Mayapple Trail Runs return; are you ready?

MILLBURN, NJ — Runners are invited to register for the eighth Mayapple Trail Runs to be held on Saturday, May 20, in South Mountain Reservation. Organized by the volunteers of the South Mountain Conservancy, with the support of the Essex County Parks Department, the races provide an informal but supportive trail race environment for runners who are up to the challenge of completing 10- or 20-mile distances, or ultra-marathons of 50 or 100 kilometers — 31 and 62 miles.

“The Mayapple Trail Runs are competitive events that raise awareness about the beautiful trails and recreation opportunities in Essex County South Mountain Reservation,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said in a press release. “We encourage competitors to come out and enjoy the natural setting and invite the public to enjoy a day in our parks. It truly is a unique way to experience our outdoors.”

All races start at the Locust Grove picnic area in Millburn, 197 Glen Ave. The course consists of a 10.5-mile east loop and 10.2-mile west loop through the forested 2,110-acre South Mountain Reservation. Following along the valley floor and the two ridges, the course includes long stretches of double-wide gravel roads, technically challenging, meandering single-track hiking trails with roots and rocks, and a short, half-mile stretch of pavement. It is a good combination of level paths, rolling hills, moderate climbs and a few very steep ascents. The east and west loops total approximately 1,500 feet of ascent.

The 50K and 100K runners start at 6 a.m. with the east loop, and continue alternating loops. Ten- and 20-milers start this year at 9 a.m. — an hour later than prior years — on the west loop. The 10-milers only run the one loop; the 20-milers continue on the east loop which has some more rocky, technical trails.

The parking space available at Locust Grove is limited. It is strongly recommended that cars be parked across Glen Avenue at the lots between the First Aid Station and the Millburn Library. Cars irregularly parked at Locust Grove will be ticketed.

A full description of the course and a link to the registration website is available at https://sites.google.com/site/southmtn100k/.

As a final reminder, to manage the number of participants and administration, there are no race-day registrations. Registration ends Friday, May 19, at 5 p.m.

You can also earn free registration to the Mayapple Trail Runs by volunteering at a trail maintenance or forest regeneration event organized by the South Mountain Conservancy.

For more information, visit the website, or contact Dennis Percher, race director and conservancy chairman, at southmtn100k@gmail.com.

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