The Trail Runner's Bucket List: Hellgate 100K, Virginia

From a ridge run through the Montana sky to a marathon in the heart of Africa, these ten races have one thing in common: They'll push your limits in some of the most spectacular terrain on earth.

hellgate 100k ultra marathon trail running virginia

    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Held deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Hellgate ultra covers 66 miles, with 13,500 total feet of elevation gain. If that's not enough, it starts at midnight in December; on race day, it’s been 12 degrees and icy, 70 degrees and humid, and everything in between. Participants in the race can expect long hill climbs, river crossings, and steep technical sections.

Getting into the Hellgate is almost as hard as running it. The race is small, with only 140 competitors, all handpicked by race director and founder David Horton, a famed ultrarunner who has logged over 70,000 miles in his career and holds the Appalachian Trail speed record. Though this race is known for its charm and cool vibe, it’s not for newbies: Horton, a hardened ultra vet, created it “to inspire humility" in those with the guts (or hubris) to give it a try.

Race Date: December 7, 2013

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