The Eastern States 100 is a world-class wilderness ultra trail running experience and the final leg of the Pennsylvania Triple Crown of mountain running. The Eastern States is a 103-mile single-loop trail race (98% single/double-track) in the Wilds region of the Allegheny Plateau in north-central Pennsylvania and an event that the Strambecco team considers to be one of the Best Trail Running Events in the Mid-Atlantic. Produced by the Eastern States Trail – Endurance Alliance, this difficult course of long climbs and technical terrain is a prestigious event that qualifies for both the Western States 100 and the UTBM World Series. Runners looking to push to their limits in the heat and humidity of the mid-Atlantic in August, while covering 20K feet of elevation need to put this one on their bucket list.
Event & Course Info
The Eastern States 100 stands as a testament to the spirit of trail running, where only the hardiest of runners will find themselves completing this circumnavigation of Pine Creek. Known as the Pennsylvania scenic river that supplied the lumber that built America, and the River of Pines to the Iroquois, Pine Creek is a captivating yet challenging companion throughout this grueling race. The event captures the essence of adventure, strength, and determination, making it a must-try for trail runners who seek to test their mettle against the elements. Participation in the Eastern States 100 is not to be taken lightly. To qualify for this ultimate trail running adventure, runners must have completed a 50-mile trail race within 16 hours, or complete a trail race longer than 50 miles within that race’s official cut-off time.
As mentioned, the course is a 103-mile single-loop that consists of 98% single and double-track trails, and runners will experience the thrill of navigating technical Rocksylvania terrain, enduring long and steep climbs, and facing the elements of mid-August weather. One of the race’s defining features is the formidable elevation gain, accumulating over 20,000 feet of climbing during the race. The route incorporates renowned trails like the Mid State Trail and the Black Forest Trail. As the course winds through the majestic Allegheny Plateau, runners will have the chance to take in the natural beauty of the Pine Creek watershed. The course’s remote sections add to the allure of the challenge. Runners take off at 5:00 am and have 36 hours to complete the course; the official cutoff is 5:00 pm on Sunday.
In response to runner feedback and the aim of enhancing the overall race experience, the organizers have introduced some changes for the 2023 edition. These include the introduction of a Solo Division for runners who prefer to go without a crew or pacers. This new division not only alleviates congestion at crewed aid stations but also provides runners with an additional layer of accomplishment. Moreover, adjustments to aid station locations have been made, aiming to enhance accessibility and support while maintaining the race’s challenging nature. The race now offers the opportunity to wade across Pine Creek at the new Tomb Flats aid station, adding a unique element to the experience.
Race central is Little Pine State Park and post-race food will be available for purchase from Real Taste (Mexican) for crew and spectators, as well as a Runners Only section with a wider selection of extra-special food just for participants and volunteers. Be sure to check out the official 2023 Participant Guide for all of the details.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
There are a variety of accommodation options to look into for the weekend of Eastern States 100 including the Gamble Farm Inn & Suites, Happy Acres Resort, and Hotel Manor, all located within 30 minutes of the event site. Unique vacation rentals are also available in the area for a more home-like experience including creek front homes and cabins. For those who appreciate the simplicity of sleeping under the stars, camping is available at Hyner Run State Park, Pettecote Junction Campground or explore off the beaten path options like this alpaca farm and Camp Skipping Rock.
Despite being in a more remote area, there are some restaurants close to the race including Happy Acres Restaurant and Waterville Tavern while the Waltz Creamery & Farm House Cafe and Black Forest Inn are worth the drive to visit.
While making the weekend of the event, participants and supporters will be pleased with the range of outdoor activities that the Waterville, PA area offers in the summer. Pine Creek offers exhilarating whitewater rafting opportunities as the waterway winds its way through the rugged terrain, creating thrilling rapids and stunning natural scenery. Outfitters in the area provide guided rafting trips suitable for various skill levels.
The Pine Creek Rail Trail is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts, offering a picturesque trail for hiking, biking, and exploring. The trail follows the route of a former railroad, offering relatively flat terrain that’s ideal for long hikes or bike rides. This well-maintained trail provides access to stunning viewpoints, including scenic overlooks of the Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, which is also a rock climbers paradise. Further hiking and trail running opportunities can be found through exploring portions of the Mid State Trail or the Black Forest Trail.
Other Pennsylvania Triple Crown events include the Hyner 50k in April and the Worlds End 100k in June, and all events sell out quickly. Complete all three races before the cutoff time within a year, and you have earned the bragging rights of a Triple Crowner. The Eastern States Trail – Endurance Alliance also produces the savage and unforgiving point to point Ironstone 100k in July. For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of Pennsylvania and broader Mid-Atlantic region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class road, gravel and mountain biking events.
The Eastern States 100 is a qualifier for the Western States 100, the grandaddy of ultra-running events. It is an epic 100-mile trail run from Olympic Valley to Auburn, CA, in one day on the last weekend of June. It is the world’s oldest 100 trail race, starting in 1974 as one of the ultimate endurance tests. Over the course, runners will climb more than 18,000 feet and descend 23,000 feet. See the dedicated Western States Endurance Run website for details on the lottery process, training, support, and volunteer opportunities. Participants must qualify for the race within two years and enter the lottery. If you are selected as part of the lottery, you are officially sent details to register within two weeks. If not completed in time, the registration will be available to runners on the waitlist of 50-75 people.
It is also a qualifier for the UTMB World Series, the ultimate global trail running series uniting the sport’s biggest stars and amateur runners through a leading international event series in the most stunning locations. The UTMB World Series gives all trail runners a chance to experience UTMB events worldwide, with 25 events taking place across Asia, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas in 2022. It is the only place runners can begin their quest to UTMB Mont-Blanc, home of the prestigious UTMB World Series Finals. The UTMB World Series integrates three levels of events:
- UTMB World Series Finals
- UTMB World Series Majors
- UTMB World Series Events
To qualify to enter the lottery for Finals or Major events, you must collect a “Running Stone” by finishing qualifier events in the 20k, 50k, 100k, or 100M categories. Only 1 Running Stone acquired in the past two years is mandatory to enter the lottery. Running Stones are cumulative, have no expiration date, and each Running Stone gives you an additional chance to be drawn. Collecting Running Stones is the only way to access regular runners’ UTMB World Series Finals. Discover the 25 events that will allow you to collect Running Stones in 2022 to enter the UTMB Mont-Blanc lottery from 2023 onwards.