Welcome to the Tunnel Hill 100/50 Mile Runs
Being a native of nearby Paducah, Kentucky, I spent many hours on the Tunnel Hill State Trail. I was fascinated by the old train trestles; the incredible scenery, including the wetlands to the south, and the gorgeous rock formations to the north. Most of all, I enjoyed the dark, cool tunnel.
Even though I knew that trains ran through it for years, I was still fearful of running into the wall. You see, the walls seem to close in on your as you approach the middle.
After I ran my first 100 miler in 2004, I started to think of hosting a 100 on the Tunnel Hill Trail. I met with Jason Claunch (co-director), and the next thing I knew we were opening registration.
What a great course we have! Beautiful! And Fast!
I thought there was an excellent chance of this being the fastest 100 mile course in the country.
Consider this… no altitude issues… elevation runs between 380’ to 680’. No humongous hills… instead, a gentle 2% grade. No trip hazards to contend with, especially at night where most trails cause a major slow down for the runner. This is a smooth, crushed limestone and gravel trail.
Hosting the event in mid November takes out the hot, humid nights. Average temperatures for the area… 59/39.
Despite much colder than normal temperatures in the inaugural running last November, the event was a major success. Many runners finished their first 100 or 50 miler, or set personal records. Most impressive was Traci Falbo’s 14:45:26… a new American record for the fastest 100 miles run on a trail by a female.
Special thanks to Illinois Department of Natural Resources, volunteers from the River to River Runners Club, West Kentucky Runners Club, and the citizens of Johnson County for their heartfelt welcome to their communities…especially; Vienna Welcome Center Director Phil Morris; Johnson County commissioners Fred Meyer, Phil Stewart, and Ernie Henshaw; Vienna City Council members Jon Simmons, Chesley Williams, Melissa Hill, Richard Owen, Alan Racey, Cheryl Myrick, and Jim Evans; and the local police departments for their assistance.
Additional thanks to co-race director Jason Claunch, (who also serves as VP of River to River Runners Club), Gene Tincher, Michael Ahrens, my brother, John Durbin, and wife, Terri. When you see these people, as well as all the volunteers who make this possible, please say hello, and thank you. Please enjoy the weekend, and come back to visit this wonderful area.
Steve Durbin – Race Director