Highball to Thurmond Ultra & Relay

Race through New River Gorge National Park on Sunday, May 21, 2023

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Beat the Train to the Finish Line!

Celebrate your 50 Mile finish with a scenic train ride back to the start line.

All Aboard!

Race Through New River Gorge National Park

The highball was a signal used in early railroads to signal the track was clear. When the ball was hoisted, trains were cleared to proceed! We are raising the ball on this unique 50 Mile & 55K event and encouraging athletes to proceed on this epic destination trail race adventure. Participants will run through New River Gorge National Park and finish in Thurmond, West Virginia. With a population of 5 at the 2010 census, it is the least populated railroad town in the nation. Participants can choose to take the train back to the 50 Mile start line. The train leaves at 6:59 pm and the last call whistle will be at 6:45 pm! 


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$125 7:00AM EDT Registration ends May 21, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT

50 Mile - 14 Hour Limit - No Awards

$140 4:45AM EDT Registration ends May 21, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT

50 Mile - 12.75 Hour Limit - Awards

$140 6:00AM EDT Registration ends May 21, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT

50 Mile Relay

$85 6:00AM EDT Registration ends May 21, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT

50 Mile & 50 Mile Relay

The 50 Mile starts at 4:45 AM EST in Montgomery, WV, 50 Miles from the finish line, giving athletes enough time to catch the train! The train leaves at 6:59 PM EST with the last call whistle at 6:45 PM EST. This course is a mix of paved road (about 12 miles), awesome mountain dirt roads, and gorgeous trails with a spectacular view through New River Gorge National Park. With about 6,000 feet of elevation gain, athletes will certainly have earned their finishers medal, post race food, and awesome awards.


The 50 mile relay can be run with 2, 3, or 4 people. With 5 relay hand off points, athletes can run it in any order and run as many or as few legs as they want as long as each member of the team runs at least one. 

55 Kilometer

We have added a fun and scenic 5 kilometers to the previous 50K course for a few reasons: we can add two additional aid stations and our 55K runners get to see the mines in 2023! We also moved the start earlier to give the 55K’ers more time to enjoy and finish this awesome event.


This will be a full daylight event starting and finishing in Thurmond, WV. Other than the first and last miles, this course takes participants completely along the New River Gorge Trails. With 2,000 feet of elevation gain, this course is both manageable and challenging. This trail 55K is well aided, extremely well marked, a great tune up race, and a beginner-friendly ultra with a very reasonable cutoff time! Finish before the train leaves to earn your medal, post race food, and awesome awards.

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What's Included in Registration?

  • Highball to Thurmond finisher medal
  • Custom 2023 Highball to Thurmond Ultra shirt
  • Race photos
  • Unique awards for top 3 overall men and women, age group awards, and the top 2 person, 3 person, and 4 person relay teams.
  • Well stocked aid stations along an epic & well-marked course
  • Opportunity to add-on a train ticket
  • And more!

View 2023's Race Swag

2023 Shirt Design

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$20 Highball to Thurmond Training Plan Option

These 16 week training plans start on January 29, 2023. Coach Becki of Spellman Coaching will reach out to you within 72 hours of purchase. Plans include: 

  • Choice of beginner, intermediate, or advanced 50 Mile or 55K plans. 
  • Access to two virtual clinics with Coach Becki and Race Director Rich
  • Weekly core and resistance band workouts to help improve strength and stability. 
  • You will have the option to download workouts to Coros or Gamin watches. 
  • Option to upgrade to personal coaching at 20% off 

Meet Coach Becki

“HiI!  I am Becki Spellman, I have have been coaching since 2006. I have coached all levels, from those taking their first run, to High School, College, and Elite level athletes.  I love helping people of all abilities see the potential in themselves, I see in them.  Getting to be a small part of people's journey and watching them achieve their goals is a passion of mine.“

View Plan Details

All Aboard! Cleared to Proceed in...

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