Rothrock Challenge 25k

An old-school 25k trail race near State College over technical terrain laden with rocks.

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
26 km
Ascent
1.1 km
Descent
1.1 km
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
400 m
High Point
732 m
Gradient
13˚
Rothrock Challenge 25k Map

The Rothrock Challenge is a popular trail race near State College that tours some of central PA's most notorious trails. Racers will enjoy running beneath dark hemlock and spruce forests, along mountainsides covered with ferns, beneath blooming mountain laurel - all while enjoying some nice views along the way! This course also utilizes trails that are open to the public year-round, meaning this route is one that can be enjoyed even outside of race day. The course also passes beneath the historic Little Flat Fire Tower, a local destination and easy hike worthy of a day trip all of its own.

Description

Most runners recognize the event for its showpiece 25-kilometer course full of rocky singletrack, numerous water crossings, plus three fully-stocked aid stations. A course marshal is also on the course to help direct runners at a tricky intersection. A half-marathon was also added to the registration in 2022, and given its growing popularity, one could expect to see even more distance options in the future if the event continues to grow.

When it comes to finishing the race, runners cross the starting line at 9 a.m. and gifted a generous time cutoff of 7.5-hours. The race promoter even notes how if you were to hike the entire course, you'd still likely finish well within the cutoff! Each racer also receives their own swag just for participating, though it varies from year-to-year.

In addition to the race, an afterparty at the Tussey Mountain Pavilion offers a buffet and local brews available to participants and their families. An optional lake plunge also follows, a welcoming reward for years when temperatures exceed the 70-degree averages typical of May. A photographer is also snagging photos of racers and volunteers throughout the day, and they are available to download online after the event has concluded.

Race Website

Difficulty

Difficult

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

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

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area