Hocking Hills Indian Run 2015 (Ohio)By Yvonne On Saturday morning 19 September 2015, my husband drove with me to the Hocking Hills State Park (in Logan, Ohio) where I would be running the Hocking Hills Indian Run near and through the Hocking State Forest. This event offers 5k, 10k, 20k, 40k, and 60k distances. I've done the 5k and 10k in the past. I chose to do the 20k distance this year. Barefoot, of course . We arrived at the Dining Lodge, where I quickly checked in and claimed my t-shirt and bib number. The 20k distance starts at the Lodge and uses individual start times, but all runners have to start by 11am and I was nearly out of time! With a look of uncertainty, the starter asked if I was running without shoes. "Yes" I said, "I always run barefoot." He wished me luck and counted down my departure. I left as a single runner, and did not see another participant until over half a mile in. I caught up with him and passed him on the road, and then a couple shortly thereafter (I startled them a bit as I quietly approached and stated that I was going around them). I passed another guy going up Steel Hill (limestone road, steep uphill climb half a mile long), then a pair at a water stop, and a single runner after that before mile four. Eventually (around mile 9) I saw a teary-faced lady sitting injured(?) at the side of the trail on her smartphone (I paused and asked if she was ok, she said yes), and the only other runner I saw was a guy I passed nearing the finish line. My point is not that I passed people (they could have been on the last loop of the 60k for all I know!) or that I was fast (I wasn't!), but rather that there were less than a dozen runners left on the course so it was a quiet individual run for me . Such beautiful scenery, serene and meditative (at least until I reached the more touristy sections where there were hikers to navigate around...still pretty landscape, but not so tranquil). I could have cut a chunk off my race time if I hadn't paused to take pix so much LOL! This is a really hilly course - The total elevation recorded as 1747 feet and elevation loss as 1773 feet. It offered a variety of surfaces and obstacles: asphalt, grass, limestone, dirt, stones, gravel, pine needles, moss, rocks, roots, and of course hills of all sorts. Interesting, stimulating, and challenging at times, but no problems and no injuries for me (although I would NOT recommend this for a newer barefooter!). A few comments were made about my bare feet...one was an onlooker at the campground ("Barefoot?! Now THAT'S an Indian Run!"), another was from an earlier racer hiking afterwards ("Did you ditch your shoes or did you start off that way?" I replied I started barefoot. She said something like "Wow, nice, good for you!"), and various short comments from people like "hardcore", "cool", "amazing" and such. Always good when the reactions seem positive! The weather was great for my run, mostly sunny and about 79 degrees with a bit of wind and 50-something percent humidity. Storms were forecast, but the rain held off until we were on our way home. My official time for this 20K was 02:17:53, average pace of 11:06/mile (grade adjusted pace about a minute/mile faster)…nothing amazing by any means. However, it was my first experience with this particular course (I hesitated at times to confirm where I was going, even briefly turned onto the wrong trail once ), and I routinely run hills but not usually any this long and/or steep on a regular basis. And I ran the race entirely barefoot despite the technical/challenging terrain. I look forward to the Hocking Hills Indian Run again next year! Let me take you on a little tour:(ie, some pix/captions of my experience) After starting on asphalt parking lot and running up a road through the Cabins area, there was a short stone path, then grassy paths. The limestone road ahead was next. There is a guy in the distance that I passed later down the road. I approached this limestone access road cautiously...it was a combination of crushed and whole stones...I quickly discovered I had no problems running on it. Rolling hills along the road, with this long windy section going downhill consistently for half a mile! After half a mile downhill, the course turned off the road and immediately crossed a bridge and went up Steel Hill. This is a stony dirt road, uphill for half a mile! After Steel Hill, there was about a mile along an asphalt road. Then the route turned on to Queer Ridge Trail in Hocking Hills State Forest...nice grassy path, just had to watch for pine cones and roots. Trail through Hocking Hills State Forest. After the trails through Hocking Hills State Forest, there was about quarter mile along an asphalt road, then back onto trails at the Cedar Falls area. Up Gorge Overlook Trail near Rose Hollow, going towards Rose Lake. Trail next to Rose Lake...LOTS of roots. Rose Lake, AKA Hocking Hills Reservoir Looking back down the trail behind me. Steep uphill climb, lots of loose rock! No problems navigating barefoot This was new (since my last visit here) - stone tiers/steps leading towards the A-Frame Bridge (ahead on the left) at Old Man's Cave area. After crossing the A-Frame Bridge and passing the Naturalist's Cabin near the Visitor's Center, it was on to an asphalt path leading up to the mile-long ascending final stretch along the road to the Dining Lodge and the finish line.... My feet immediately after crossing the finish line...dirty, but perfectly fine!