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The vision for the Ondessonk Trail Race event came to trail runner and Camp Ondessonk alumnus Tim Slape on a Labor Day morning in 2010. He was not at Camp for the annual Labor Day Friends Weekend, but on his home running route in St. Louis with Ondessonk on his mind. In the spirit of promoting healthy and active lifestyles, Tim thought about how he could bring his joy for trail running together with the place he and so many others loved. Tim envisioned introducing people to the beauty of Ondessonk’s natural wonders by inviting them to run its trails. Tim envisioned creating an event that would not only promote wellness in celebrating a connection with the great outdoors, but would also bring outdoor enthusiasts together to support Camp Ondessonk, a non-profit summer camp that serves thousands of children each summer.
Tim contacted Dan King, Camp Ondessonk’s executive director, who was intrigued by the idea of a trail run among Ondessonk’s sandstone bluffs, lakes, waterfalls, and tree-house cabins. Dan suggested combining the race with Camp Ondessonk’s annual Fall Festival so that runners could bring the whole family along to enjoy a weekend of community and fun in the woods. Tim contacted fellow trail runners -and friends of Ondessonk- Evan Coulson, Beth Beazley, Caroline English, Kate Albrecht, and Jennifer Rheinecker, who jumped at the idea to help get the first race underway.
Tim utilized Ondessonk’s Moccasin Gap Trail as the route for the first trail race. A 10-mile historic trail used by horseback riders and hikers to explore the beauty of the surrounding Shawnee National Forest, the Moccasin Gap challenged and delighted runners. In the years that followed, a 3-mile section was added to the route to grow the race into a half marathon.
A 5K that winds along the trails and through the cabins of Camp Ondessonk is also offered each year to bring people together to enjoy the crisp fall air and the excitement of connecting with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts actively exploring Ondessonk's natural wonders.
New for 2018! So iLL Racing has partnered with the Missouri Running Company to bring you the Mo iLL Grand Slam! What is the Mo iLL Grand Slam you ask? Its the only the greatest challenge in midwest trail running available! Its 4 races in 2 days. If you run the Shawnee Hills Marathon at Camp Ondessonk on October 20th followed by the 5k, 10k and half marathon at ToT Tso'i in Jackson, Mo on October 21st, you become a Grand Slammer! And no not that big breakfast meal at Denny's. But yes that is 48.6 miles of trail bliss! To sign up for the Mo iLL Grand Slam just sign up for each of the events and we'll sort you out. For more info on the ToT Tso'i events go here: https://ultrasignup.com/ register.aspx?did=55482
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