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.
The Peak to Creek Marathon was the 217th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 201st largest in 2015.
Last year 19.5% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 26.4% of runners qualified for Boston in 2015.
This gives the Peak to Creek Marathon the 47th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 13th highest percentage in 2015.
Its Course Score of 105.03 ranks it as the 4th 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 3rd 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.