Runner’s Manual:
Event Overview/Rules

March 13-14, 2021


The first 2 rules are extremely important.

We cannot stress this enough. ANY violations by the runner, their pacer(s), crew, or volunteers will dramatically jeopardize the possibility of us ever holding this event again. It will also result in the runner immediately being disqualified, removed from the event, and barred from all future events we host. So, please read these first two rules very carefully. If needed, law enforcement will be notified to handle any violations. Understand we don’t make the laws, but we will abide by them. Thank you in advance for your full compliance.

  • IMPORTANT: NO ALCOHOL: Under Tennessee law, NO alcoholic beverages are permitted on the school grounds at any time. Governing municipalities and our permits also prohibit any alcoholic beverages/containers at any time and anywhere on the course or at aid stations during the event. This includes throwing cans/containers, even if empty, into the trash.
  • IMPORTANT: NO FIREARMS: Under Tennessee state law, firearms are not permitted on school grounds (exception is made for the race starter’s pistol). Thank you for respecting and abiding by these laws.
  • Aid Stations: NOTE! Aid stations and warming areas are only for registered runners, their active pacer at the time, and race volunteers/support staff. All others will need to courteously avoid these runner designated areas so registered runners can have full, unimpeded access/use. Help us keep the runners #1. Thanks!
    • The Foothill Striders will host the main aid station at the start/finish area by the school. They will have a great selection of yummy drinks and foods for the duration of the race.
    • The Knoxville Track Club will host the Leaping Leprechaun fluids and snacks aid station about 2 miles from the start. They will have water, Tailwind, soda, and some snacks. This is a mid-point fluids and snacks aid station only. They will not have full menus like the two main aid stations at each end of the 5ish mile course.
    • On the return course out-n-back, the Back of the Pack Elite group will also host a fluids and snacks aid station about about half way (1.25 miles) between the Woody’s and the Lucky Leprechauns. They will have water, Tailwind, soda, and some snacks. This is also a mid-point fluids and snacks aid station only. They will not have full menus like the two main aid stations at each end of the 5ish mile course.
    • And of course the Woodys will have their near-world-famous aid station about 4.7 miles into the course. Word is that it will be be even more awesome this year! So…you will pass an aid station about every 1.25 to 2.5 miles. Talk about being spoiled!
    • For specific aid station locations and distances, click here for the overall and course maps.
  • Animals: Dogs are not permitted in the school facility or on school grounds at any time (exception: licensed service dogs on active duty). The school property extends down Lodge Street to Springbrook Road where the Greenway Trail begins. Our insurance specifically will not cover any liability arising from our canine friends. As much as we love dogs, they are not welcome at any time during this event. Please leave them at home or with a caring friend while you are here. This applies to all event participants (runners, volunteers, crews, families, friends, staff, etc.).
  • Athena/Clydesdale runners: (This is available for all solo distances except the Pistol Creek half and full marathon events.) The Athena option is available for female runners weighing 165 pounds or more. The Clydesdale option is available for male runners weighing 220 pounds or more. All runners wishing to compete in Athena/ Clydesdale categories must go to the Athena/Clydesdale check-in table at Changes and Solutions in the Pistol Corral and get weighed in their race outfit during these times:
    • 50K, 100K, 100 milers – Saturday 5:30-6:30 AM
    • 50 milers – Saturday 6-6:45 PM
    • Those wearing additional clothes or carrying additional items during weigh-in may be ineligible to compete in this classification. Note that all who choose to compete as Athena/Clydesdale will not be eligible for age group awards. The Athena/Clydesdale first place awards will be presented to the fastest male/female official finisher in each solo distance.
  • Bandits: The registration fee for each runner (and their pacer, if applicable) does not cover any support costs for other non-paying runners/participants (bandits). Please be honest, considerate, and respectful of the incredible amount of time, work, and money that goes into putting this event on. If you want to be a part of the race, please do the right thing and pay your fair share by registering. Those still insisting on “banditing” will be subject to disqualification from all future events.
  • Bib Assignments: Each race has its own bib color assignment: Half and Full Marathon – Green/White, 50K Relay – Light Blue, 50K Solo – Green, 50 Mile – Orange, 100K – Red, 100 Mile – Blue. Numbers are assigned in blocks within those groups and then assigned alphabetically by last name. Because of the complexity and size of the event, it is not possible to reserve specific numbers for certain runners, so please don’t request that. Those participating in the Double Barrel events will receive a bib for each of the individual distances they have registered for. Scroll down to section entitled “Double Barrel runners” for further details. Ultra distance bibs are customized with the runner’s first name if they register by January 31st. If a runner chooses to change distance(s) after this, they will receive a non-personalized bib for their new distance(s). The half and full marathon bibs will display the Pistol Creek Run logo. Bib numbers are typically assigned the end of January and posted thereafter on UltraSignup. Any registration changes after that will have a bib number assigned prior to or at Check-in.
  • Continuing after completion: So…you finished your official distance, but still have lots of gas left in the tank and want to keep going OR perhaps you want to pace someone else? You are certainly welcome to AFTER you have followed the finishing and awards procedures on this page AND removed your bib.
  • Considerations: Make sure you have the appropriate gear. If you have never run an ultra, grab a friend or two and sign up for the relay (which is 3 laps); even though one complete lap is only about 10.3 miles long, you can get an idea of what running an ultra takes. If that’s still too much or you want to run solo, then pick the Pistol Creek half or full marathon. With 8 hours to complete either one, you’ll have plenty of time!
  • Course: You must correctly follow the course for the distance you are registered in. Even though all the races are on the same trail system, each distance has a specific course (differing in number and length of laps), so do not blindly follow the runner in front of you. Any deviation from the prescribed course will result in disqualification. There will be a very large well marked course map posted in the Pistol Corral during check-in. It is a simple linear keyhole course with a lollipop at the far (southern) end. We will NOT be going over it or the signage in the prerace meeting. Its is detailed very well on this website here. If you are not able to accurately follow the information given, signage, marked course directions, and what lap you are on, then this race isn’t for you. It is not the staff or volunteers’ responsibility to know exactly which distance each entrant is doing, how many laps they have completed so far, and what they have left to do. This tracking is your responsibility.
  • Course food: The usual ultra fare will be available: gels (mostly GU and some Honey Stinger), oranges, bananas, hot broth, salty/sweet foods, PB&Js, etc. There may be a few additional surprises. Progressing into Saturday night and Sunday, there will be heated items such as soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, burritos, etc. Specialty items can often be short-order cooked to your specifications, if you have a few minutes. If you need specific food items, you will want to bring them yourself. If you feel like bringing some food to share, we’ll put it on the table for all. There are 24/7 stores nearby (including Kroger and WalMart), if you or your crew need to purchase any special food items.
  • Distance change (up or down) pre-race: Good news! We will let you change your mind. If your circumstances have changed prior to registration closing, simply hop on your UltraSignup account, select this event in your registration history, and edit your distance as needed. If going down, there are no partial refunds. If going up (including changing to a Double Barrel or 50K/Marathon combo), you will need to pay the price difference (from what you originally paid, to what the current price is for the distance you are changing to). After registration closes, and even up through the pre-race check-in, you can still drop down or go up. However, you will need to wait until the onsite Check-in, then go through the line for the distance you are currently registered for and get your bib, etc. THEN come to the Changes/Solutions table and tell us what distance you’re changing to and pay the difference as described above. If you are registered for the half or full marathon and want to go up to an ultra distance, you will need to go directly to Changes/Solutions either Friday or prerace Saturday morning (see check-in schedule here), since the half/full marathon check-in does not open until Sunday morning. NOTE! Since all finisher’s medals and awards are ordered many weeks in advance, we cannot guarantee awards for those changing distances after registration closes.
  • Distance change – going down mid-race: Sometimes things don’t always go as you planned on race day. Sound familiar? Well, we understand and will allow you to drop down to a shorter distance and still be a recognized finisher. How sweet is that? Simply sign off at the timing booth by the start line that you’re done and they’ll record a finishing time for the longest official distance you completed. You will NOT receive any finisher’s award for that distance since you didn’t originally sign up for it. You will also not be eligible for any placement awards. We will list your finishing time in a separate “Unofficial” class. Note that if you change distances from the longer metric course to the shorter miles course or vice versa, the official distance you are scored at may be longer due to the timing verification locations. For instance, if you’re running the 100 miler and complete only four 10 mile loops (40 miles), the official 50K time you are given will be for the next time you crossed a timing mat AFTER 31.06 miles. It could be several miles later.
  • Distance change – going up mid-race: This is not permitted. In addition to other problems it would cause, it would not be fair to those already registered and competing to not know who their competition is.
  • Double Barrel runners: For those who are really ultra-crazy, we offer a unique challenge: the Double Barrel! Combine the daytime 50k, 100k, or 100M with the nighttime 50M for a race you won’t soon forget! You will receive an official time and award for finishing each individual race, as well as an overall finish time and special Double Barrel award for completing the challenge (see Awards page). During the registration process, select either the 50k/50M, 100k/50M, or 100M/50M Double Barrel option. Then when you arrive on site to check-in, go through the 50 mile line to receive both your bibs, one for each distance. You will also receive a single set of swag. Complete your first chosen distance on Saturday morning/afternoon, then change bibs and complete the 50M on Saturday evening. If you think you will finish the first distance AFTER the 50M race has begun, you MUST complete the form at the Changes/Solutions table after you check in on Friday/Saturday morning, but at least 30 minutes BEFORE YOUR FIRST RACE STARTS to request a late start. You MUST also notify the timer after you have completed your first distance, but before beginning the 50M. Your finish times will be based on gun time, and not on your actual start (chip) time. If, for some reason, you cannot finish the race distance(s) you are registered for, simply follow the “Dropping Out” section immediately below.
  • Dropping out or DNFing: Unfortunately, things sometimes happen and you may not be able to complete any official distance. If that happens, please drop out at the start/finish, since we will not have transportation anywhere else. It is absolutely essential that you notify the timing official (NOT a volunteer). Let them know if you are quitting so we don’t go out looking for you – we don’t want to have to call a missing persons report into the police! Simply sign our form that you’re done. During the event, if you accept a car ride, or ride a bike, or scooter, etc… you are out of the race, obviously.
  • Drop bags: You can place a drop bag inside the school in the commons area near the start/finish area, or just support out of your vehicle. You will pass by it on every loop, or about every 10 miles. Parking is located beside the course and is lit at nighttime. There will also be designated open air areas near the start/finish area where you can set up a self support table/canopy/tent, if you wish. These will likely be located on the grass. (See section on Aid Stations.) These sites are first-come, first-served. Store your valuables in your car, out of sight. If you leave items at the school or elsewhere, please put your name on them. You may also place a small bag at the Woody Aid Station if you wish. We do not collect or haul drop bags to any location(s) and are not responsible for anyone’s belongings.
  • Finishing: When you approach the start/finish line for the final time (either as a finisher of your bib distance or because you are dropping out), you must stay to the right and go through the designated finisher’s chute. (If you are dropping out, you must immediately notify the timing official by the start/finish line, NOT a volunteer.) All finishers (including those who are dropping out), regardless of distance, must immediately proceed into the Awards area in the school for your recognition and to preserve your placement.
  • Gear swap: We will have a free gear swap table in the Pistol Corral in the school commons area. Bring any gently used, clean running gear that you are no longer using and would like to bless someone else with. And if you are needing something, be sure to check it out. You can’t beat the price!
  • Guest speaker workshop: Our guest speaker (TBA) will be presenting an optional workshop during the Pistol Expo on Friday, from 2:30-4:00 PM. Stay tuned for more info.
  • Headphones: Our insurance discourages the use of headphones/earbuds, but does not prohibit them. If you chose to wear headphones/earbuds, please use common sense; stay aware of your surroundings and others on the course. If you are situationally challenged, it may be wise to consider using only one earbud.
  • Items left behind: Please ensure that you take all your belongings with you, as we cannot be responsible for retrieving them or mailing them to you. Anything left will be used, donated, or disposed of.
  • Jogging strollers: Runners with a single-occupied jogging stroller are permitted, providing they meet the following conditions:
    1. The guardian MUST notify the check-in staff that they will be using a jogging stroller, and must sign an additional waiver at check-in for the stroller occupant.
    2. Jogging strollers are only permitted during daylight hours.
    3. Runners with strollers must start at the back of the pack for their particular race.
    4. Extreme care must be exercised at all times to prevent the stroller from hitting or impeding anyone else at all times during the entire event, whether before, during, or after the race.
    5. They must stay to the right side of the trail at all times unless and only while passing someone slower.
    6. They must always call out to notify other slower trail users sufficiently before passing them.
    7. They must yield way to all other trail users.
    8. They must not “leap-frog” other trail users.
    9. They must not use any headphones, earbuds, or other listening devices.
    10. If race management deems them to be a hazard or other issue, they must be willing to either continue without the stroller (after transferring it to another guardian) or discontinue the race altogether.
  • Late start: Due to USATF and timing requirements, this is available only for Double Barrel participants. All other late starts are subject to disqualification. If you are registered as a Double Barrel participant, and you anticipate starting the 50 miler late (after 8 pm Sat.), you MUST notify the Changes/Solutions staff at check-in. They will keep a record to give to the timer Saturday morning, before the event begins. You will also turn in your 50 mile bib to the Changes/Solutions staff at this time; a volunteer will hold it at the finish line tent for you. Immediately upon finishing your first distance, you must give your first bib to the finish line volunteer at the finish line tent (who will later turn it into the Awards staff, to give back to you upon completion of your second distance). You must then go inform the timer that you are ready to start the 50 miler, return to the finish line tent, obtain and put on your bib for your second distance, and then upon authorization from the timer, you may approach the timing mats and start. Once you have completed both your distances, come on in to the Awards area and collect your previous bib and all your hard earned bling.
  • Leaving the Course: Runners are not permitted to leave the course or have any type of transportation other than their own two feet (and/or hands!) at any time until after they are finished. This includes going over to the middle school across Lodge Street to take a shower. Leaving from any part of the course and then returning later is not permitted (except as noted below). Any violations are grounds for disqualification.
    • Exceptions:
      • The start/finish, host high school commons area and restrooms, and parking lots adjacent to the high school are considered part of the course
      • You are allowed to sleep in the host high school, your vehicle in an adjacent parking lot, or your RV/tent if you brought one and it is in the designated areas shown on the Parking Map. Just be sure to notify a timing official when you leave the course, and when you return to the course. You must start back at the same spot where you left.
  • Lighting: There are several road crossings, and you will share the trail with bicyclists and other users. The trail is 100% lit. However sometimes some of the lights are not functioning correctly. Also, occasionally there may be a random skunk or other “hazard”, so having a good working light readily available at all times is highly recommended. It will be essential for those running at night time to have a headlight facing forward and/or reflective clothing, so those approaching can see you. A rear-facing red flashing light is also recommended for those running at night time. We don’t want any casualties!
  • Litter: There are garbage cans along the route. Please use them. We want the municipal authorities to be glad they permitted us to hold this event. DON’T LITTER! There is no course clean-up for this race… you are it! Anyone seen littering is subject to disqualification and may be asked to leave the event immediately.
  • Local time zone: All times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST) up through 1 AM Sunday, then it switches to Daylight Savings Time (EDT).
  • Medical: There are two requirements to pass the medical examination.
    • Is your heart beating?
    • Can you fog a mirror?
    • (We’ll take your word on both of these!) There will be no ongoing medical checks; however, there will be a first-aid kit at each aid station. Minor first-aid services can be provided by medical personnel at the start/finish area and Woody’s aid station during Saturday night. If you’re in really bad shape, there is a hospital just down the road. There are some funeral homes close by too! You are responsible for your own well-being. WE DO NOT SUPPLY OR RECOMMEND THE USE OF PAIN RELIEVERS SUCH AS NSAIDs, ACETAMINOPHEN, ETC. DURING AN ULTRA. Bring your own meds, foot care, Hot Hands, Band-Aids, Vaseline, or whatever else you may think you need. (Try to keep it legal though!) There are 24-hour drugstores nearby as well.
  • Night time course support: There may be volunteer course monitor(s) on bicycles that will patrol the course and provide limited assistance, if needed.
  • Pacers: You are welcome to have one non-registered runner pace you at any point, even from the start. Please be sure they park only in the 50K/50 mile designated areas. (See Parking Map) You can bring one (or two… or even three) pacers to the event, but only one at a time is permitted on the course. They must stay with you and wear your numbered pacer bib visible to the front at all times. That bib will only be available to you at pre-race check-in. Be sure to ask for it if you are using a pacer.
    • By signing the waiver and participating in the event, you will assume all liability and responsibility for your pacer(s) at all times during the event.
    • On-duty pacers are entitled to the same support as the registered runners, as long as their bib is fully visible to the front. When changing pacers, be sure the bib gets transferred to the new pacer. Anyone without a registered runner bib or a valid pacer bib, or who is not a registered volunteer for that specific location/time, will not be entitled to any of the event support and will not be permitted in any areas designated for registered event participants during the race. This includes (but is not limited to) aid stations, warming stations, all food and drink support, and any other event-related service or support. (See the section on Bandits below.)
    • Pacers are for mental support, not physical support (unless you fall in the creek!). In other words… no muling!
    • Due to the number of participants during the early part of the race, bicycle pacing will not be permitted during daylight hours on Saturday; only a single pacer on foot is allowed. If the runner has no foot pacer, a single bike pacer per runner will be permitted only during Saturday night and anytime Sunday. Bike pacers will need to have lighting at nighttime (front and rear), use extreme caution, and give right-of-way to all other foot and vehicular traffic. Bicyclists, please adjust front lighting down at nighttime so it does not shine into the eyes of oncoming runners. Bike pacers must wear the numbered pacer bib facing forward and abide by the same requirements as a foot pacer.
    • Our volunteer sign-up site has time slots available for volunteer pacers starting every hour from 9 PM Saturday though 10 AM Sunday. They are instructed to be stationed at the main aid station near the start/finish line. If you need one, ask when you first come through (heading up to complete the short out-and-back past the school). If there is one available, this will give them time to be ready when you return back though a mile or so later.
  • Parking: Parking maps are provided in the Course Maps document. There is free parking at the start/finish and at several points around the Greenway Trail. The 100 mile and 100K runners will have priority parking in the main school parking lots closest to the courses. That way they can self-support out of their vehicle if needed. (Please note: support canopies/tents/generators are not allowed in the parking lot. See section on Aid Stations for where to erect tents/canopies.) There will be a parking section designated specifically for small RVs close to the high school. The 50K, 50 mile, half and full marathon runners will be parked a bit further away in the parking lots to the north on both sides of Lodge Street near the original high school and ball field. Please follow the signage and parking volunteers’ directions. Remember, it will likely be dark when you arrive, so be particularly observant and careful. All vehicles must be removed from the school grounds by 6 PM Sunday.
  • Permitted ages: All ages are permitted in this event. All minors must have a legal guardian present at all times while the minor is participating in the event. Both the minor and the legal guardian MUST sign the waiver. The legal guardian is completely responsible for making sure the minor is adequately trained and prepared for this event, and for their health, safety, and well-being throughout the entire event. We reserve the right to disqualify the minor and remove them from the event if the legal guardian is not present or we feel there is a significant risk for them to continue on.
  • Pistol Expo: During check-in on Friday (2:00-5:00 PM EST), there will be a mini-expo with vendors who have product/service info and possible samples available.
  • Pre-race check-in/packet pick-up (Friday): All ULTRA distances may check in on Friday from 2:00-6:00 PM EST and Saturday 5:30-6:30 AM EDT at Alcoa High School in “The Pistol Corral” (school commons area). The 50 mile check-in can also be done for one hour prior to race start Saturday evening. The half and full marathon check-ins will be for one hour prior to race start Sunday morning. YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO SIGN THE WAIVER AND PICK UP YOUR BIB (INSURANCE REQUIREMENT). NO EXCEPTIONS!
    • While picking up your bib, make sure we have your correct distance, name, address, and other info. You will also get your shirt, swag bag, any other applicable registration add-ons, meal tickets (if purchased), and freebies.
    • For fun, predict your finishing time. How accurate can you be? There will be a marksmanship award for the runner with the closest prediction.
    • If you registered, but can’t make it to the event and want someone else to pick up your swag (not including bib), use the website contact portal to notify us by Wednesday, March 10, 2021. DO NOT SEND THIS INFORMATION BY EMAIL, FACEBOOK, TEXT MESSAGE, PHONE, OR OTHER MEANS. Please provide your registered name, registered email address, registered distance, and the name of the person picking up for you. Then tell them to come through the line and give your name and we’ll do the rest. We’re going to miss you! Please note that your swag, etc. will not automatically be mailed or available after the event – unfortunately, we do not have the staff and funds to do this. However, for just $15 shipping/handling, we’ll send it to you. Just let us know via the website contact portal by Thursday, March 11, 2021. We will follow up with you after the event.
    • If you absolutely cannot make it Friday, there will be minimal check-in from 5:30-6:30 AM EST Saturday before the 50K/100K/100 mile races begin. However, you will miss the final updates from the pre-race meeting as well as the door prizes and other awards given out Friday.
  • Pre-race meeting (Friday): There will be a pre-race meeting at 5:00 PM EST in the Alcoa High School lyceum (just off the commons area). It is STRONGLY recommended that all runners, crews, etc. be there for the final updates. Speaker/author (TBD) will be our keynote speaker for 2021.
    • Pistol Squat contest at the pre-race meeting: Google “Pistol Squat” if you want to see what it is. There will be a demonstration first, and then a 2 minute Pistol Squat contest. Whoever the judge(s) declare the winners (both male and female), will receive their entry fee back in cash on the spot.
  • Pre-race pasta dinner (Friday): During the UltraSignup registration process, you will have the option of purchasing meal tickets ($12 each) for the pre-race pasta dinner in the school commons area from 6:00-7:00 PM EST Friday, March 12. Meat and vegetarian options are available. Additional guests are always welcome to purchase meals as well! Please reserve all meal tickets during UltraSignup registration; only a very limited quantity will be available for purchase on Friday at check-in. The direct link to purchase tickets via UltraSignup can be found here.
  • Pre-race food (Saturday): The indoor food service area, located in the school cafeteria, is called The Pistol Cafe. There will be some fresh bagels, bananas, etc. available to runners starting about 5:30 AM EST Saturday. There will also be water, coffee, chocolate milk, and Tailwind sport drink available.
  • Pre-race preliminaries (Saturday): At approximately 7:30 AM EST inside the Pistol Corral, the Alcoa Schools Superintendent will welcome everyone. There will be a few last minute updates, and checks will be presented to the charities we raise monies for. Then we will move outside to the starting line for the National Anthem, and then the starter’s pistol will fire!
  • Post-race events and awards: Food and drinks (including chocolate milk) are available for all runners and their pacers at the Pistol Cafe from 11:30 AM EST Saturday until 4:00 PM EDT Sunday. All finisher’s awards are presented and pictures taken in the Awards area (inside the school) immediately after race completion (except personalized awards which will be mailed later). Overall placement podium photos will also be taken. All members of the fastest relay team will need to stay until all their team members have finished so a team picture can be taken. There will be USPS Priority Medium Flat Rate boxes and packaging materials available for those flying who wish to mail their awards and avoid potential TSA conflicts. Simply package it up and pay $15 (cash or check) for postage and mailing supplies. We’ll take it to the post office for you after the event. Personalized awards (course record, marksmanship, and 100K/100 Mile finishers plates for stands) will be mailed approximately 3-4 weeks after the event. Please make sure your UltraSignup address is correct; that is where we will be sending it. We are not responsible for any lost or misdirected mail. There are no other formal post-race activities scheduled.
  • Race cancellation: If the event is canceled or postponed for any reason, all entry fees (including donations, merchandise, etc.) are non-refundable. Swag/awards/etc. will not be mailed.
  • Reasons why the 50 miler begins at 7:00 PM: As with most decisions, there are pros and cons. After careful analysis and discussion among our staff, here are some of the reasons why we set it up this way:
    • We want to maintain a comfortable family feel to the race and avoid a “cattle stampede”. We don’t want to overload the course first thing Saturday. This helps us keep the Pistol Ultra a top quality event and a good experience for our participants.
    • We want to maintain a high level of aid station support and avoid overloading them early on Saturday.
    • The Pistol Ultra is a great venue for runners to try something they haven’t done before. Some want to experience running through the night in a “safe” venue, not cut their teeth on some hairy mountainous trail run where their life insurance policy may be needed. It provides a way for these runners to try night running without having to try tackling a hundo right off.
    • It gives the opportunity for some “ultra-crazy” runners to tackle the Double Barrel Challenge: Complete the 50K (or possibly even the 100K!) in the morning, then the 50 miler that night. Successfully finishing the Double Barrel Challenge comes with a really cool award! (See Awards below.)
    • It gives the hundo runners new faces – and 50 miler “pacers” to join them during the night.
    • It provides the opportunity for the 50 milers to run with the hundo runners and learn how to tackle longer distances.
    • It provides the hundo runners with encouragement and additional runners on the course during the night.
    • The staff and volunteers are already in place for the hundo runners, and can handle the additional 50 milers.
    • It helps spread the finishers out more uniformly over the entire event so we can provide more support, encouragement, and recognition to each one.
    • It helps fill in the number of runners crossing the finish line later in the event to keep the energy level up.
    • Registration refunds/deferment: There are no refunds, no transfers of entries, and no rolled/deferred entries. Don’t even ask. It is illegal to transfer your bib to another runner. Doing so will subject both you and them to permanent barring from any of our events. Don’t register unless you understand and agree to these policies. Many of the race expenses are already paid far in advance. Also, shirt specifications, meals, etc. are reserved when your registration is placed. Introducing changes to this information is challenging and problematic. It can cause confusion, misunderstandings, incorrect orders, frustrated volunteers, frustrated runners, frustrated assistant race directors, and a frustrated race director. There is good news though. If your circumstances change and you won’t be able to make it to the 2021 Pistol party, PLEASE cancel your registration via the same platform you registered as soon as you know. It will help with our race day planning. And if you cancel before February 28, 2021, 50% of your registration cost will automatically roll over as a credit towards your entry in the 2022 Pistol Ultra or any other Life Wide Open event. NOTE: Roll over credits are NOT transferable between UltraSignup and RunSignUp. So be sure to register via the same platform if you want to utilize your credit. If you are unable to run, but still available, please consider volunteering. The runners would really appreciate your help and support as they get their run on! It takes a whole village to produce an event this size. Simply sign up here.
  • Relay questions:
    • Relay leg length: Each of the three legs is 10.36 mile long. See course info/maps here. Each leg must be completed by only one team member with the team timing chip.
    • Relay exchange area: There will be an exchange area (marked with orange pylons, crossbars, and sign) adjacent to the start/finish. It is also identified on the Parking Map here.
    • Two-member relay teams: On a two-member relay team, one runner will run two legs, and the other will run one (in any order they decide).
    • Running a relay leg and a solo 50k concurrently: You can run both as a solo runner and as one leg of a relay team (presumably the first leg). You would just need to wear your solo timing chip for the entire race and also the relay team chip for that one relay leg. Then hand it off to the next relay runner at the relay exchange area in the Start/Finish.
  • Restrooms: There are heated restrooms at the school that will be available for the duration of the event. There are also some at a couple locations along the Greenway. (They may be locked during the night.) There are showers available across the road from the start/finish area, in the original high school. There will also be several portable toilets near the start/finish, as well as some at the Lucky Leprechaun aid station and also the Woody’s aid station. (See Course Maps.)
  • Results: Laps will be recorded electronically by bib timing chips. There will be timing mats at the start/finish and at/near each end of the course. Make sure you cross them so your time is recorded correctly. If possible, we plan to have nearly live results updating periodically on the website during the event. Your results will be submitted to and sent to UltraRunning magazine.
  • Runner Aids: Runners and pacers may NOT participate with dogs (or other pets), rollerblades, skateboards, bicycles (excluding volunteer course monitors and pacers overnight Saturday), other mechanical devices, or anything which the race management deems may give you an unfair advantage or be dangerous to you or other participants or users of this trail system. The race management may remove violators from the event. Trekking poles are allowed as long as they are only extended/used when the crowd has thinned enough to ensure they will not be a safety hazard or impediment to anyone.
  • Runner self support tents/canopies: There will be a specific area designated (near the main aid station) for runners to set up their own tables/canopies/tents/personal, self supported warming stations/etc. nearby as well. For exact locations, see parking map. MAXIMUM CANOPY SIZE IS 10’x10′ PER REGISTERED RUNNER. Generators are NOT permitted. First-come, first-served starting after 11 AM EST Friday. Electrical outlets are not available for use. DO NOT DRIVE ANY STAKES INTO THE GROUND – THERE ARE BURIED UTILITIES AND SPRINKLER LINES! You must be totally packed up and gone by 5 PM EDT Sunday. Please clean up after you are done. We have been left with some real messes, broken pop-up tents, etc. by some very inconsiderate people in the past.
  • School property: Please respect the school campus and facilities. Make sure all trash makes it into the garbage cans…even if it isn’t yours. We MUST leave the facility at least as clean as we found it, or we will not be allowed to return in the future! Additionally, only soft-soled shoes are permitted on the interior school floors. No hard-soled dress shoes, cycles, or anything else that could mark the floors. This includes metal chair/table legs, etc.
  • Shirts: Your registration fee includes a good quality long sleeve tech shirt (gender specific) and a hat or visor.
  • Showers: There are men’s and women’s locker room showers available across Lodge Street (located in the original high school). There will be directional signage. You will need to bring all your own shower toiletries. Thank you for leaving the shower areas clean after you’re done.
  • Start/Finish location: Located at Alcoa High School, 1205 Lodge Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Maps are provided in the Course Maps document (or you can plug the address into your GPS.) The start/finish and main aid station will be located directly in front of the Alcoa High School east side entrance. The check-in/expo area (the “Pistol Corral”) will be located in the school commons area. The doors to the commons area are about 100 feet away from the start/finish. Family members, crew, pacers, etc. are welcome to stay inside the commons area or outside during the event (excluding directly on the course or in the runner/staff/volunteer warming areas). There are tables, chairs, and floor space available in the Pistol Corral to use after the race has started. There will be a designated electronics charging table. Typically there is free wi-fi available (limited bandwidth). The school and surrounding outside areas are lit at night time.
  • Start times: Races will begin when the starter pistol fires. Participants MUST start at the official time set for their event. Early starts are not permitted. Late starts are ONLY permitted as set forth in the “Late Start” section on this page. Any violations of these start times/conditions will be grounds for disqualification. It is solely the responsibility of each participant to ensure they are in full compliance with these rules.
    • 50K solo and relay: 6:55 AM EST Saturday
    • 100K and 100 Miler: 7:00 AM EST Saturday
    • 50 Miler: 7:00 PM EST Saturday
    • Half marathon: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday
    • Full marathon: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday
  • Time limits: When the course closes, you must have completed your distance (or dropped) and be off the course. Runners are not officially permitted to officially continue under any circumstance past 4:00 PM EDT Sunday. (You may unofficially continue on your own. See section above Continuing after completion. Here are the time limits for each distance:
    • Full marathon: 8 hours
    • Half marathon: 8 hours
    • 50K (relay and solo): 32 hours, 5 minutes
    • 50 mile: 20 hours
    • 100K: 32 hours
    • 100 mile: 32 hours
  • Timing: Solo runners will be using disposable bibs with the timing chip built into the back. Relay runners will have either a team bib with an integrated chip that they will exchange with team members. In accordance with USATF official sanctioning, all official results, placement, and awards are based on gun time. If you think you will place, start accordingly.
  • Tracking: We expect to have near live tracking available during the race. Of course we can’t control cyberspace and the weather, so no guarantees! The link should be posted a couple days prior on the home page.
  • Trail surface & conditions: It is almost completely paved greenway, with just a few short sections of concrete sidewalk and/or road. For those who prefer a softer surface, there is grass along some of the greenway. Depending on the weather, the paved trail can be dry, or have icy patches (particularly on wooden bridges), or may have snow/ice. If there have been recent rains, or it rains during the event, flooding and/or mud are possible. You may have to detour off the course just long enough to cross over the road overpasses where the trail is flooded underneath. If so, be particularly cautious and yield to all traffic. Be prepared for anything and use extreme caution if the conditions warrant it!
  • Volunteering: It takes an incredible number of volunteers to successfully host an event of this size. Please encourage all your family, friends, and community to come. Everyone’s help is greatly needed. Even registered runners can volunteer and still participate. Typically there are a number of opportunities for children under the age of 12 to volunteer alongside a supervising parent/guardian too. There are shifts available starting Wednesday and running all the way through until Sunday afternoon. Saturday night and Sunday particularly need lots of willing, enthusiastic volunteers! Click here to make your selections. We also have financial incentives for non-profit organizations sending groups of 10 or more volunteers. Email for more details.
  • Water/sport drink: There are limited places to get water along the trail (there are some water fountains, but they may not be functional that time of year; there is also water in the heated restroom facilities) and we will have water/sport drink at the three aid stations: the main aid station, the KTC Lucky Leprechaun aid station, and Woody’s aid station. We are excited to have Tailwind nutritional drink available on the course again this year! Please note: this is a cupless event. In an effort to be environmentally conscious, we ask that you bring your own hydration container(s). You will be helping us save thousands of cups from filling up our landfill. We will have cups starting Saturday night for items such as sodas, soup, hot drinks, etc.
  • Weather: The middle of March can be anything from bitterly cold to balmy, but the most probable weather is somewhere between really cold (20-30°F) with occasional ice or snow, to sunny and warmer (40-60°F). Or it could be miserable (30-40°F with rain). Sometimes we have clear skies….sometimes not. The saying here is: if you don’t like the current weather, stick around for a few minutes… it will change! The record high for mid March is 82°F, the record low is 6°F. The mid-March average high/low is 61°F/39°F.
  • Weather safety: The safety of our runners and volunteers is extremely important. If there is lightning, strong winds, or other potentially dangerous weather in the area, those out on the course or outside at the start/finish area are strongly encouraged to immediately take cover and shelter in place until it is safe to resume activity. Since the course is approximately 5 miles linear, there is no way to immediately extract all runners, or immediately call the race. While the race management will attempt to notify those who are potentially in harm’s way, it is the responsibility of each individual runner, pacer, and volunteer to monitor the conditions and take whatever action is necessary to maintain their personal safety at all times. If such weather happens just prior to the scheduled start of a race, the start of that race may have a weather delay until the race management deems it is safe to start, based on the available information. If the race management determines that the weather delay is long enough, they will announce whether the race cut-off will be extended, or whether the race will be canceled altogether.
  • FINAL NOTE regarding Race Director decisions: While we have tried to plan this all out in advance, there may be changes, perhaps significant ones, that occur with little or no notice. Be prepared for that. Expect the unexpected. This is part of the fun of ultra running. All decisions made by the race director are final. There are no negotiations, no arbitration, and no appeals. The plan is for everyone to work together so we all have fun. But someone has the final say, and that’s the race director (or his assignees).

Race Director:
Will Jorgensen
Assistants: Mary Beth Cates, Gail Jorgensen



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