Eastern States 100

One of the most difficult 100-mile ultramarathons east of the Rockies.

Trail Running Severe

Distance
164 km
Ascent
5.7 km
Descent
5.7 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
178 m
High Point
652 m
Gradient
Eastern States 100 Map

The Eastern States 100 is one of the most epic 100-mile trail races you'll find anywhere in North America - especially east of the Rockies. A single loop of 98% singletrack and doubletrack tours the remote Allegheny Plateau and Pine Creek Watershed, known to host some of PA's longest climbs, technical terrain, and remote vibes. If you're up for the challenge, here's what you need to about this world-class wilderness trail experience and Western States qualifying race in Central PA.

Description

In total, the 103-mile looped course includes a cumulative 20,000-feet of climbing, all during the infamous heat and humidity of August. The race begins at 5 a.m. and a generous 36-hour time cut-off is allotted to all racers. As of 2021, the men's course record set in 2018 is held by Wesley Atkinson with a finish time of 18:23:47. The women's record set by Kathleen Cusick in 2014 is 24:48:57. The average finish time tends to range from 30 to 35-hours in recent years.

As a graduate-level race, you must qualify to register for the event. Participants are required to "either complete a 50-mile trail race within 16 hours, or complete a trail race longer than 50 miles within that race’s official cut-off time," the race promoter notes. Either must have been completed within the prior two years, and the information is reviewed in detail to ensure a good field without outliers. Other difficult challenges and accomplishments are also considered should you think your fitness level warrants an exemption from the listed rules.

As with any reputable ultramarathon, bandit runners are strictly prohibited, and bib numbers must be clearly visible from the front. A headlamp or similar light is mandatory, as is a space blanket. Crew and drop bag access is also only allowed at the designated aid stations, unless there is an emergency. Pacers are also allowed on course at stations 7, 10, 13, and 15, but racers are only allowed one at a time and "muling" your runner is prohibited. Pacers are allowed to use the aid stations, however.

Limited camping is available for those who want to stay near the start and finish area. Other lodging and local food options can be found here. A complete guide for participants, including aid station information and course details can be found here.

Eastern States 100

Difficulty

Severe

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Guidebooks in this area