Annual marathon returns to beautiful Bizz Johnson Trail
Oct. 5, 2011 — Running through the heart of Lassen County, the Bizz Johnson Trail will once again be host to hundreds of runners from around the country with some in the hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
This year’s marathon will take place Saturday, Oct. 8, through, Sunday, Oct. 9, and already has more than 250 runners signed up for the event.
Many runners set personal records at the marathon partly due to the descent of the trail. Though many qualify for the Boston Marathon, note that the course altitude ranges from 4,200 to 5,600 feet.
Sunday’s marathon will begin at Mason Station outside of Westwood and travels through the scenic Lassen National Forest.
The first few miles of the course climb 280 feet through the forest to Westwood Junction, then it’s all downhill to the finish at Hobo Camp in Susanville, with a 1,300 foot descent over the final 20 miles of the course.
The trail follows the route of the old Fernley and Lassen Branch Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad built in 1914.
Roughly two-thirds of the way through the race, runners will enter the Susan River Canyon where they will enjoy the views of orange cliffs and cross the river 10 times on the infamous wooden railroad bridges that has become a staple on the Bizz.
About four miles from the finish, racers will get to pass through two old railroad tunnels, 800 and 450 feet in length.
There are three different half marathon races to choose from in addition to the marathon.
Saturday’s express half marathon does the second half of the full course beginning at the Goumaz Trailhead.
Both the marathon and express half marathon have a remote start and runners will be bussed to the locations. There is a $15 charge for the bus ride but runners can opt out of the extra cost if they have someone to bring them to the remote start.
All participants are asked to park in Susanville. There is no parking area in the remote start areas for both races.
The half marathon and 10 KM on Sunday starts in Susanville and makes a loop to end in Hobo Camp.
The 10 KM uses the last three miles while the half marathon uses approximately the last quarter of the full marathon route.
The express half marathon will have four aid stations throughout the course with the marathon, half marathon and 10 KM having aid stations at every two miles.
All races will begin at 9 a.m., with bib and shirt pick-ups for the express half marathon from 6 to 8 a.m., Saturday. Bib and shirt pick-ups for the 10 KM half marathon and marathon are from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday. There are bib and shirt pick-ups for the marathon from 6 to 7:45 a.m. and for the 10 Km and half marathon from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m., as well Sunday of the race.
All pick-ups will be done at the Susanville Railroad Depot and Visitor Center.
The bus will leave for the remote start locations at 8 a.m. Saturday for the express half marathon and 7:45 a.m. for the marathon on Sunday.
Walkers are welcome at any of the races but there are time limits on each race.
There is a three-hour time limit for the express half marathon, a two-hour limit on the 10 KM, a three-and-a-half hour time limit for the half marathon and a six-and-a-half hour time limit for the marathon.
In addition to the marathon, the annual Rails to Trails Festival presented by the Lassen Land and Trails Trust will be in full swing from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Depot. The festival will be followed with handcar rides and caboose tours of the depot from 12 to 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 9.
From 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, there will be a dinner at the Diamond Mountain Casino and Hotel. Cost for the dinner is $18 pre-register or $25 at the door.
The menu for the night (subject to change) is spinach ravioli covered in marinara sauce with Asiago cheese on the side, spaghetti with marinara sauce and meatballs on the side, vegetables lightly grilled, green salad with dressing on the side, garlic bread and chocolate brownies.
For information or to signup for the dinner, call (877) 319-8514 or go to diamondmountaincasino.com.
For more information on the marathon, costs to participate and to signup, go to coastaltrailruns.com/bizz_johnson.