Autumn Gold: 2019

About this event

Celebrate fall at Autumn Gold!  This is a new event as we head into the shorter days here in the MatSu.  We have a pretty short window for color change here BUT the beginning of October is about as good as it gets.  


This race is just a short drive from Palmer, Wasilla, and Anchorage.  Lazy Mountain has a well established trail system that is perfect for everyone of all abilities!  We've chosen to utilize the Lazy Moose Trail, connector trail, Morgan Horse Trail, and Matanuska Peak Trail (or rather, the wider path right next to it that most of us refer to as Mat Peak Trail...)


WHEN:  October 5th, 2019.  Race time is at 09:00 am.  Bib pickup will be that morning so we suggest arriving a tad early, say between 7:45-8:30.  


COST:   $40 though 6/30

              $50 starting 7/1


Race day registration...if there are still spots available, cost will be $70 AND will be cash only.  We will post on our Facebook page if there will be registration available or not.  We suggest  not waiting and being out of luck.


PARKING:  We will be using the parking lot at the Lazy Mountain Trailhead.  There is a $5 fee to park there, or a borough (not state) parking pass to cover the fee.  They do check!  There are also a few parking spots at the end of Smith Road as the race turns to towards Matanuska Peak.  This is a better spot for spectators than participants and is limited...but if you're up for a stroll before the race you could park here and follow Morgan Horse Trail to the start.  We suggest paying the $5.


We are capping registration at 100 participants this year.  We really don't anticipate there being that many runners since this is our first year... that being said, there is always the chance that we will be surprised and Autumn Gold will fill up quickly.  We aren't going to have a waitlist.  Once those 100 are gone, they're gone.  Why is it limited?  Lazy Mountain gets a LOT of foot traffic and we don't want to further erode this great trail system!

We'll consider possibly increasing the field in the coming years based on how this year goes.


THE BASICS:

Weather can be tricky in early October.  We will have a secure spot for you to bring whatever gear you want to have for the race.  Decide on race day what you want to wear!  The trail on the same weekend in 2018 was very muddy in spots, primarily the connector which is almost a straight hill down a couple hundred feet, and some areas on Morgan Horse.  It was a little chilly but long sleeves and a vest was sufficient.  Who knows how 2019 will be though.  We suggest evaluating as race day gets closer!


There will be toilets available at the start.


We will have one aid station that you will cross twice at approximately mile 1.5 and 3.75.  If you anticipate needing additional hydration at the top of the climb, we suggest carrying your own water bottle as well.


Driving:  No matter where you're driving from, you want to end up on the Old Glenn Highway.   You'll turn onto Clark Wolverine Road and follow it to Huntley Road...take a right here and continue uphill.  At the Y, take the right downhill into the parking lot.  Pay the fee OR make sure your BOROUGH parking permit is displayed.  Officially, the address is 2955 N Mountain Trail Circle, Palmer.  (Just learned that!)  There are some directional signs to guide you.  The biggest thing is DON'T go left at Huntley.  You'll end up in the middle of nowhere.

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Course description

Basics of the area

Race begins at Lazy Mountain Trailhead parking.


Head up the Lazy Mountain trail and then it's a right onto Lazy Moose trail.  This section of the course is mostly flat but you will notice an overall elevation gain of a couple hundred feet with a couple short climbs.


At about mile 0.85 there's a sharp right onto a connector trail that takes you down to Morgan Horse trail.  *** this section is almost always muddy and slippery and partially obscured with tall grass.  ***


At Morgan Horse, turn right and follow to Matanuska Peak trail.  This short section is pretty enjoyable and has those infamous "gently rolling hill" that seem to be in so many course descriptions.  Keep going until you come to a wider gravel path with the aid station, then turn left.


Matanuska Peak trail.  Morgan Horse may have had you wondering what the fuss was about, as will the first quarter mile or so of Mat Peak.  Then you gaze upward after a washout in the road and realize quickly that you're going to be climbing.  A lot.  And the beauty of Mat Peak is that the first few times you climb this trail, you're not sure for how long.  There are some sharp corners that lull you into thinking you're done...but you're not.  The gorgeous views from up here make up for the exertion though.  As you near the turn around it gets a little dicey with larger rocks in the road and some washed out areas. 


Turn around is at McRoberts shack.  There's probably another name for this building but that's what we're going with.  We will have a volunteer here recording bib numbers.  Make sure you tell him/her so you make it on record!


Turn around and head back down.  The only difference is that you will NOT go back up the connector trail.  Once you hit Morgan Horse, keep going until you arrive at the Lazy trailhead.  


We will have course markings along the way...it will be pretty difficult to get lost.


Oh, and this course will be sanctioned by the USATF.

Wildlife

Yes.  This is MOOSE and BEAR country.  We've also startled a fair number of grouse, rabbits, and even a few porcupine up here.  Please arrive prepared...we do suggest bear spray as a minimum.  Moose:  give them respect.  Most of them will take off if they hear you but there are a handful up there who have grown accustomed to people and will possibly just stare at you and continue to block the trails.  Just let them do this.  We don't want anyone injured trying to shave some time off their PR.  If at anytime you feel that the wildlife has made the area unsafe, turn around and come back.  We will provide our cell numbers on race morning also...there is coverage the entire course and we want to be in the loop if there are any issues!  I'm not one to suggest racing with a phone, but in this race it is encouraged.

Questions?

My dog loves trails and I swear he does great and we even go up Lazy ALL the time!

Sorry.  He still can't race with you.  Feel free to take doggo before or after the race though!  I've stumbled across Dixie, the original Happy Malamute, more than once on this trail with spectacular results to both our bodies.  We don't want you, your dog, or another runner injured...even on accident.  Please don't test us on this rule.

Is this race walker friendly?

Oh my goodness...yes!!!  Most days that I head out here to "test" the course, I start out feeling pretty sure of myself that I'm going to be badass and run it.  Then reality hits and it becomes a power hike.  Then it becomes more of a whimper and pray situation.  Anyone who makes it to the turn around and back will be a finisher and that's something to be proud of!

What about strollers?

It would take a crazy rugged stroller to get through this course.  I doubt there are any out there that would be even remotely enjoyable to use here.  So yes, you could attempt a stroller, but NO.  There are stairs right off the bat, a ridiculous amount of roots, a few mini boulders, and steep hills.  Best to not even try.

Is there a time limit?

In theory, yes.  We'd like everyone done within 3 hours.  In reality, no.  If you've started the race an are still out there after that time headed to the finish...you'll be a finisher.  We don't think it will take more than 2.5 hours even if you"aren't good" with hills.  The speedier mountain goats will likely finish in under an hour.

I changed my mind. Can I get my money back?

Nope.  There are a very few circumstances where you might...but  plan on showing if you register.  Our hope is that this will become one of the most fun races out there that everyone anticipates all year and will move mountains to arrive at the start line.  Seriously.

You guys are great. Can we help out?

So sweet... Yes!  Please shoot us a message using the contact us link above!  We love volunteers and will make it worth your time and effort.