Ghost Town Trail Challenge, what’s that? Simply put, you’re tested on your physical and mental ability to hike or run the entire 32 mile stretch of the Ghost Town Trail, which spans from Indiana to Cambria County. Challengers begin their journey at 7:00AM and are encouraged to finish before 8:30PM. The trail maintains a consistent positive grade the entire time, making it no easy task. Challenge? Very much so.
The Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority (CCCRA) held the fourth annual Ghost Town Trail Challenge on Saturday June 15th, 2019 as the second event of their 2019 Cambria County Trail Series races.
And this was the best year yet, breaking records across the board. 374 participants came from as far as Dublin, Ireland to take on the challenge. The number of walkers and runners for the full 32 mile challenge tripled from last year, while numbers for the 16-mile challenge and 7.5 mile challenge also gradually increased. 340 individuals completed the challenge which started in Saylor Park, Blairsville and ended in Ebensburg before 7:30PM.
What makes this event so successful?
From a participant perspective, this is a challenge, not a race. This has attracted competitive runners, recreational runners, and every day walkers to participate in this event on the nationally ranked Ghost Town Trail, to see how long they can accomplish their goal. Pre-registered participants by a certain date received premiums such as beer growlers with a coupon for a free fill of Rusted Rail from the Ghost Town Trail, made by local brewer Coal Country Brewing, as well as a high quality t-shirt. All finishers received a ghost “woodallion”, which is exactly as it sounds, a wooden medal shaped like a ghost.
What REALLY makes this event so successful?
Let’s be honest, you can’t do anything right the day of an event without a great crew working behind the scenes. Some volunteers, like participants, came from several hours away, to help with the event. Aid stations with first aid supplies, snacks, meals, and drinks are provided every 5-6 miles along the trail. EMS and First Responders were also located at many of the aid stations, as well as traveling by ATV and bicycle along the trail, to ensure participant safety.
Profits from the Ghost Town Trail Challenge, as well as the other races in the Cambria County Trails Series, go back entirely to the Cambria County Trails. The first event of the 2019 Cambria County Trail Series was the Path of the Flood Historic Races held on May 25th, which attracted over 900 participants to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Johnstown Flood. The fourth and final event of the Trails Series will be the Jim Mayer Family Fun Run/Walk 5K and 10K on September 7th, also in Johnstown.
You can view official race results on UltraSignup. Visit the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Facebook Page to view photos from volunteer photographers Momentum Photography and This Year Photo Co.