The Rockin K Trail Runs are held the first Saturday in April at Kanopolis State Park near Ellsworth Kansas.


















PDF version for easy printing   Race and Trail Information 




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The Rockin'K trail run is four interconnected loop trails. These are the Horsethief Canyon Trail, Prairie Trail, Alum Creek Trail, and Big Bluff loops. Horsethief Canyon connects to Prairie Trail at Gate #1; Prairie Trail connects to Alum Creek Trail at gate #2 ; Alum Creek connects to the Big Bluff loop at gate #6. A simplistic description of the run is that you are going to run the north half of each loop going out, and the south half of each loop coming back. The first Rockin'K loop is the marathon loop. All runners will complete this loop. The 50-mile runners will run the course a second time, taking Alexander's cutoff at gate #4 in the Alum Creek loop. On the second loop the 50-mile runners will not run the full Alum Creek loop. Please take note that Alexander's cutoff is to be run only during the second loop, and only by 50-mile entrants. 

Gates: There are about 10 gates that you will go through during the Marathon loop. These are large welded metal gates.  Some of the gates are blocked open, others you will have to open yourself, and close behind you, or you can climb over. Please close gates behind you. The wind can damage unblocked gates. Some of the gates have number signs on them, some do not. The numbers on the gate signs correspond with the numbers on the map. Some gates are new and have no number signs and these gates are not on the map.  So when you get to gate #2 it will be the third gate you get to, the second gate is not on the map and does not have a sign on it either. Gates #1, #2, #4, and #6 are of special importance. These gates interconnect trails. You should take care that you are following the proper trail when you go through any one of these gates. The trail splits on both sides of gates #1, #2,and #6 so pay attention to which trail you are following. Gates #1, #2 and #6 are the only gates that you will go through twice each on the marathon loop, two more times each if you are in the 50 mile. Gate #4 is where the 50-mile runners take the cutoff on the second lap. All of the other gates are one way; you will go through them once on the marathon loop and never see them again. The 50 milers will go through them again on the second loop.

Signs: There are a few signs on the trail,
HORSES ONLY ----- We have permission, as part of our event permit, to use HORSES ONLY trails. Ignore this sign.
CLOSED TRAIL ---- there are several trail sections closed due to erosion, we are not running on any CLOSED TRAILS, if you do you are lost.
RESTRICTED ACCESS - This is up at Indian Rock to protect the petroglyphs from vandals. If you see this sign you are well off trail and lost.
RESTRICTED AREA - This sign is up along the trail behind the eagle hack towers. The trail is open to the public, but stay the hell away from the eagle hack towers.
PRIVATE LAND - you will be running by lots of signs attached to the fences that say PRIVATE LAND, or PRIVATE PROPERTY. This means the other side of the fence is a private ranch. If you cross the fence you may find out how fast a bull really is.
WILDLIFE REFUGE, WATERFOWL REFUGE - Certain areas are closed to the public from November through February during the migratory bird season. This is not in effect now. Pay no attention to them.

Rules: General trail running rules apply.
1. Horses have the right of way, they are bigger than you are, a startled horse could run over you. Give the riders a yell a long way before you overtake them, they will generally get off trail for you.
2. If you go off trail, backtrack until you find a marker, then run the trail, do not cut the course, I don't care how many extra miles you did, if you do not run the course you do not finish.
3. Notify Stacy if you drop. If we call search and rescue, we will send you the bill. DO NOT notify Phil of diddly, he doesn't remember, notify Stacy. If you do not know who Stacy is, you better find out!
4. 50-mile runners switching to the marathon. If you want to switch to the marathon, Stacy has to know on Friday night. DO NOT tell Phil, he won't remember, notify Stacy. If you switch to the marathon on Friday you will be allowed to compete for overall awards in the marathon, if you toe the line as a 50 miler on Saturday and complete the marathon we will give you a completion and your time, but you can not be in competition for any marathon awards. 50 milers completing the marathon are separately listed. (Our fastest times have historically been 50 milers on the first loop)
5. Late starts ---- timing starts with the race clock, i.e. if you start at 8:00am you will have an hour on the clock, we will time early starts separately. If you start early, or start late, you are not allowed to compete for an overall award.
6. Do not come whining to us if you get a ticket for not buying a day use permit. You drove by at least two signs that told you to buy one. Our event permit does not buy you, or us, entrance into the park. We have to buy vehicle permits too. The ticket and court costs are a hell of a lot more than the $5.00 for the permit. (This price is subject to change and may be more or less on race day, we will try to have a price listed as the race gets closer.)

Course Markings:
You will follow red/white checkered ribbons all the way out to the manned aid station at the Gate #6, you will follow yellow all the way around the Big Bluff loop. When you get back to Gate #6 you will follow yellow /red stripe ribbons all the way to the finish. 50-mile runners will take Alexander's Cutoff on the second loop and follow the pink ribbons starting at gate #4, they will follow pink to the gate #6 manned aid station.  There are numerous other markings on the trail. Pay no attention to these; the horse riders put these up. Ours ribbons are checkered red/white, red/yellow stripe, pink or yellow. The trail crosses itself once in Horsethief Canyon, then again at gate #1, then in the Prairie Loop at the water crossing below Red Rock Canyon, and then at gate #2 and several times at Gate #6. When it crosses itself you will be running by both checkered red/white ribbons and red/yellow stripe at the same time. Pay attention, if you have not reached the manned aid station at Gate #6, stay with red/white, if you are coming back in stay with red/yellow. When I put out markers I tried to put them up so that when you passed one ribbon the next marker would be in view. I started marking trail Monday, the wind, animals, etc. will have knocked some down by now. Some will have become frayed and short. In any case you should never have to run more than a couple of minutes without seeing a marker. The trail is overly marked. If you see markers spaced every couple of feet I am trying to warn you that there is some kind of trail crossing happening. Be aware that you take the correct fork. The trail in Horsethief Canyon is the most confusing. There are many side trails and intersections and it is heavily used by riders and hikers, so there are many paths. You follow this trail first going out and it is the last section coming back in. The Prairie Loop trail is more primitive, the riders use it, but almost no hikers get that far. There are less side trails to get lost on. The Alum Creek loop is locked out for half the year, not many riders get on it, and no hikers. It is very primitive in places. You will be following game trails, cattle paths and such. In places the trail is very, very light, you will be running from marker to marker across the prairie. There were no improved trails in the Big Bluff area until we cut them. It is very rocky in places; there is a lot of grass covering the rocks, keep your eyes open for markers. We will have several fence crossings in the Big Bluffs loop. I have placed army blankets over the barbwire strands at the places you need to cross the fences. The top strand has been taken down; please step over the fence there.  The blanket will protect your hands and clothing from the barbs. For those folks unacquainted with crossing a barbwire fence, simply push down on the blanket, it will "give" enough for you to step over.

Crews:
Crews/handlers are also welcome at the Gate #6 manned aid station, however Gate #6 is not accessable by vehicle. Park on the road at the range gate and walk up the fence line, the aid station is about 100 yards beyond the top of the hill. Large cattle ranches bound the trail. There are no other vehicle access points. You will see your runner twice each loop at Gate #6, once coming in from Alum Creek, then when they come back out of the Big Bluff Loop. You can also meet your runner at the Hunter Access Parking Lot during the first loop, the trail runs to within ten feet of the parking lot. The fifty mile runners will not pass the Hunter Access Parking Lot during the second loop, 50 mile handlers/crew will have to walk in to gate #6 manned aid station to see their runner. If it should happen to rain, the road to the Gate #6 fence crossing becomes very bad, very quickly, in wet weather. If it rains, we ask crews that they not come out to the Gate 6 aid station. If you drive out you will need 4-wheel drive and a high clearance vehicle and it is at your own risk. If you should become stuck we will give you a cell phone to call a tow. We have runners to take care of; you are on your own if you proceed down this road if it is wet. Pacers/mules are allowed on the second loop of the 50-mile run. Stacy has to know ahead of time for safety reasons.

Drop bags:
There will be drop bags at the Gate #6, and the shelter house. There will be marked locations in the shelter house for you to place your bags. Please mark your bag on the outside with your name and number, drop location and race. We will be periodically returning bags to the shelter house through the day. If the volunteers do not know which race you are in, or whom the bag belongs to they will leave your bag out until the race is over. We will have tape and markers available if you need to mark your bags. 50 Mile runners, the cutoff is 5:00pm leaving Gate 6 the last time.

Toilets: There will be a camping style toilet at the Gate #6 aid station.

 The guy on the shirt in the water  is a replica of a petroglyph, there is Indian rock art on all four trails. The petroglyphs in Horsethief Canyon have been destroyed by graffiti artists, the Indian Rock petroglyphs site in the prairie loop is off limits to the public, there are also Indian graves close to the our water crossing below red rocks canyon. There are a few petroglyphs along the bluffs on Alum Creek, and Big Bluffs too.

Race Numbers: Your race number is on a cattle tag and you can keep this tag and re-use it each year, there is a $5.00 discount on the entry fee if you re-use this tag. You must use the color of tag for the race you are in, white for the marathon and red for the 50-mile. All tags are non-transferable; you cannot sell or give this tag to another runner.

Phil Sheridan - RD