Big Changes For The North Face Endurance Challenge California

Its new route incorporates classic trails and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The North Face/Ultra Race Photos
The North Face/Ultra Race Photos

Registration is now open for The North Face Endurance Challenge California 2017, but the eleventh running of the series is going to look a little different. For starters, the date has been moved from the first weekend in December to November 18-19. For another twist, instead of beginning and ending at Fort Barry, the races will now begin in Sausalito and end across the Golden Gate Bridge in Crissy Field.

According to race director Nick Moore, the changes came after new rules were put into place by the National Park Service (NPS) with regards to use at Fort Barry.

“After some rule changes by the National Park Service in 2016, we went through a lengthy review process, and eventually had to make changes to the event,” says Moore of TNF EC California. “There are definitely more logistical challenges for putting on this new format, but I think the event will be amazing.”

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The new date is a result of the NPS and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) wanting to avoid events the first weekend of every month. It also means participants will be in post-race recovery mode when it’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving!

The 50-mile, 50K, marathon and half-marathon courses will begin in Sausalito and follow much of the same routes through the Marin Headlands as previous years, before taking runners across the Golden Gate Bridge to finish in Crissy Field. Incredible views from the bridge should help runners rally for the final, challenging push to the Finish Line Festival. Those running the marathon relay, 10K and 5K will run a new route through the Presidio and begin and end in Crissy Field. Moore and his team are working with the NPS, GGNRA and California Park Service to put the finishing touches on the routes. The official courses will be announced July 1.

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Even though some aspects of the event are different, the $30,000 prize purse remains, with each first place male and female finisher at TNF EC California Gore-Tex 50 Mile going home with $10,000, each male and female second place finisher earning $4,000 and $1,000 for each male and female third place finisher. The North Face also recently signed the Clean Sport Collective pledge, and is committed to having the events in the Endurance Challenge Series being clean, drug-free competitions.

Hayden Hawks, who came in second at the 50-mile race in 2016, will be on hand to race the new route. Jim Walmsley and Tim Freriks also have it on their calendars.

To register, go to the official race site here.