Luton Park, Rockford
Here is the course map.
Luton Park is a favorite of many trail runners, one of the most well-thought out designs of any trail in the state. You’ll cruise along rolling terrain, fly across fast flats and challenge a few short and mostly curvy ascents/descents. These hills are designed with a flow that allows for momentum on the downhill to carry you a ways up the next uphill. You’ll run through scenic hardwood and pine forests, across fields, along marshes and over pretty Rum Creek three times.
Choose from a quarter-marathon (one 6.55 mile loop, slightly longer than a 10K), half marathon (two loops) or full marathon (four loops). You will be racing the green, blue, black, and red loops. These loops add up to the 6.55 distance we need, are less muddy than the others, are a little more challenging and prettier too in my opinion.
The aid stations are tentatively at 1.4, 4 and 6.55 miles (start/finish). Water and Gatorade. Salty snacks and fruit (and lunch if you want to eat it during the race) is also available at the 6.55 mile start/finish station.
The course will be marked with flags at intersections or any areas that are not clear. The vast majority of the trail is a clear singletrack path. The trail offers plenty of opportunities to pass with a verbal heads up to the person in front of you. Look for an opening, give notice and go.
For those of you familiar with the course, we expect only one change. At the end of Red we plan to use the new extension that follows the ridge above Blue and drops down only as the trail approaches Green. This probably adds 100-150 feet of distance.
The course is considered moderately hilly with roughly 580 feet of climbing over the 6.55 mile loop (because GPS was used to calculate elevation, some degree of inaccuracy should be expected). The elevation gains shown below look like mountains but they are only 30-40 foot hills with a gradual incline. Expect lots of small, flowing ups and downs The flat areas represent the Blue “hub” loop which you return to after doing Green, Black and Red. It’s nice to have this breather and provides flat, wide ground for the three aid stations on the course.
The trail is hard-packed dirt with limited trip hazards and no sand. The trail was built by the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance and other local volunteers over a three-year period and 1,500 hours of hard work. The trail design utilizes International Mountain Biking Association trail building techniques to minimize erosion and create an incredibly fun, flowing feel. The park’s stacked loop system is built on 285 acres. It is a trail for runners, mountain bikers, hikers and snowshoers.