One of the most uniquely named races in the world, the Upchuck features some very tough climbs and primitive trail running. The race is point-to-point on the Cumberland Trail, north of Chattanooga along the Cumberland Plateau, starting on Leggett Road and finishing in the city of Soddy-Daisy. It was founded on the experience of two local runners who were on a weekend training run. They stopped at a convenience store about halfway through the 31-mile route. Runner A ate lightly while Runner B ate heartily. Soon after, Runner B proceeded to disgorge his meal on the trail, while Runner A watched in disgust. The Upchuck is a no frills, no-wimps run capable of pushing even experienced trail runners to their limit.
What Makes It Great
The course is divided into 3 sections by the Cumberland Trail Conference: the Rock Creek, Possum Creek and Soddy Creek sections. The run begins by paralleling Rock Creek where you'll cross a series of bridges before reaching an 80’ fiberglass bridge over the creek. You are then forced to climb out of the gorge using a ladder and switchbacks. The trail keeps climbing into a pine forest until you reach Retro-Hughes Road and AS1. Cross the road and get back into the woods to begin the Possum Creek section.
You twist and wind your way down to Little Possum Creek before arriving at your next landmark, a concrete bridge. Back into the woods on your right after crossing the bridge and Imodium Falls awaits, followed by a climb to Perkins Point and finally a winding descent to Big Possum Creek. It is then just about 1.5 miles to AS 2, Jones Gap Road.
Make a right turn on the road and head for the overpass, where you'll cross the highway and turn right to go down next to the oncoming ramp. Watch for signs and get back into the woods. This is the Boardcamp Creek section, passing through what was once an old strip mine. The running is scenic and easy until you begin another descent and climb in and out of Soddy Gorge. Once you get across Big Soddy Creek (a bridge may or may been built by then), you are almost home. At the next road, Hotwater, go left on the pavement and down into Soddy for the finish.