The Toughest Marathon in the Southeast

January 27, 2021  |  Permalink

Savage Gulf Marathon Running

The Savage Gulf Marathon

If you are a first-time runner or are looking for a simple and smooth marathon to run in, you should stop reading this, as the Savage Gulf Marathon is definitely not for you. Supporting this claim is the fact that many runners call this “the toughest trail marathon in the country” while spectators shout “You Survived the Savage Gulf Marathon!” as you cross the finish line. You need experience before running this course, as individuals must have already done a marathon or longer race before qualifying. Completing the 26.2-mile trek takes much longer to finish compared to normal races, as runners get to the finish line anywhere between 4.5 to 8 hours. During the course of the run, the elevation gain that you will experience is roughly 4,000 feet. Ever since the race began, many experienced and confident runners have failed to finish. So if you are looking to put your mind and body to the test while accomplishing a noteworthy goal in 2021, then the Savage Gulf Marathon is a perfect fit for you. 

Savage Gulf Marathon Waterfall at South Cumberland State Park

Throughout the course the runners will be faced with challenging terrain but will be surrounded by beautiful scenery along the route, which includes waterfalls, wildflowers, historic sites, and large stone formations. Luckily, that should help keep runners' minds off the task at hand. Participants will go down two deep descents and climbs which will bring them in and out of the Savage Gulf. Runners will also be forced to cross several streams and run on narrow pathways along the edge of the bluff. The race will take place at the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, which has 15,590 acres and is known for its breathtaking natural rock formations. This will be the ninth annual running of the race. For all of the high achievers out there, the course record was set in 2019 with a time of 3:55:39.

Savage Gulf Marathon runner on ridge

The Tennessee Park Rangers Association coordinates the entire event. All proceeds are used for training scholarships that are made available to State Park Rangers who can use them for professional development. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special measures have been put into place to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including the fact that the race will be limited to only 100 participants. It costs $85 to register and all race participants will receive a race shirt. Additionally, the top three male and female finishers will each receive rewards. Although registration closes on March 14th, sign up as soon as possible, as all spots will likely be filled up before that date.


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