure I had what I needed to make through. You have gorgeous trails there, that
I wish I had more time to explore and enjoy via my running sneakers and my mt bike. The FREE pictures were also a very pleasant
surprise. The fact that we had a gorgeous day just made the experience all the better. I may have to come back next year and
earn myself a 100k belt buckle. :-)
Thanks again. -Corinna Stitt
Awesome event! You rock. I'll be back next year!!!
- J. Gibson
race. Thanks for putting it on.
- Chris Nicely
Thanks for a great
event. Trail Nerd event bring out the best people because it is put on & worked by the best people. You rock like no other.
- Brian Warren
Thank you for everythng yesterday... was awesome making Free State my first
Marathon 2 years ago... and my very first buckle this year!!!
- Erin Miller
Utterly fantastic job you did
on this one – completely outdid yourself. I think we should probably also thank God for fantastic weather leading
up to the event and on the day, making a great event even better.
- Ben Smoker
I ran the Free State Trail Marathon this past weekend. Just
wanted to say "thank you" to you and all your volunteers for putting on such a great event. This was my 32nd marathon
overall, but my first on the trail. What a fabulous experience! The terrain was rough and unforgiving just as I had expected
and strangely hoped it would be. I had a great time (as in race experience, not finish time)!! Well worth the road-trip from
MN. Good luck to you and all the trail nerds with your future events.
- Michael Iserman, CSCS, ACSM-HFS, ACE-AHFS
President - Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA)
I'm guessing nobody else
has mentioned this AT ALL, in any way, shape, or form, and I'll be the ONLY one to do so (yes, sarcasm), but.... fanfuckingtastic
race as usual. There aren't any races out there that can hold a candle to the heart and soul of a Trail Nerd race. My
favorite quote from yesterday's pre-race instructions... "If you get lost...you're an idiot and deserve to be
brought down by natural selection." Or something along those lines. Thanks again for a wonderful event. I want a belt
buckle next year. - Danny Loental
Half-Marathon2011 Race Reports:
A major shout-out is due to the Kansas City Trail Nerds. They have done such a
phenomenal job in organizing KC metro area trail races, and yesterday was no exception. Their volunteers are always gracious,
the courses at races are well-marked, aid stations are stocked to the gills, and they just have their overall act together.
Some race organizers should follow their lead and take logistics lessons from the KC Trail Nerds.
- NYC Native More HereMarathon by Halky
100K By Darin (Race Winner)
100K By Jay40-Miler by David (three-time Race Winner)
Marathon By IndiHalf-Marathon by Chris
|Photo by Dick Ross
Map to Start / Finish area below:
View Larger Map
Your safety is our primary concern. In the event of severe weather (lightning, flooding, winds above 25 MPH, or tornado), we will shut the
race down. This happened at about 6:30 p.m. for the 2009 race. In the event of a tornado siren sounding, please find your way to a cinder-block picnic/campground shelter
and wait for the sirens and danger to subside. Or, if severe winds suddenly hit your location, lay down in a ditch or low spot (that hasn’t yet filled with
water), and put your hands over your head. After the danger has passed, make
your way to a paved road crossing or to a staffed aid station, so that we can get you back to your car or civilization, (such
as it is in Kansas).
There will be plenty of aid along the course, but
we must insist (for your safety) that you carry a water bottle or hydration system with you. You will
be disqualified for not carrying such.
There will be no cups at the unstaffed aid stations
so you will need to have something (other than your hands or mouth) to put the water into.
Speed Limits and ParkingObey all speed limits, signage, and parking regulations
while driving in the park. When arriving, stop at the front gate and pay the park entrance fee.
Watch for wild animals crossing the roads. Race Day Start Times40-miler & 100Km start: 7:00 AM, Marathon & Half-Marathon start: 8:00 AMShow up on race day about 1-hour
prior to your race’s start time. Please check-in at the registration table. Race BibsPlease pin your bib number to the FRONT of you somewhere, so that it is VISIBLE. This race is not
chip-timed, so we will need to see your bib number, to have an accounting of you in the results. No Littering!Littering on the course will not be tolerated and will result in removal from the race and
the results. Flashlights or headlamps WILL BE REQUIRED to navigate the
trails after dark. Each runner/pacer should plan accordingly. Backup batteries or flashlights are important. Special Weather-related Safety InformationYour safety is our primary concern. In the event of severe weather (lightning,
flooding, winds above 25 MPH, or tornado), we will shut the race down. In the event of a tornado
siren sounding, please find your way to a cinder-block picnic/campground shelter and wait for the sirens and danger to subside.
Or, if severe winds suddenly hit your location, lay down in a ditch or low spot (that hasn’t yet filled
with water), and put your hands over your head. After the danger has passed, make your way to a paved road
crossing or to a staffed aid station, so that we can get you back to your car or civilization. Injury ReportingIf you sustain any type of injury while on the course, you must report it to the next aid station. We will have trained EMT’s
on staff to assess and/or treat minor injuries. If you sustain an injury that is deemed by the EMT staff
to need further medical attention, you will not be allowed to continue in the race, and will be driven to an area hospital
by our staff or by ambulance.
100K Cut-off Times:
will be a 5:15 p.m. cut-off for 100K runners leaving the Main Aid Station for their final 21-mile loop.
The 5:15 cut-off
may seem severe, but that's a 14:38 minute/mile pace, to make that cut-off. History tells us that some folks will
need every bit of the next 6-hours, 45-minutes to finish the last loop. To attain the goal of making the initial cut-off,
I tell people to not dilly-dally in the aid stations...that's where you will lose a LOT OF TIME.
If you make
the 5:15 cut-off, you could literally HIKE the last loop at a 19:17 minute/mile pace! (This may not be as easy as it
seems on trashed feet and AFTER DARK, though).
There are additional cut-offs (for your last loop) at Land's End (the
middle aid station): 9:00 p.m.;
and a 10:30 p.m. cut-off at the Army Corp of Engineers (far end aid station).
There will be a 3:15 p.m. cut-off for 40-Mile runners leaving the Main Aid Station, for their 2nd (and
last) 21-mile loop.
On that last loop, you had better reach the Army Corp of Engineer's Aid Station by 8:30 pm.
This would be an average pace of 2.35 MPH, or a pace of 25-minutes, 30 seconds per mile, up to that point.
To all runners:
Make sure that you have adequate lighting for the trail, after dark! If you don't have lighting,
you will be pulled from the race.
Cut-off Times are in the interest of your safety, and will be strictly enforced!
another Distance or dropping-out of the race: You can change your distance before the race until April 12th, by emailing Bad Ben. And during
the race, if
you've bit-off more than you can chew, you can always drop, but you will need to notify the results team, so we aren't searching for you. If you're running the 100K and drop down a
loop (to 40 miles), you will get a 40-mile finisher's medal, but you will not be counted in your new distance's
results; you will be in a separate "dropped to 40-Mile category."
No Cups at Unstaffed Aid Stations!
A Hydration Device is Required Equipment:There will be plenty of aid along the course, but we must insist (for your own safety) that you carry
a water bottle or hydration system with you. You will be disqualified for not carrying such. There will be no cups at the unstaffed aid stations, and at the staffed aid stations, cups will be used
mainly for sports drinks, coke, hot soup or hot drinks, so you will need to have something (other than your hands or
mouth) to put the water into. Sustainabilty issues are a part of
our mission statement. We are dedicated to reducing waste and recycling as much as is currently possible.
There will be 4 staffed aid stations along the course.
There will also be at least many un-staffed (water-only) aid stations. You will travel no more than 3-1/2 miles
between aid stations. But keep in mind, that distance on the trail can take much longer than on pavement.
Here's a list of 2013 aid stations for all 4 races: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8KHhzea40OTVGxNWkh6bF9OWms/edit?usp=sharing
The aid station volunteers are very experienced ultra-runners, and are there to help you. If
you are having a problem of some kind, just ask an aid station volunteer for a potential solution. They may be able
to help you. Make sure you are checked in at each aid station (have your number visible on your front side), for they will
record your number and time into the station. Limited first aid will be available at the stations as well as bug repellent,
Vaseline, and sunscreen.
The staffed stations will have the following food and drink:
Coke, Ginger Ale
Prigles Potato Chips, Cookies, Chips
Fruit, such as bananas, watermelon, canteloupe
Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes and S-Caps.
Hammer Nutrition Gels
They may also have coffee, potato soup,
chicken noodle soup, sandwiches, candy, soup and other assorted food for runners and pacers. Remember: If you carry a cup
or bowl out of an aid station please carry it to the next station. Ice will be typically be available at the KUS and Main
(staffed) aid stations.
are only allowed for the 40-Mile and 100-K races. At the morning check-in you will be given the opportunity to leave 2 drop
bags, one for the start/finish area and one which will be transported to the Army Corp of Engineer’s (KUS) aid station
out on the course. Write your name, and bib number onto each bag. These two locations will give you access to your bags at
ten mile intervals, which should be about perfect. You should have a flashlight or headlamp stashed in both locations, for
your personal safety when dusk falls. You will have to pick-up your drop bag from the Army Corp of Engineer’s
(KUS) aid station yourself, after the race, on your way out of the park. Please keep these bags down to a reasonable size, and secure or pad any "breakable" items. No ice chests larger
than 6-pack size. Absolutely no styrofoam coolers. Rule of thumb: A large drop bag should be no larger than a large shoe box,
and weigh no more than 6 lbs. Any bags left at the race will be discarded, or the items contained within will be given
The course is marked with yellow signs that will tell you "right turn," "left turn,"
"straight ahead," and "wrong way." We will mark the course with ground flags and or ribbons at important
intersections or turns. Care must be taken when crossing roadways!
Pacers are allowed on the course for the last 20 miles of the 40-Mile race, and the
last 40 miles of the 100-kilometer race. Pacers are not allowed to be a "pack mule" for their runner, and should
be fairly self-sufficient. Pacers need not pay, but must sign the waiver and be issued a numbered pacer race bib. Pacers can
enjoy all of the food/hydration/service of the aid stations, but must not be an "overbearing burden" upon the race
organization (or their assigned runner). We reserve the right to pull any pacer who we deem as "burdensome" either
to us or to their runner.
Dogs as Pacers: We are a dog-friendly bunch, within reason. You
can run with your (well-mannered) dog, but it must be on a leash, and you must not let it get entangled with another runner.
Register your dog for any race (online, for $10). It will be issued a bib number that needs to be attached (with your
name and cell # written on it with a sharpie). Your dog will be included in the official results, and receive a finisher's
medal, if appropriate for that distance/race. We won't allow any cruelty to animals, so you must attest to your
dog's "trail conditioning." If it appears that your dog is heat-stressed or otherwise physically stressed
or injured, we will ask YOU AND YOUR DOG to pull out of the race and seek out immediate veterinary help. Please provide water
and food for your dog. You can refill your dog's water at the aid stations.
year's Free State Trail Run will have about 380 runners, in total. The 40-milers and 100K runners (which number
over 100), will start at 7:00 AM. The Marathon and Half will start at 8:00 AM. The Marathon has an extra-bit,
at the start of their race, and won't enter the trail system for about an hour. This makes for a strange mix of
fast & slow runners at different places on the trails, and at different times, so "trail passing etiquette"
needs to be followed; read the information below:
At the start of each race, there will be a "conga line" of runners as you enter the
single-track (narrow) trails. Be patient when you are part of this crowd of runners, as it will disperse soon enough.
Don't follow the runner in front of you too closely, since you won't have time to see obstacles and may trip.
To pass a runner on
a narrow, single-track trail: Let them know you are approaching. Yell out, “On your left.” If it is unsafe to
pass, be patient, a space will open-up, soon enough. If you are the slower runner, find a spot to step to the right to make
it easier for the faster runner to pass you.
Personal Music IS ALLOWED in this race, but the use of two earbuds
or headphones is NOT, for safety reasons. You are not the only runner in this race...tuning-out everybody around you
is just RUDE, for the reasons above (of passing on narrow trails). There are multiple distance events happening, and
there are some VERY FAST RUNNERS that will be approaching from behind you at certain points in the race. Please don't
inhibit both of your ears by using both earbuds or headphones, unless you want to be pulled from the race. (And I WILL
pull you from the race).
You know the drill. Be courteous, but assertive, consistent, and loud, when passing.
And leave your machetes and firearms at home...those are only allowed in my night runs. ;-)
With some courtesy and trail ettiquette, this will be
a very enjoyable event for everyone.
completion of the race, participants (and one guest or crew member) can enjoy post-race food near the start/finish area. This
year, we will have Sophia's homemade vegan lentil soup, Johnsonville brats and hot dogs. If you bring more
than one guest or crew member, they are welcome to enjoy post-race food for a $5 donation per person. The aid station
table food is for PARTICIPANTS, ONLY.
Important Phone Number:
Race Direction: Ben Holmes 816-810-0440
$$$ to the TrailsNote: A large portion of the 2013 race’s net proceeds will go to the Kansas Trails Council
exclusively for the Clinton North Shore Trails "Friends of the Trail" Fund. So the actual trail that you will be running on, will receive the funds from the race! Many
of the improvements to this trail system for the past 5 years, were paid for by this race.
Please ask for "discount codes" for active service members and coaches, for online entry.
|Photo by Rick Mayo
to salute the two of you as the race directors most invested in the participants of any event I've seen. Your personal attention at the packet pick up and breaking away to "talk trail shoes" with registrants,
to ALL of the photos of
presenting the medals to each runner, shaking their hands, photo ops, MEDALING THE DOGS (OMG!!!)--I cry about
not having my running companion their (7 year-old husky-shepard mix, but he's testy at times).
Anyway--you two made the race memories for me. But even more--the photo
you've posted on the site speaks VOLUMES!!!! It became my favorite running photo
of all time (and I've done 37 marathons, 5 minis, multiple shorts)--Ben holding the medal, Sophia looking on, and runner 241
stopping with outstretched arms to say "Wait, my real reward is running this way!" Now
THAT puts it in perspective.
bless your future together--it doesn't take long to see what a great thing you have going as a couple and as the organizers
of a wonderful athletic organization.
(Don't Run Faster Than Your Angel Can Fly!)
Baxter (and Salvador--my running partner)
|Photo by Ben Holmes
|Kansas Skies at 2010 Free State Trail Run
|Photo by Dick Ross
are on unpaved, 100% single-track trails, with rocks, exposed roots and beautiful woods; mostly shaded. Note: A large portion
of each year's race’s net proceeds will go to the Kansas Trails Council exclusively for the Clinton North
Shore Trails "Friends of the Trail" Fund. If you would like to donate more to the fund, please write a check for race day
to "Friends of the Trail Fund."
Yes, the Trail Nerds are a GeNerdous bunch!
The Trail Nerds give back more than labor to the trails. We also
give our $$$. So far in 2009, we have given $1500 to trail advocacy groups. One thousand dollars of funding
alone went back into the North Shore Trails in Lawrence (through an ear-marked donation to the Kansas Trails Council), up from $528 that we gave the year prior, and $383 that we gave in 2007.
Many of the improvements that you see out there were funded by the Trail Nerds Association. In addition, we have given
$500 to ERTA (so far in 2009), toward their trail maintenance and trail building concerns.
View the letters.
|MCI (KC International)
|MCI (KC International)
Nearest Airport: Kansas City International Airport is a short 1-hour drive away. Map and directions.
|Hotels & Accommodations
|Hotels & Accommodations
|Jason Crosby Illustration
|Jason Crosby Illustration
The Ultra-Distance events: Why
a 40-miler or a 100-Kilometer distance Ultra? Why not?
Many aspiring ultra-distance runners
would like to move up in distance from a 50K to a 50-miler, but want to run an "in-between distance" first. The same
goes for runners who have finished a 50-mile run, but would like to move up to the 100-mile distance. There just aren't
enough in-between distance ultras to run "out there," especially ultras that are on 100% technical single-track trails. It
would also be nice if these in-between ultras were positioned in the Spring, prior to some of the popular 50 and 100-mile
races. It would also be nice if these races were close to a major airport, thus eliminating the need for long drives
in rental cars for out-of-towners. Hence, the idea for the Free State Trail Ultras was hatched and implemented.
Kyle Amos, a talented local trail and ultrarunner veteran came up with the idea, and we discussed it
on a Thursday night trail run. One week later, we gathered our forces and put together the pieces to the race in earnest.
We already knew where and on what trails...the North Shore Trails of Clinton Lake, Kansas. We've had a plan on
the back-burner to do an ultra event there (for years), but we needed an event that was worthy of the North Shore Trails.
This is it!
It also helps that the race
is in Lawrence, Kansas. Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas, is the most cosmopolitan small town in this part
of the Midwest. It's just a short 50-minute drive from Kansas City International Airport (MCI). Some major U.S.
poets, authors, and artists have lived, retired, and died here in Lawrence. There are entertainment options galore. There are fine hotels, B & B's, restaurants, bakeries, and brewpubs. You can even camp near the race start/finish area, with showers available, after
the race. What more could a runner want? How about decent aid stations, with freshly-made food items, and staffed
by experienced ultrarunners? We've got it!
Map to Event from Lawrence
Lawrence, Kansas Links
Map to Race Start / Finish Area