Barkcamp Race (OH): Run or hike! Ultra, marathon, half marathon, + scenic trails. Prepare for a fun & challenging race at Barkcamp State Park.
Ready to add a fun trail race to your race schedule?
It’s time to explore the heart-pumping fun of The Barkcamp Race. Nestled in Barkcamp State Park in Belmont, Ohio, this trail race challenges runners of all levels with winding forest paths, scenic overlooks, and the thrill of running in the heart of Ohio’s natural beauty.
Whether you’re a dedicated trail enthusiast or a road runner seeking a fresh adventure, The Barkcamp Race is a fun experience and one of my favorite Ohio trail races.
Here’s what you need to know.
What to expect from the Barkcamp Race
The Barkcamp Race directors understand running isn’t a one-size-fits-all challenge.
That’s why they offer a range of distances to accommodate everyone, from seasoned ultramarathon runners to those dipping their toes into running for the first time. I’ve run the half marathon twice now and plan to run it regularly as long as possible. One day, I plan on diving into the ultra marathon.
Who knows, maybe you’ll join me!
So, here’s what you can expect from the Barkcamp races:
- Ultra marathon: This trail ultra covers all the park’s best trails and consists of 3 loops.
- Trail marathon & half marathon: The most popular options. The half marathon includes one trip around the park, with the marathon having two.
- Half marathon, 5k & 10k road races: Perfect for those new to running or enjoying shorter distances.
Barkcamp Race route highlights
The Barkcamp Race isn’t just about crossing the finish line.
From the moment you drive into the park, everyone is welcoming and excited to have you as a part of the race.
The beautiful scenery and trails are just a bonus. Plus, if the weather is right, you get some gorgeous trails. Lots of single track, dodging and weaving between trees. Open meadows running alongside the trail as you go through the race. And supporters along the way cheering you on toward the finish.
Did I mention I love this race?
Here’s what you can expect from the course:
- Winding single-track trails: Narrow paths wind through dense forests demand focus and agility as you navigate roots, rocks, and other natural obstacles. Occasionally, it’s rainy, adding a layer of difficulty.
- Tranquil forests: The park is away from highways and major roads. So you enjoy the sounds of nature (and your thoughts) as you run.
- Varied terrain: The course switches up the challenge for your brain and muscle groups from rolling hills to slightly technical climbs and descents.
- The historic Barkcamp Dam: Add a touch of local history to your race as you run past the scenic Barkcamp Dam, which is why the beautiful lake in the park’s center exists!
Preparing for the race
Whether you’re a seasoned trail runner or new to the sport, preparing for The Barkcamp Race will make your experience even more rewarding.
Here are some key tips to help you cross that finish line feeling strong:
- Train on trails: The Barkcamp race is hilly but has flat sections where you can open your stride. So it’s important to train for hills and speed to do well and have fun.
- Invest in proper footwear: It can get muddy if it rains. And with the race in early October, there’s a good chance that happens. Pay attention to the weather and choose the right shoes.
- Practice your technique: Learn proper uphill running and downhill running techniques. This maximizes efficiency, reduces injury risk, and helps you confidently conquer tough climbs.
What to do beyond the race
You don’t have just to run the race and then bolt out of town.
Sticking around and exploring the area (or the park itself) is worthwhile if you have the time. With the historic Wheeling, WV, nearby, and other state parks, you can make a trip out of your race experience. I grew up in this area, and there’s plenty to explore and see while you’re here.
Here’s what Barkcamp and eastern Ohio have to offer:
- Camp under the stars: Pitch a tent at the park’s campground for a relaxing outdoor getaway.
- Explore nearby towns: Discover the charms of Wheeling, WV, with its vibrant riverfront scene, or seek out even more trails at Salt Fork State Park.
- Fishing & relaxation: Cast a line in the park’s lake for a relaxing way to unwind after your race.
Ready to Register?
Head to The Barkcamp Race website to register for the race and secure your spot on the starting line.
I run it as often as I can. So, if you run the race because you read this article, seek me out and say hello! I’d love to know your thoughts on the race and the environment.
Hope to see you on the start line.