As you may know, the The Ledesma Sports Medicine Rails to Trails Ultra 2013 Event is just around the corner. There are three different events comprising the LSM R2T Ultra event – 50k, 25k and 5k. The 25k and 50k will begin and end in Cockspur Island, in the grounds of Ft. Pulaski National Monument. The majority of the 25k and 50k, though, will take place on McQueen’s Island in what is known as the Rails to Trails Savannah. The R2T is also known as the Mcqueen’s Island Trail. The 5k race will be entirely on Ft. Pulaski grounds. All three races will take place on Saturday, January 12, 2013.
The proceeds of all three races will go to help in the restoration and maintenance of the Savannah Rails to Trails. Please note our Title Sponsor for this event is Ledesma Sports Medicine. LSM is an integral part of the sporting community in Savannah. They have helped rehabilitate numerous athletes in our community and it is truly an honor to have them as Title Sponsor.
- Ft. Pulaski National Monument Park fees are covered. Registered runners will not have to pay to enter the park!
- Ft. Pulaski will be open to runners by 7:00 am.
- Parking for the event will be on the premises of Ft. Pulaski by the pine forest picnic area. Please do not park in front of the old fortress. The parking spots in front of the old fortress are for people visiting that monument. Racers will have designated parking near the start/finish of the race.
- The 25k and 50k races will start at 8:00 am sharp. The 5k will begin at 8:15 am sharp.
- All 25k and 50k finishers will get medals
- There will be trophies for the winner of each race, 1st place male, 1st place female – for 5k, 25k, 50k
- Finishers certificates will be emailed to every finisher of every event.
- Average temperature around Ft. Pulaski/Savannah/Tybee Island in January is between 40* and 60*. Please monitor the weather as we get closer to race day to determine what racing attire to wear.
5k Race Course
The LSM R2T 5k follows the same route as the Run for Jane 5k…but in reverse. So, if you are going to run the 5k please note that you will begin this race in the same location as the 25k and 50k begin, which is across the street from the pine forest picnic area. The 5k course is a very pretty fast trail taking you through the forested areas of Cockspur Island and around the dykes encompassing the old Southern fortress. Being a fast flat course, it’ll be over before you know it and, chip-timed. Saying that it’s a fast course, though, don’t let that intimidate you. Run or walk the 5k at your leisure.
25k & 50k Race Course
- The course for the 25k and 50k is 15.5 miles (25k). The 50k runners, obviously, run it twice as opposed to once by the 25k runners.
- Please note, there is an 8 hour time limit on the 25k and 50k meaning that if you are not in a realistic position of finishing either of the races by 3:30 pm you will get a DNF. I apologize if that is an inconvenience but the race is on a National Monument and their hours of operation must be respected.
- There are four Aid Stations spread approximately every 3 miles. It is your responsibility as a runner to call out your race number at every Aid Station as it will be recorded along with the time you came by that Aid Station.
- This being a race that is very near the mouth of the Savannah River please be aware of the tidal changes. High tide on Saturday, January 12, 2013 will be at 8:16 am and, it will be an 8.4 foot tide. To you land lovers this means that the tide may wash over parts of the trail or, at least, make parts of the trail a little damp. The problem area, if there is going to be a problem area will be at the main entrance of the R2T which is also known as the mid-section. An 8.4 foot tide is usually not a problem but if it is, then the mid-section will be the area to watch for. That said, if water does come over this part of the trail it is usually about four to eight inches deep. You may want to have a towel and flip-flops or second pair of shoes waiting for you at the mid-section where Aid Station 3 is at.
Several runners have asked what to expect of the 25k/50k terrain on Ft. Pulaski and the Rails to Trails. First of all, the course is entirely flat. You will run through paved roads, unpaved trails and grassy dykes. 90% of the course is unpaved.
Below is a breakdown of the 25k/50k course:
- The race begins in the grassy area across the street from the pine forest picnic area of Cockspur Island. Quickly, though, it hits pavement. You follow this road for 2/3 of a mile doing a small loop before disappearing into a sandy grassy, thickly tree-lined trail that runs along the northern section of Cockspur Island.
- You will follow this sandy, grassy trail for approximately 3/4 of a mile, weaving in and out of pockets of forested areas before giving into the open dyke systems toward the southeasterly part of the island.
- The following leg of the course is the elaborate dyke system built along the perimeter of the southeasterly part of the island. The dykes are carpeted in grass that may vary in height from one inch to four inches depending on the time of year. Fortunately, in January the grass should be light and flattened. This section of the course is approximately 1.13 miles. This area offers dramatic views of the old pock-marked Ft. Pulaski fortress. This is a very beautiful area where you may have very good opportunities of seeing wildlife such as white-tailed deer, raccoons, great egrets, snowy egrets, cranes, ibis and such. This part of the course is entirely exposed to sun and wind. You will not have to worry about heat at this time of the year but the wind can make this area pretty chilly in the winter.
- Upon exiting the dykes you will get back onto Ft. Pulaski road and follow that road off of Cockspur Island via a bridge. This bridge will lead you to the Rails to Trails on McQueen’s Island. Please be aware that the bridge will be fully open to car traffic the entire duration of the races! And, this is the only way on and off Cockspur Island by car. So, expect car traffic through-out the day! The bridge is approximately 1/4 of a mile long. We will have people on both ends of the bridge watching out for runners and alerting the drivers to proceed with caution. All runners are advised to run against the traffic and, if possible, try to run on the ledges of the bridge. The ledges on the sides of the bridge are raised about 1 foot from the road and are about 1.5 feet wide. If you do not feel comfortable running on the ledge of the bridge then, by all means, run on the road itself but be careful! Just before entering the Rails to Trails you will come upon Aid Station 2. Remember to call out your bib number at each Aid Station before proceeding on the course! Aid Station 2 will have food, fluids and a portable latrine available.
- Leaving Ft. Pulaski behind you enter the longest part of the course, the RTT. The eastern section of the RTT is almost entirely comprised of hard-packed, sandy soil and patched together by ten small wooden bridges scattered about it. The eastern section of the Rails to Trails is 3 miles long. Some areas of the trail are exposed, most of it, though, has small patches of small salt oaks, small cypress and palmetto trees hugging the sides of the trails. You will begin to see heavy erosion of the trail as you reach the end of the eastern section. After three miles, the trail opens up to what many refer to as the “mid-section” or “main entrance” – you pick. This “mid-section” has two portable latrines. Aid Station 3 is here. Please remember to call out your bib number at each Aid Station! This is the area that if we have any flood problems it will be here but with an 8.4 foot tide that truly should not be problematic. Being on the safe side, though, consider having flip-flops and a towel waiting for you at Aid Station 3 so as not to get your race shoes wet. Also remember, that the high tide is at 8:16 am and from there on it will only go down.
- From the mid-section, you continue down the RTT. This is the western section of the Rails to Trails and the most eroded part of the trail. Around mile 6.38 you will hit one of the pockets of bad erosion. The ground here is very hard and rutted and is littered with ping-pong ball-sized loose rocks. Be careful here as you can easily slip. If you are wearing minimalist shoes this area can be pretty tough to run through. This particular eroded area spans roughly 1/4 mile and then gives way to smoother, pebbly ground that is quite comfortable to run on. You will hit another smaller area of erosion approximately at the 8.55 mile mark. This is where the Army Corps of Engineers installed two wells to measure salinity levels over the past summer. After they finished their work they left the trail in pretty bad shape, unfortunately. Fortunately, though, this area of roughness is only about 50 yards long. From this point on it’s pretty smooth running until you hit the turn-around at mile 8.75 which is the last western-most bridge on the RTT. Aid Station 4 is here. This Aid Station will be a minimal station with only fluids available. But remember, – that’s right – call out your bib number at each Aid Station when you come to it.
- The last leg of the 25k and 50k will take you back across the Ft. Pulaski bridge. About 1/5 of a mile from the bridge you will turn left onto another dyke and follow it as it crosses a road and goes through a small forested area and back to the Start/Finish line. The 50k runners continue for the second loop. Oh Joy.
- Aid Station 1: located at the start of the race. Restrooms available, tents, heater, food, fluids, gels, massage therapists, hot tub…no hot tub, sorry, but everything else goes. Race number and time recorded
- Aid Station 2: located just before entering the Rails to Trails coming from Ft Pulaski. Amenities: portable latrine, food, fluids, gels. Race number and time recorded.
- Aid Station 3: located in the mid-section or main entrance. Amenities: 2 portable latrines, food, fluids, gels. You may stash extra shoes/flip-flops and towel if needed due to possible high tide wash over. Race number and time recorded.
- Aid Station 4: fluids. race time and number recorded.
Rules and Regulations
Let’s go over the rules again why don’t we…no fighting, no biting…Seriously:
- 25k and 50k start at 8:00 am sharp! No exceptions! Be there on time!
- 5k begins at 8:15 am sharp! No exceptions. The 5k is a chip timed event!
- 25k and 50k runners remember that it is your responsibility to call out your race number as you hit each of the four Aid Stations! Very Important!
- There is an 8 hour limit on the 25k and 50k.
- Pacers will be allowed ONLY under certain circumstances and must be approved prior to race date. Please contact me should you need a pacer. My email is email@example.com
- All three races will take place regardless of weather (except in case of a hurricane or blizzard but those are highly unlikely in this part of Georgia or this time of year). So, sunny, warm, cold, wet, just right, blah, blah, blah…it’s still happening.
- Please be mindful of your fellow runners. Don’t become an obstacle to them if you have to stop to tie your shoe or something. Pull off on the side, giving your fellow runners room to continue on the narrow trails.
- Also, please note that there may be non-LSM-R2T runners on the trails with you. Don’t trip over them. Don’t trip them.
- Absolutely no littering on the trails or on the roads. Carry your trash with you until you find a trash can to deposit it in. Littering will cause you to be disqualified.
- I’m sure this goes without saying but it probably should be said, if you come across wildlife admire it, love it, take a picture of it but, don’t bother it. Remember, this place is their home. You and I are just guests.
The videos below are short clips of what the terrain you will be running on is like:
The Non-Eroded Rails To Trails:
This is the worse of the erosion you will experience on the RTT. This is 1/4 mile West from the mid-section:
Okay. I think I’ve hit you with enough information for now. As we get a little closer to the race I will provide more information on this site as well as on the LSM R2T Facebook Page. So, please check these sites from time to time. You can also shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, concerns, well-wishes, whatever. I’m here for you guys. Tell me what you need to know about these events and I will do my darndest to make sure you have all of the information that you need to make this race a great event for you.
So, until we meet, I wish you well!
Stay healthy, Run Strong, Run Happy!
All the best to you and yours.
Here is the LSM R2T Sampler (if you have 7.5 more minutes to spare)