Cougar 4 course marking details email

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: Course marking for Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series race #4
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2019 02:32:41 +0200
From: Eric Bone <>
To: catherine leigh <>, Uli Steidl <>, Nikolay Nachev <>, Dustin Hinkle <>, Bradley Papineau <>


Hi everyone,

Thank you for marking the course for the fourth race in the Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series!  This is a PNTF championship race, with prize money for top-placing runners in both open and masters categories.

I’ve prepared course marking maps (and uploaded them to the website), one showing the division among the course marking sections, and one for each of the four separate marking sections (one each for Uli and Nikolay, and two for Dustin and Brad):

Whole course:
Dustin & Brad:

The maps show what signs go at each junction.  Minor junctions without signs should still be marked using pin flags and confidence streamers.  If the map indicates the use of a white streamer with a sign, it usually means that the sign should be placed in the middle of the trail, with the streamer tied off at an angle to the opposite side from the one the runners will turn toward.  This is done to make it less likely that a runner who is daydreaming will run by a sharp turn.  Care should be taken to leave space for other trail users to still get by.  If it has been a while since you’ve course marked or haven’t done it solo, please review the Northwest Trail Runs course marking guide (attached) to familiarize yourself with proper use of the course markings.  Basically, signs, streamers and pin flags should be placed to be as visible as possible (in the trail rather than off to one side) without actually being in the way of the path the runners need to take.

The course marking supplies will be grouped into sections, labeled for you, and staged in the back of the trailer, which will be parked near the start in the field near Sky Country Trailhead.  Nikolay, I’ll message you the combo to the lock on the back door.

Brad: Kati or Dustin will let you know this evening what time to meet Dustin to do your section.  Uli plans to mark in the afternoon, and Nikolay plans to mark starting in the evening.

A few notes on potential problem spots:

1. [Dustin and Brad’s Red Town section] – The 26-mile course comes just a few steps short of all the way out to the Red Town Trailhead, passing near the portable toilet there.  This section can be confusing to mark and has been marked incorrectly a couple times in the past, because the trail map doesn’t represent that area correctly.  There is a bridge crossing of the creek just before a left turn toward Red Town Trailhead and a right turn at the trailhead onto Red Town Trail (an uphill gravel road.)  If that part is done correctly, then the rest should fall into place.

2. [Uli’s section] – Left turn from Quarry Trail onto Fred’s Railroad Trail: The pin flags for this left turn should be placed low to the ground and hidden behind objects (vegetation, fallen logs, etc.), so that they are clearly visible to runners coming up Quarry but not easily visible to runners heading south on Fred’s Railroad (in the early part of the course).  When the pin flags have been visible from above in the past, a few runners have backtracked the course by turning down Quarry Trail.  The signs and spray chalk should of course help with this, too.

3. [Uli’s section] – This is not indicated on the map, but a straight arrow sign should go where Fred’s Railroad meets Clay Pit Road to guide the 26-mile runners across the road onto Klondike Swamp Trail.

4. [Dustin and Brad’s Shangri La section] – Left turn from Shangri La Trail onto Surprise Creek Trail is on a fast downhill, so be sure to put the arrow sign in the middle of the trail with a white streamer tied off to the right to grab runners’ attention.

5. [Dustin and Brad’s Shangri La section] – Right turn from Surprise Creek Trail onto No Name Trail could be easy to miss, so place the right turn sign as visibly as possible and almost in the way of anyone who would continue downhill on Surprise Creek Trail.  Be sure that the clothespin streamers are very attention-getting and within easy view when at or closely approaching that turn; you may need to put a stick or pin flag in the ground to clip one of them onto, because I think there may be no good plant branches/limbs to clip the clothespin onto.  I think the next right turn may have similar issues.

6. [Dustin and Brad’s Shangri La section] – The right turn onto W. Tibbetts Creek Trail is somewhat sharp and comes right after a left bend in the trail, so there is less time than usual to react.  The arrow sign should be placed somewhat in the way for anyone who would run down Bear Ridge Trail (which is the path of least resistance.)

7. [Nikolay’s section] – The right turn onto Wilderness Creek Trail just before the bridge usually gets a white streamer tied off to the right arrow sign.  This is not noted on the map.

8. [Nikolay’s section] – The left turn arrow sign in the middle of Wilderness Creek Trail is for a place where the trail goes toward a more open area in the forest with some rocks, and it would be easy for runners to go straight into this area rather than follow the trail, if there were not a sign there.

9. [Nikolay’s section] – The right turn arrow sign toward the bottom of Wilderness Cliffs Trail is for a place where there is an unmapped but very distinct trail going off to the left.  It is pretty close to a T-junction, so it would not be very clear at all without the sign there.

10. [Nikolay’s section] – Put the U-turn sign in the cone about 5-8 meters before the pavement at highway 900, so that runners are not tempted to run into the road.

11. [Uli’s section] – The part from the opening in the fence near Nike Horse Trail through the field to the finish line gets marked by a corridor of red pin flags about 2.5 meters wide.  The path is not exactly straight, so the pin flag corridor won’t be exactly straight, but try to make it a bit straighter than the path, so that it makes a clear visual line when runners are looking along it.  A straight arrow sign (not shown on the map) goes several steps after the fence opening to direct runners across the field.

Here are course marking lists, broken down by course marking person/group and section.  Please check your markings against this list when you pick them up from the trailer, so that you can verify that you’re picking up the right stuff and that it is all there.  Yellow arrow sign quantities allow for one or two extra of each type per marking person/group.

Uli (park at Sky Country Trailhead): Start marking at the start and mark everything (including the 5k cutoff on Cougar Pass) up to the junction of East Fork with Fred’s Railroad, except the Shangri La loop (but place the yellow left arrow signs at the start and finish of that loop), then mark south on Fred’s Railroad up to an including the junction with Quarry, then mark from there north and back to the finish.

135 lime/yellow pin flags — for 14-mile route turns
24 pink pin flags — for three 5k turns: Klondike to Cougar Pass; Cougar Pass straight at A-A Ridge junction (rejoins 14-mile); East Fork to Fred’s Railroad
14 orange pin flags — for 26.2 mile turns that are not part of the 14 mile route (into and out of A-A Peak loop)
50 red pin flags — for marking a corridor to the finish through the field at the end
130 clothespin streamers
roll of white streamer
1 can spray chalk
spike and mallet
1 medium-sized cone (for left turn arrow sign onto Klondike Swamp in the middle of Clay Pit Road; put the sign through the hold in the cone).  There may already be one at this spot.

Yellow arrow signs:
L – 10
R – 7
S – 7
Soft R – 1

Special signs:
3 x 14 & 26 mile STRAIGHT (Klondike Swamp at junction with Cougar Pass; place first two on opposite side of trail from 5k right signs and third one leaning diagonally to the left and next to the 5k right sign on the far side of the junction)
6 x 5k RIGHT (3 at Klondike Swamp to Cougar Pass; 3 at East Fork to Fred’s Railroad.  One goes about 20m before the junction, one about 3-5m before, and one on the far side of the junction, so that it is visible to a runner standing in the junction)
5k ONLY – 1 (~40m up Cougar Pass from Klondike Swamp)
5k STRAIGHT – 1 (Cougar Pass a meter or two before the junction with A-A Ridge)
3 x 26 mile LEFT (2 at Lost Beagle to Tibbetts Marsh toward Shangri La loop off A-A Peak; 1 at Tibbetts Marsh back onto A-A Ridge and main 14 mile route)
2 x 14 mile STRAIGHT (at Lost Beagle to A-A Ridge)
1 x 26 mile ONLY (on short segment of Tibbetts Marsh connecting to Shangri La loop)
3 x 14 & 26 mile LEFT (at East Fork to Fred’s Railroad, opposite side of trail and paired with 5k right signs)
1 x 26 mile STRAIGHT 1ST, LEFT 2ND (Fred’s Railroad at By Pass, just before crossing of Clay Pit Road onto second loop)
1 x Aid Station (for Clay Pit Road aid station)

Nikolay (park at Highway 900): Mark Squak Mountain Connector Trail from Highway 900, Wilderness Creek, Long View, Deceiver, Shy Bear, Far Country (up to but not including the junction with De Leo Wall), then run Indian Trail to start marking again after the junction up Quarry (up to but not including the junction with Fred’s Railroad), Shy Bear, Wildnerness Peak, and Wilderness Cliffs Trails.

110 lime/yellow pin flags — for 14-mile route turns
14 orange pin flags — for two 26.2 mile turns onto and off off Squak Mountain Connector Trail to/from Highway 900
115 clothespin streamers
1 roll of white streamer
1 can of spray chalk
spike and mallet
1 medium-sized cone — to draw attention to the U-turn sign at Hwy 900

Yellow arrow signs:
U – 1 (for Hwy 900 turn-around and aid station on 26.2 mile)
L – 7
R – 7
S – 3
SL – 1
SR – 1

Special signs:
2 x 14 mile STRAIGHT (at Wilderness Cliffs to Wilderness Creek trail, junction with Squak Mtn. Connector)
1 x 26 mile ONLY (on Squak Mtn. Connector)
2 x 26 mile HARD LEFT (Wilderness Cliffs to Squak Mtn. Connector)
1 x 26 mile SOFT LEFT (turn from Squak Mtn. Connector back onto Wilderness Cliffs)
1 x Aid Station (for Cougar Pass, between Left turns in and out of Wilderness loop)

Dustin & Brad (park at Red Town, then at A-A Peak): Mark 3.6-mile section from Red Town Trailhead (and run the linking segment on Indian Trail to start again with the two close-together left turn arrow signs going from Far Country to De Leo Wall); be sure to mark the 14-mile cutoff to Indian Trail where the 26-mile goes left to Red Town. Mark 2.5-mile Shangri La loop at A-A Peak Trailhead, not including junction of Tibbetts Marsh Trail with A-A Ridge Trail (which Uli is marking.)

80 yellow pin flags
140 orange pin flags
150 clothespin streamers
1 roll of white streamer
2 cans of spray chalk
2 spikes and mallets

Yellow arrow signs:
L –  11
R – 15
S – 8

Special signs:
2 x 26 mile LEFT (at Marshall’s Hill to Wildside toward Red Town Trailhead)
1 x 26 mile ONLY (on Wildside, just after split with 14 mile, but far enough away so as not to distract 14-mile runners that make the correct turn)
2 x 14 mile RIGHT (at Marshall’s Hill to Wildside toward Quarry)
1 x 14 mile ONLY (for Wildside Trail about 30-40m after right turn by 14-mile course from Marshall’s Hill Trail) – not shown on map
1 x Aid Station (at crossing of road to De Leo Wall water tank)

When you finish marking your part, you should have one or two extra of each sign (except for the soft left and soft right signs and the special signs).  Of course if you find an extra place that you feel needs the sign, then you can place it there, but be careful not to break the signs, as we’ve only given you one or two extra of each.

Okay, I think that’s everything, but let me know if you have any questions.  Have a good time on the trails, and thank you so much for your help!


Eric Bone
Owner and Principal
206-291-8250 (m)
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