The final leg of the Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and a qualifier event for the famed Western States 100, the Indiana Trail 100 (IT 100), an Ignite Trail Series event was founded and nurtured by a small group of ultra distance runners to promote and give back to Chain O’Lakes State Park in Albion, Indiana. In 2013, the founders put on the first 100-mile ultra in Indiana. The event has since turned into a world-class event with the addition of 75-mile and 50-mile options, and new for 2023 is an additional Spring event. Strambecco rates the IT100 as one of the best trail-running events in the Midwest.
At the Indiana Trail 100 (IT 100), participants get to experience more than just the run; it’s about the scenery, the terrain, and the incredible support from the community of ultra-runners managing the event. It is a non-profit event, with all the net proceeds funneled back into the maintenance and betterment of the Chain O’Lakes State Park. Over the years, with the hard work and dedication of other local ultra runners, the Ignite Trail Series has helped add 10-12 miles of new trail to the park’s trail system. The races are more than competitions; they are celebrations of hard work, endurance, and the boundless human spirit.
Event & Course Info
Indiana Trail 100 features 100 mile, 75 mile, and 50 mile races, each unraveled in loops within the scenic beauty of the park, with the 100-mile race being a distinguished Western States qualifier. Runners are welcomed to picturesque routes that encompass rolling grasslands, challenging trails, abrupt elevations, and panoramic lake views scattered throughout the park. The availability of multiple race distances enables athletes of diverse fitness backgrounds to partake in and be transformed by the unparalleled experiences that an outstanding ultramarathon race can bestow.
The 100-mile course is segmented into four 25-mile full wooded trail loops, each with approximately 1,500 feet of elevation gain, totaling around 6,000 feet. The 75 and 50-mile options share a similar loop structure, with respective elevations. Runners traverse through technical trails, steep ascents, and exquisite views, reaching aid stations laden with refreshments and medical support, spaced 3 to 5.5 miles apart. Each station is well-equipped with an assortment of hot and cold food, hydration solutions, and medical provisions.
Races start on Saturday at 6:00 am, and with the following cut-off times:
– 50 mile race ends at 9:00 pm, Saturday.
– 75 mile race ends at 5:00 am, Sunday.
– 100 mile race ends at 12:00 pm, Sunday.
The runners aspiring for the 100-mile glory should embark on their final loop by 5:00 am on Sunday to not be disqualified.
Medical personnel and first responders are strategically placed, ensuring swift assistance. Indiana Trail 100 also prides itself as a Trail Sisters approved race, maintaining equality in awards and facilitating women-specific support at aid stations. There are showers available in designated areas for after the race, ensuring the comfort of the participants.
The IT 100 isn’t just about enduring; it’s about celebrating every mile conquered. Awards are bestowed upon completion, with buckles for 100 miles, and medals for 75 and 50 miles. Top performers are acknowledged with first-place overall and age group awards. There isn’t a collective ceremony; awards are given as runners cross their respective finish lines, keeping the proceedings simple yet heartfelt.
Check out last year’s athlete guide for some more details.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
There are a variety of lodging options for the Indiana Trail 100 (IT 100). The closest hotel options are in Columbia City and Kendallville, and include the Quality Inn, Holiday Inn Express or the Best Western. There are also a few vacation rentals in the area for those that prefer a more home-like experience, from new cabins to lake side cottages.
Also, the park is allowing free tent camping area near the start/finish and Chain O’Lakes has a large campground with electric and primitive sites.
The culinary scene in Albion, Indiana, is charmingly modest but delightfully varied, offering a selection of cozy eateries and restaurants where local flavors and classic American fare dominate the menu. Here, one can experience the warmth of small-town hospitality while enjoying hearty, comforting meals, reflective of the town’s rich agricultural heritage and Midwestern roots. Local favorites include Fox Den Coffee Shop, El Mariachi, and One10 West Main.
Albion, Indiana, nestled in the arms of Midwestern charm and nature’s bounty, transforms into a spectacular palette of autumn hues in mid-October, offering a myriad of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and indulge in. From traversing trails blanketed in fallen leaves to exploring serene lakes, Albion provides a tranquil yet thrilling escape for athletes and adventurers alike.
Chain O’Lakes State Park, the host site for the Indiana Trail 100, is worthwhile to explore further. It is home to 11 lakes, interconnected by a unique system, offering numerous hiking, walking, and running trails. Outdoor athletes would relish the chance to navigate through varying terrains, explore the plethora of flora and fauna, and absorb the calming views of the shimmering lakes. Whether opting for a leisurely stroll or a brisk hike, the park’s natural tapestry during fall is a visual and sensory delight, promising enriching experiences and unforgettable memories.
Also, the cluster of lakes in and around Albion provides an ideal setting for various water-based activities. Athletes can engage in kayaking or canoeing, exploring the tranquil waters bordered by the vibrant autumn foliage, creating a picturesque backdrop. Fishing enthusiasts can find solace in the quiet banks, trying their luck for a variety of fish species inhabiting the lakes. The serene ambiance coupled with the crisp October air makes every paddle stroke or fishing expedition a refreshing encounter with nature.
Finally, the picturesque countryside around Albion features a network of roads that are suitable for road and gravel biking. The less trafficked, rustic roads provide serene and safe biking experiences, allowing cyclists to enjoy the scenic farmlands, quaint landscapes, and the charming autumn foliage in October. The diversity in the terrains offers both relaxed and challenging rides, catering to bikers of all skill levels.
The Ignite Trail Series is a collection of some of the most enthralling and challenging ultra-endurance events in the country. The series encapsulates three distinctive races unfolding in the panoramic vistas of Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Albion, Indiana: Indiana Trail 100, Glacial Esker 6-12-24 Hour Race, Ignite Trail Half & Full Marathon. Every race in the Ignite Trail Series is uniquely designed to provide runners with breathtaking scenery and technically challenging trails, from steep climbs to the picturesque views of the lakes throughout the park. It is not just a race; it’s a holistic experience, a communion with nature enhanced by world-class race support and organization. It allows athletes, whether seasoned or novice, to delve into the essence of ultramarathon racing, inspiring them to push boundaries and explore untapped potential.
The Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning was established in 2012 and is comprised of completing any four of the midwest’s premier 100-mile trail races: Mohican Trail 100; Kettle Moraine 100; Burning River 100; Hallucination 100; Indiana Trail 100. Runners completing all five races are designated “Super Slammers.”
The Western States 100 is 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.
For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of Indiana and broader Midwest region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class road, gravel and mountain biking events.