This is a race for trail junkies and burning leg lovers. It’s for beginners who want to accomplish something tough and hardened athletes pushing their limits. It’s also only for a small amount of all of you as it is exclusive on a first come, first serve basis minus the men’s and women’s winner from the year before. We hope you come out and enjoy the beauty of Deer Creek Canyon.
—> Please note: walkers are welcome (many of the pro’s walk sections of this race) however the cut-off time is at the 2nd aid station around mile 7 at 11am sharp!
Detailed course description:
Fear The Deer Trail Half Marathon starts in the low end of the parking lot at Deer Creek Canyon for a reason. You have .10 of a mile to establish your position before veering left on the single track of Plymouth Trail. Once on the reddish dirt of the singletrack you have about one half mile to get your legs, base out your heartrate and mentally prepare for the next 1.5 or so miles up the canyon. On the way up you do get a couple 4-5% reprieves that feel like running downhill compared to most of the first two miles of the race. If you can just get into that uphill rhythm some great trail is coming up.
The second section of the race is where most will start to get their legs back minus the elites. At the top of Plymouth FTD turns right onto Homestead Trail. This is a favorite part of the course for many as it is set under the canopy of older growth forest. The trail is cool and shaded here and there aren’t many technical parts as the singletrack here is packed dirt. Most of the one mile section is slightly downhill, but you know what that means.
At the end of Homestead you will continute up 4 wheel drive path/trail that switches back a couple times before getting to the Red Mesa Loop. Go left at Red Mesa for some more climbing! Come on there is over 2800 feet to gain so you should be ready for it by now. For less than a mile you will climb up trail that is mostly shaded and serene. Once to the top you will run a great 2 mile section of singletrack that is possibly the quickest part of the race. You will pass two great big meadows of wildflowers, a pond, some great views and more! Coming up on Golden Eagle trail on the left you will take this out and back scenic loop(one mile round trip) and continue on to finish the Red Mesa loop. Enjoy the view at the turnaround on Golden Eagle as it’s a good one.
After finishing the Red Mesa loop you will head back down to Plymouth, passing Homestead on your right. The aid station is on your right at the intersection to Plymouth. Take advantage of the fluids and mentally get ready for the toughest part of FTD. Yes, you guessed it, you are going to go up the steep part of Plymouth one more time but this time instead of going right at Homestead, you will go left. You will also take the very next left which is another turnaround scenic loop with an even better view! Take it in or turnaround quick and get haulin’ as from here on out you will be a quad bustin’ down hillin’ machine.
Translation, you are going to be running downhill alot from here on out. Coming out of the scenic loop you will be exiting left and down Plymouth trail for some switchback fun. Be careful here as it is quick but those tired legs don’t always pick up as high as they need to sometimes, hint hint. The views down from here are great but trail running doesn’t always allow us to look at pretty things without busting our butts now does it? Coming off of Plymouth you will exit right and start down what you came up at around mile 1.2 of the race.
Pay attention going down because shortly you will be turning left over a small big on Meadowlark. This will be the last turnoff of the day. For about 1.6 miles you will try and finish strong, or just finish, depending on how the first 11.5 went for you. Warning the first quarter mile of Meadowlark is a slight uphill that is just enough to make you and your trembling quads want to cry, but remember, it is literally only about 2 minutes of running here. Good, quick singletrack winds it’s way back to the finish where the last 100 yards is small pebbles. We witnessed a handful of home stretch wrecks that left more than a couple bloodied and bruised so a piece of advice for your home stretch, don’t be that guy or gal!