The course is entirely on THE Uwharrie Trail. There are many trails in the Uwharrie National (Pile O'Rocks) Forest, but "The Uwharrie Trial" is 20 miles long, runs mostly North/South, and has few intersecting trails.
So really, the only thing you need to know about the course is this:
Maybe left, maybe right, and sometimes not at all.
If you don't see any blazes, stop. Walk backwards until you see one. People often loose the trail, so don't feel bad if you do.
You will not see any other course markings or mile markers. Ignore the yellow blazes.
If you really need a map, here you go:
Fun with GPS
I found some GPS recorded tracks from people who ran the 40 Miler in 2008 and 2009: weezyl, loomdogruns, chickdhc. Hopefully they know their Garmin data is public. The one from Weezyl shows that he did it in 6:37, so obviously he was riding an ATV or a mountain goat (Thanks Joe!)
Here is the Google Earth KML track. With this you can plot the course on a satellite map and get this:
Not too exciting or informative. But if you play around with the perspective and crank up the elevation x3 you can make it look like it traverses actual mountains. This helps inflate our ego to "hard-core mountain runner" status.
Next is the obligatory elevation profile:
GPS visualizer, using USGS data. So it is accurate.
Here is what we learn from this:
- It does not even reach 900ft. So it is a "Mountain" run in name only
- It does goes up and down a lot. (About 8200 ft worth)
- There are some steep (30%) climbs, notably the very start and around mile 16.
- The 8 milers miss out on that "flat" section between 10 and 13.
Of course, this needs to be put in perspective. so lets compare it to an actual mountain race.
Comparing the Uwharrie Mountain Run to the Blue Ridge Marathon.