California > Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon, Half Marathons, 10K & 50K
Westwood, CA • Saturday & Sunday, October 12-13, 2013 • Course Map
Runners in the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon, Half Marathons, 50K & 10K get one of those rare treats seldom found at any race event, whether road race or trail race -- a course that's nearly all downhill, which has helped it become known as the "fastest marathon in the West," according to race organizers.
Starting at the midway point of the full marathon course (which takes place the next day) runners in the half follow the Bizz Johnson trail through California's Lassen National Forest all the way to the finish line in nearby Susanville, with really only one significant hill during the entire race.
Organizers also emphasize that this race is considered one of the state's best opportunities for runners looking to set personal record times, because while the race is all downhill and runners descend about 1,100 feet overall throughout the race, the angle of descent is never steeper than about 2%, so the course offers a mild, easy downhill run throughout. And because the race course is inaccessible to car traffic, runners truly get a chance to get away from it all at this race, and take in the gorgeous scenery of the surrounding mountains, trees, and creeks and streams.
The half-marathon, as mentioned above, begins at the midway point of the full marathon, on the portion of the Bizz Johnson trail that runs alongside the Susan River, at the point where the full marathon is beginning its long, slow descent toward the finish after taking runners uphill in the first few miles of the race.
After the first few miles of the half-marathon, runners enter the area known as the Susan River Canyon, where runners will cross the river no fewer than 10 times over wooden bridges that overlook the river flowing far below. All around there is beautiful natural scenery, from the high cliffs of the surrounding mountains to the trees making their seasonal turn to many different shades of yellow, orange and brown.
Runners hit a quick downhill and uphill just before the 7-mile marker in the half marathon (and the 20-mile marker in the full marathon), where the course falls and quickly rises a little over 100 feet in elevation, but after that the course resumes its steady, mild descent toward the finish. As they near the finish, after trekking through a combination of wooded forest areas, open meadows and alongside the river, runners get to run through two old railroad tunnels in the final few miles of the race. To make sure they're well lit inside, organizers place miners' lights throughout both tunnels.
In addition to Saturday's race, the Bizz Johnson Trail race weekend offers those who want to run a half marathon two chances to do so -- with Saturday's Bizz Johnson Trail Express Half Marathon, or with a second half marathon on Sunday.
In Sunday's 13.1-mile race, the course follows an out-and-back route over the last quarter of the full marathon route instead of starting at its half-way point. Because it follows an out-and-back course, Sunday's half marathon is uphill for the first half of the race, and downhill over the second 6.5 miles.
Race Weather & Climate
Located near the northernmost tip of the state in Northern California, about 165 miles northwest of Sacramento, Westwood typically sees October temperatures that average between 35°F and 64°F, while rainfall totals average just under 2.2 inches for the month.
On the day of the first half marathon (Oct. 12), the average low is 36°F and the average high is 66°F; on Sunday, Oct. 13, the average low is 36°F and the average high is 66°F.
View the race route map for the Bizz Johnson Trail Half Marathon
$40 for the half marathon, if registered before August 1, 2013
$45 between Aug. 1 - September 28
$50 between Sept. 28 - October 10
$60 on the day of the race
For runners who wish to sign up for the Express Half Marathon (on Saturday), add $15 to the registration.
To reserve your spot in the fall 2013 running of Westwood's Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon, 10K, 50K or either of the half marathon races, visit the event website.
Official Race Website
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