6th Annual 
Ondessonk Trail Races

To benefit the Camp Ondessonk Scholarship Program

50K  = $85 through October 1, 2016        

13.1-mile  = $60 through October 1, 2016        
5K = $25 through October 1, 2016  

Saturday, October 15th, 2016
50K Race starts at 8:00 a.m., 13.1 Race starts at 10:00 a.m., and the 5K starts at 10:15 a.m.

Help send some very deserving kids to Camp!

Camp Ondessonk's Trail Races

The vision for the Ondessonk Trail Race event came to trail runner and Camp Ondessonk alumnus Tim Slape on a Labor Day morning in 2010. He was not at Camp for the annual Labor Day Friends Weekend, but on his home running route in St. Louis with Ondessonk on his mind. In the spirit of promoting healthy and active lifestyles, Tim thought about how he could bring his joy for trail running together with the place he and so many others loved. Tim envisioned introducing people to the beauty of Ondessonk’s natural wonders by inviting them to run its trails. Tim envisioned creating an event that would not only promote wellness in celebrating a connection with the great outdoors, but would also bring outdoor enthusiasts together to support Ondessonk’s camper scholarship fund. Out of this vision, the Ondessonk Trail Races were born.

Tim contacted Dan King, Camp Ondessonk’s executive director, who was intrigued by the idea of a trail run among Ondessonk’s sandstone bluffs, lakes, waterfalls, and tree-house cabins. Dan suggested combining the race with Camp Ondessonk’s annual Fall Festival so that runners could bring the whole family along to enjoy a weekend of community and fun in the woods. Tim contacted fellow trail runners -and friends of Ondessonk- Evan Coulson, Beth Beazley, and Caroline English, who jumped at the idea to help get the first race underway.

Tim utilized Ondessonk’s Moccasin Gap Trail as the route for the first trail race. A 10-mile historic trail used by horseback riders and hikers to explore the beauty of the surrounding Shawnee National Forest, the Moccasin Gap challenged and delighted runners. In the years that followed, a 3-mile section was added to the route to grow the race into a half marathon.

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of this trail race event, a 50K taking runners deep into the hills and creek-lined canyons of the surrounding Shawnee National Forest has been added for 2015. A 5K that winds along the trails and through the cabins of Camp Ondessonk is also offered each year to bring people together to enjoy the crisp fall air and the excitement of connecting with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts actively exploring Ondessonk's natural wonders.

The Shawnee Hills 50K:
Enjoy the rhythm of your feet along quiet single track and old forest service roads as you wind your way through oak-hickory, maple-beech, and pine forests and deep into the sandstone canyon systems of Southern Illinois' Shawnee Hills Natural Division. 

Runners will explore several backcountry destinations along their route that are considered highlights of Southernmost Illinois, including Jackson Hollow, Belle Smith Springs, and the Bay Creek Reservoir. The energy of Jackson Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Cedar Falls will ease the miles, and the views from Salomon's Ridge will inspire.

6 aid stations. 31 plus miles of creek crossings, mud bogs, and numerous ridge climbs will challenge, fall colors and waterfalls will delight. The Shawnee Hills 50K is sure to become a Midwest fall classic!

The Moccasin Gap Trail Half Marathon:
The Moccasin Gap Trail Half Marathon explores a series of scenic and challenging single-track trails within -and surrounding- Camp Ondessonk. This rugged 13.1-mile route will take runners past some of the outdoor highlights of Camp Ondessonk, such as Cedar Falls (the highest free-falling waterfall in the state) and past one of the 11 known Native American Stone Fort sites in Southern Illinois. 

The trail departs Ondessonk to wind up the ridges and through the sandstone canyons and creek valleys of the surrounding Shawnee National Forest eventually joining up with the River to River Trail. Runners will cross rock-bottom creeks, traverse ridge lines on old Forest Service roads, and climb a series of switchbacks -including a stretch of trail boasting over a mile of sustained climbing- to a historic U.S. Forest Service fire observation tower. There will be three water/snack aid stations along the route. 

The Heepwah 5K:
The 5K course will take advantage of dirt trails and gravel roads around Camp Ondessonk’s Lake Echon. It will travel up a section of single track trail shared with the Moccasin Gap Half Marathon and Shawnee Hills 50K before turning toward the finish on a Camp service road. A rewarding challenge for runners or walkers of any skill level!

(These unpaved trails contain rocks, roots, and other potential hazards, increasing the likelihood of possible injury. All participants must sign the Acknowledgement of Risk and Waiver of Claim form before being allowed to participate.)    

Optional Lodging: 
Stay in one of Camp Ondessonk’s signature rustic cabins! Each lodging choice is a grouping of 3-8 rustic cabins, tree houses, or lodges housing approximately 40 people. Tree houses and cabins are three-sided structures; lodges are four- sided. In keeping with the true camping spirit, units are primitive, without electricity or running water. Tent camping is also available.  Modern shower houses are located near units. Hotel lodging available in nearby towns of Marion and Harrisburg, IL. Additionally, U.S. Forest Service and State Park camping within a short drive.

Race Day Info:
Packet pick-up will be from 3 until 7pm on Friday, October 14th at the Camp Ondessonk Office and on race day from 7:00 until 9:30am. Parking available in the main Camp Parking Lot. Separate Award ceremonies will be held at 11:30am for the 5K and 2:00pm for the 13.1 Mile races honoring the following participants: 

15 and under top male and female finishers 
16-29 top female and male finishers 
30-39 top male and female finishers 
40-49 top female and male finishers 
50 and above top male and female finishers  

Come Hit the Trail with Us!


Trail Races