The Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon, a marathon that has grown to be one of the largest trail marathons in the country, is one of two trail marathons that are certified as Boston Marathon qualifiers. The Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon’s inaugural race took place in 2004, attracting around 500 participants—an astounding number for a marathon taking place in such a remote area (85 miles away from Reno, where the closest airport is located). That number has grown each year with both novices and experts flying in from all over the country to participate.
The Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon is popular for the beauty of the trail’s scenery and the tranquility of its setting. Set on an old Southern Pacific Railroad route (converted to a trail in the “Rails to Trails” program) connecting two old logging towns, the race takes runners over 26.2 miles of lush wilderness and offers a wide, packed dirt road that makes running easier on the legs than traditional trail races. Though the whole trail provides appealing panoramas, runners often cite the last six miles of the race as the most magnificent of the stretch- runners cross the Susan River over rustic wooden bridges and run through old railroad tunnels lit by old miner’s lanterns. If they are lucky, runners will also catch glimpses of the abundance of wildlife that make the Susan River Canyon their home.
From the Bizz Johnson Trail’s starting point in Westwood (where runners sing the national anthem together), to its ending in Susanville, every need of the race’s participants are met with enthusiasm and support. Unique Aid Stations offering water, Gatorade, gels, fruit, energy bars and more provide a refreshing oasis every two miles. This support, organization and unyielding professionalism of the race organizers combined with the gorgeous scenery make the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon a great favorite among those who participate.