If you are looking for a fun, challenging, but not unattainable destination race in the eastern USA, look no further than the Camptown Races in northeastern Pennsylvania. Located in the tiny town of Camptown, PA, it has the history, the local friendliness and charm, the challenge of a tough trail race combined with a little bit of road, and of course, how many other races have their own legendary song? The race has been managed by a number of great local folks over the years. It is currently run by local runners Rachel and Mike Murphy. Click here to go learn more and sign up. I grew up in the area and even spent some time as a kid with my grandfather walking the trail and helping to keep it clean. The race is run in early September each year and is nestled in the heart of the beatiful endless moutains, only a few miles from scenic route 6, which takes travelers on a beautiful trip across the USA.
Camptown Races Race Details
The race is billed as a combination road and trail 10K. It is no longer the 5-mile horse race depicted in the song. However, the Camptown ladies and men do still put out some fine food and arts and crafts, and you may hear a song or two sung from live bands and the town church bell often plays the famous song. Having run a number of trail and road races over the years, I would consider it a challenging course, especially if you catch a year where it is a bit muddy. There are some steep hills out on the trail. The road portion isn’t too bad and includes some rolling hills. The race starts out in the middle of the ballfield in town and then sends runners by road across a bridge and then through a cornfield before exiting back to the road for a mile or two. Once you turn into the woods, you are there for a few miles of challenging up and downs. The long steep downhill may be the most challenging obstacle for those running hard. Making sure you don’t slip and ruin your day while running at top speed is definitely a challenge. It definitely has its share of steep uphill as well and some beautiful trail. About 5.5 miles into the race you will climb up a hill and over a guardrail and back on the road to rush back into town and cross the finish line back in the local park. It is a challenging run for those serious about a good trail but also something that can be done by a casual runner looking to challenge themselves. You can take it at your own pace. In fact, this year, I slowed down and took pictures of the course and it may have been the most fun I ever had running the race.
If you are looking for an experience and to be a part of history, please come to check it out. Only a few hours drive from major cities like Philadephia, New York, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo, and only an hour or so from Binghamton, Elmira, Scranton or Williamsport, it is worth the trip. There are activities and crafts for the whole family and even a fun run if you don’t feel like taking on the full course but want to experience what Camptown Races day has to offer. Though there are no hotel options in Camptown itself, there are hotels in the nearby towns of Wyalusing, Wysox, and Towanda. Come check it out!