East Coast is the Beast Coast. But, it probably takes a round of running the eastern mountain terrain to really understand it — or feel it.
With big, panoramic mountain scapes, a large and concentrated trail-running population and key events like Western States and Leadville, it is no surprise the West tends to capture the public eye.
However, while the East Coast may be lightly regarded in the trail-running space, it should not be overlooked. Many of the courses pack in technicality and elevation change comparable to West Coast races, attract some very talented and competitive runners and the East hosts some of the longest-standing races (Vermont 100 still has horses on its course).
If you question whether the East Coast stands up to trail expectations and adventures, I suggest you get out there. No, really get out there. You can choose gnarly mountain running, rolling hills or coastal ways — there is a run for everyone.
I choose gnarly mountain running.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to run in Killington, Vermont, with the Under Armour Mountain Running Series. The Green Mountains never disappoint. Killington is a ski mountain, keep that in mind. That means there is a lot of up and a lot of down — and not a whole lot in between. Also, rocks, roots and mud are plentiful on this course.
Based on the post-run stagger of participants, you know the race lived up to Beast Coast standards. That’s what East Coast trail running is about — the challenge, the time outside, the natural obstacles. No spotlight needed — it’s hard not to smile when you get to the top of a long mountain climb.
Get out there, check out the East. It may get less attention than it deserves, but that definitely doesn’t mean it has little to offer.
5 EAST COAST TRAIL-RUNNING RACES TO TRY
1. CRUEL JEWEL
Both the 100- and 50-milers boast an astounding number of elevation changes and single track.
2. SEVEN SISTERS TRAIL RACE
A 12-mile, out-and-back course with 3,500 feet of elevation gain.
3. VERMONT 100
One of the oldest 100-milers, Vermont welcomes 400 runners and 70 horses each year.
4. UNDER ARMOUR MOUNTAIN RUNNING SERIES
Choose from 5K–50K distances and embrace the great outdoors.
5. SKY TO SUMMIT
Sky Valley, Georgia
Choose between the 25K or 50K, both promising waterfalls, summit views and a lot of elevation change.