Mountains-to-Sea Trail 12M & 50K Challenge

April 5, 2020

50k start @ 7:00am   |   12-mile start @ 8:00am


Join us for the 11th annual MST 12M & 50K Challenge! The race course will follow beautiful single track of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) as it winds through the woods around Falls Lake in Raleigh, NC. The 50Km starts at 7AM and the 12M starts at 8AM.

The 12-mile course will be a point-to-point run starting at the end of Bayleaf Church Rd. and finishing at the Falls Lake dam. The 50-km course will be an out-and-back run starting and finishing at Blue Jay Point Park and turning around at the Falls Lake dam (same location as 12-m finish).

The MST, part of the NC State Park system, stretches 1175-miles across North Carolina from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smokies to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks. More than 500 miles of the official trail are now complete, and with temporary connectors on back roads people can now hike across the state.

Race proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail who, with the help of dedicated volunteers, build and maintain the MST trail throughout the state as well as advocate and educate the importance of maintaining and securing our natural resources.

The MST 50-Km Challenge  (7:00 AM START) is an out-and-back run starting and finishing at Blue Jay Point Park in Raleigh. Parking will be available at the park for 50K participants and spectators. The run will turnaround at the Falls Lake Dam (same location as the 12M finish). There is an 8-hour time limit for the 50K event.

The MST 12-Mile Challenge  (8:00 AM START) is a point-to-point run starting at the trailhead at the end of Bayleaf Church Rd. and finishing at Falls Lake Dam. Shuttle vans will transport you from Falls Pointe Plaza (shuttle pick up is in front of KOHL’S) to the start area and from the finish line back to your vehicle.

First, a lot of fun! You can expect that we will setup a great course, provide a well marked course, stocked water stops, and accurate results. We will do our best to make sure you enjoy your experience. If you have a suggestion please email it to us…we love to hear from participants and spectators.

This is a trail race…very different than a road race. You will be exposed to many obstacles you would not normally see in a road race. The course is a single-track hiking trail, so there are roots, rocks, quick turns, logs, woodland critters, and possibly water to avoid. There are plenty of aid stations and volunteers on the course, but if it’s a hot day or if you think you need more fluids, we highly recommend carrying your own.

We ask that you do not run with your dog, run with an unregistered pacer, run with headphones, run with a jog stroller, and, of course, do not litter on the trail.


6 + 13 =

Register & Volunteer

The 2020 race has been canceled due to COVID-19. All registered participants will receive an email with details and further instructions. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Race Logistics

4/4/20 – Packet Pick-up @ Bull City Running from 1:00-5:00PM (12M & 50K)
**50K Runners MUST pick up packets on Saturday!**
4/5/20 – Packet Pick-up a@ 12M Race Start (12M Only)

ALL 50K participants are required to pick up their packet on Saturday.
YES, someone else CAN pick-up your packet for you, but you must check-in at the race start on Sunday.

Aid Stations
Aid stations and crew access points will be located approximately every 3 miles on the course. Water, ROCTANE (electrolyte replacement drink), GU energy gels, and basic first aid supplies will be available at all aid stations. Plenty of food and refreshments will be available at the 12-M finish (which is also the 50K turnaround) and at the 50K finish.

Drop Bags
Drop bags and labels with your bib number will be distributed to all 12M and 50K participants. You will receive these when you pick up your packets. Bring your drop bag to the start of the race with any shoes/clothes/etc. 12M participants will claim their drop bags at the finish. 50K participants will be able to access their drop bags at the turnaround and again at the finish. No valuables or personal bags, please.

Parking & Accommodations

Parking Directions for 50K Participants:
Plenty of parking is available at Blue Jay Point County Park. Follow the Event Parking signs after you enter the main gates to the park. PLEASE NOTE: The park opens at 6:00AM on Sunday. Gates will be locked before this time. Please do not arrive before 6:00AM. Race will start at 7:00AM. NO RACE-DAY Packet Pickup is available for 50K runners.
Restrooms are available inside the park.
COURSE MAP details all race locations.

Parking & Shuttle Directions for 12M Participants:
Shuttles will take runners from Falls Pointe Plaza (park at North entrance to KOHL’S) to the start area beginning at 6:15am. The shuttle to the start will take approximately 15 minutes. The last shuttle will leave Falls Pointe Plaza at 7:30am sharp. Restrooms are available at the start area (end of Bayleaf Church Rd.). Packet Pick-up will be available for 12M runners only at the start area from 6:30-7:45AM, but pre-race pickup is highly encouraged.
COURSE MAP details all race locations.
The shuttles (15-passenger vans) will pick runners up in front of the north entrance to KOHL’S.
Note: Runners may be dropped off at the start area, but no parking is permitted.

Directions to Falls Pointe Plaza (Corner of Falls of Neuse and Durant Rd. Please park on Durant Rd. side of Kohl’s.)
Directions to the 12M start area
Directions to the 12M finish area

Hotel Accommodations near Race Start
Hilton Garden Inn
Holiday Inn Express

Camping Options
If you are interested in maximizing your outdoor experience, there are two camping locations in the Falls Lake Recreation Area: Shinleaf and Holly Point campgrounds. Please check the website for details and reservations!



Awards Categories:
A finishers award will be presented to all race finishers. In addition, the following awards will be given:

  • Top 3 Overall Finishers, M/F
  • Top Masters Finishers, M/F

Team Challenge:
If you have five others running, you can register as a team. No additional cost, just added fun. Team with the lowest combined score for all five finishers wins. Scoring: points will be scored for overall finish per gender – so if a male finishes 13th overall for men and female 10th for women the score would be 23. No awards, just bragging rights! Teams must be registered before race day.