Course Information, Elevational Profiles, and Course Map
The 2.5K is an easy, relatively flat loop that takes you across the main access road of the Marks Ranch property, winding through pastoral oak woodlands and meadows. You will pass by and near historic structures and points of interest including the hacienda, incubator house, dance hall, egg pond, and Grandpa’s House.
This is the perfect trail for beginners and families with young children to connect with the land, as well as for folks who prefer an easier run. Because it is a mostly-flat course, it is also a good choice for people who may not have trained for a trail run before but are interested in getting out on the land and experiencing what it could be like.
Though unpaved and certainly not easy, it is also possible to push a stroller on this particular course. We had a superstar mom do this during our inaugural 2018 event. If you have little ones and are up for a challenge and a great workout, we would encourage you to register for this course!
5K ($35 or $40 on race day)
This trail takes you through the gently-sloping Avalon Flats into oak woodlands and past historic structures. You'll climb the steep Robert V. and Patricia M. Brown Overlook trail, a moderately strenuous loop through meadows with a spectacular hilltop view.
This is a difficult 5K course because all of the nearly 550 feet of elevational gain happen right at the beginning of the loop. It is also a longer 5K course, at 3.3 miles instead of 3.1. However, the breathtaking panorama of the entire Marks Ranch and Salinas Valley makes the trek uphill well worth the effort.
Annie Conneau, a member of the Wednesday Nigh Laundry Runners, ran this course for us at a 13:54/mi pace. Her impression: "Challenging but rewarding! That view is worth any elevation! Most trail runners expect inclines but the novice 5ker should be prepared for a 'somewhat challenging trek'." Mark Moehling, also of the Wednesday Night Laundry Runners and a marathon runner, ran this course for us at an 8:00/mi pace. His overall impression: "Lots of climbing but worth it for the views at the top. The nice downhill finish felt great. Really unique place to run and explore!"
10K ($45 or $50 on race day)
New course this year! This rugged course crosses through most of the many habitats represented at Marks Ranch, including oak savannas, canyon forests, and grassy meadows laden with wildflowers during the spring. Steep uphill climbs are rewarded with sweeping vistas of Salinas and the Gabilan mountain range.
This is a difficult 10K course due to the intensity and number of hills you will conquer. This course is essentially the 5K course loop plus an additional lollipop loop. Your reward awaits you in the last couple of miles on this course, marked by delightful downhills and a flat finish.
Morgan Ivens-Duran, a member of the Wednesday Night Laundry Runners and a marathon runner, tested this course for us at an 11:00/mi pace. Her overall impression: "Beautiful course, with gradual hills punctuated by the occasional 'ooph!' incline." Our race director visited the last two miles of trail on March 27 and mentioned that "the rains have blessed us with pastures of sky lupines and other wildflowers. If we get more sunshine before April 13, we are sure to see the property explode with beauty!"