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Race Dates

2018: Saturday, October 27, 2018
2017: Saturday, October 28, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Downhill
Type: Point to Point
Surface: Mostly on Trails
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 54°F (12°C)
Average High: 64°F (17°C)
Average Low: 43° F (6°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 105.03
Course Score: 105.03

Race Size

2017: 319 Finishers
2016: 292 Finishers
2015: 329 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 28.2%
2016: 19.5%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: No

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Course Description

The Peak to Creek Marathon course loses a total of 2800 feet from the high to low points, with the most of the loss occurring from about mile 6 to mile 15 (~2200 feet). Although the course has a net downhill and is generally fast, it has many turns and is run mostly (20 miles) on dirt roads. These two factors may slow some runners down on this downhill, point-to-point course.

In addition, as with any downhill course, pace management is a key component of race strategy. Being too aggressive on the fast downhill sections (~4% average downhill grade) may result in extremely fatigued quads the last 10+ miles of the race.

From the race website - The Peak to Creek course consists of approximately 7 miles of paved surface: approximately 5.5 miles at the start in Jonas Ridge, and a few short stretches in various places along the course, including the last quarter mile or so. R2BM veterans will see the map below and notice some enormous differences, especially the noticeable lack of hills on the back half.

The majority of the course is run on quiet, unpaved country roads that pass through dense forests and open fields, and provide for some outstanding views of the mountains. The unpaved surface is far more forgiving than pavement, and as long as there are no vehicles coming, you are free to run left, right, or center. Camber is not an issue.

The course is not a “trail,” in any sense of the word, but simply an unpaved road. There can be rocks and sticks that may have fallen from overhanging trees, but there will be no large stones or roots lying in wait to catch the shuffling foot. If you are not accustomed to running downhill on an unpaved surface and you plan to run aggressively, we urge you to be especially careful when negotiating turns. There may be some loose stones in some places and it may be possible to slip if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing.

Marathon Rankings

The Peak to Creek Marathon was the 183rd largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 210th largest in 2016.

Last year 28.2% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 19.5% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the Peak to Creek Marathon the 22nd highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 45th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 105.03 ranks it as the 6th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 1st fastest course in North Carolina.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Peak to Creek Marathon a PR Score of 105.03. This PR Score ranks it as the 4th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 1st fastest in North Carolina.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 3867 feet (1178m)
Min Elevation: 1104 feet (336m)


Recent Peak to Creek Marathon Reviews

5 Stars from 7 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 Peak to Creek Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Course is absolutely beautiful! You can definitely PR if you run it properly. Follow the race director's advice and don't try to bank too much time on the big downhill portion or you will pay for it in the later stages.

Race Tips

Follow the race director's advice on how to run this course.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2016 Peak to Creek Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


This downhill marathon features 6 miles of rolling hills at the top, 9 miles of a mountain descent and 11 miles of flat to down along a mountain creek. I love the scenery. The course can be good or bad depending on how smart you run it. Either way your quads will hurt. Minimal to no crowd support. BQ potential on the course is high if you run smart. Most runners are experienced.

Race Tips

Don't put too much money in the bank going down the mountain or you will lose it all at the bottom!

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2016 Peak to Creek Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Downhill and then flat. Off road but not a trail. Few spectators but a great race to qualify.

Race Tips

Hold back during the first half and especially the downhills

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2015 Peak to Creek Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


I ran the P2C this year and really "enjoyed" it (as much as one can). The race was very well organized, the weather was great (cool, foggy, slightly misty). The road surfaces were pretty good. Paved for about the first 5+ miles, dirt/gravel for the big descent, packed dirt (almost felt like pavement) from mile 15 to around 21, and a bit looser dirt/gravel for the last 5 miles. The only downside was the anticlimactic finish which weaves through the parking area. The misty weather kept down the road dust, so even the occasional passing car did not cause an issue. Even with the looser dirt in places, it is definitely not a "trail run". I never felt like I had footing issues.

The view was very nice, although you are in the trees for most of the descent, so there weren't many panoramic mountain views. However, the forest scenery during the first half and the winding river that runs along the course from mile 15 to the finish were beautiful.

Water/Gatorade/GU stations were well placed and well manned by friendly volunteers. Race Director David Lee did a good job of sending updates in the week before the race and his website give great information on logistics and race strategy. The bus ride from the finish to the start was painless, and the buses were very nice... I was expecting school buses and got "motor coaches".

I have not repeated a race yet, but I may consider running the P2C again.

Race Tips

Conserve your energy on for the last 10 miles of the race. It is tempting to open it up on the downhill to bank time. I found that following the recommendations from the race website and controlling myself from mile 5.5-15 really paid off in the end.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

There are not many hotels close to the start or finish. Reserve early and target a place closer to the finish. There is absolutely no parking at the start, so use the bus service. I stayed in Blowing Rock, which is about 35 minutes from the finish line. That worked well as it provided a nice touristy location for pre and post race activities (aka, drinking, eating, and sleeping).

review of 2013 Peak to Creek Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Perfect organization, course well signaled and aid stations full, with good stuff. superb, very friendly atmosphere at pickup and with all volunteers. chartered buses take you from the finish to the start at the top of the mountain. you can make friends on the bus. gorgeous course in the beautiful mountains, cascades, rivers, woods, wildlife. delicious air, less than 10 cars (which is good considering the dust). perfect organization. fast course.

Race Tips

Follow the pace strategy :) read the 12-page race instructions :) take the time to enjoy the beautiful course. maybe do some special downhill training, but honestly it didn't hurt me.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Follow the race instructions, it includes everything you can thing of, up to FAQ and the discount and late checkout you can get at some hotels. the race organizers do the rest for you. did I say "perfect organization" ?

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Peak to Creek Marathon in 3:40:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.