What’s the Smoky Mountain Relay all about?

A scenic, wild, team adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the Smoky Mountain Relay is an adventure that is not to be missed. This course will challenge you and your friends with tough legs and reward you with stories to last a lifetime. Choose from the original 206-mile course or the shorter 140-mile course, which was added in 2019.

The 200-mile course begins at the Pink Beds Trail Loop picnic area just outside of Brevard, NC in the Pisgah National Forest. Teams of 12 or “ultra” teams of 6 make their way through 36 legs and finish at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC.

The 135-mile course begins at the Jackson Country Recreation Complex in Cullowhee, NC. Teams of 8 or “ultra” teams of 4 make their way through 24 legs and also finish at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC in the heart of the Nantahala National Forest. Each relay team member runs between 3 and 6 legs (depending on the course chosen and the number of team members running) of varying lengths and difficulty and will cover an average total distance of 18-20 miles (for the 200 mile race).

Pink Beds Picnic Area

Leg 9

Deep in the Smokies

Leg 34 ~ Swinging Bridge

Nantahala Outdoor Center

How Does It Work?

Runners are members of a 4, 6, 8, or 12-person team.

A typical 12 person team will split into two vans/vehicles each carrying six runners. Each runner will run three legs of the relay over approximately 30 hours, and each runner will run an average 18 miles.

Legs vary in distance, elevation, and terrain. Captains should assess their runners and assign legs wisely.

Each team receives a “Race Bible” with maps and all key information. Teams also receive small printed turn by turn flip books for each leg to use on the course if they wish.

The vans hopscotch each other through the night with one van of runners sleeping, and the other van of runners continuing the race. Runners continue through the night, with the inactive van driving ahead to a major exchange to rest and refuel.

There are members of the Smoky Mountain Relay “Posse” at each exchange, often with Wilderness First Responder training for your assistance. There are NOT COURSE marshals at every turn or at intersections. This is a 200-mile + course and you need to be cautious and aware of the map you are following. We do have signage all along the 200 miles.

Runners receive medals, a race t-shirt shirt, a pint glass, bragging rights and more great running stories than you will believe.

Counting down the minutes until we see you again!

Big planning for 2022!



“This was my first (of hopefully many) years running the SMR. It was fantastic! It was a breathtakingly gorgeous course, well marked and well organized. What a great weekend – spending time running and hanging out with awesome folks!!” – Emily J.

“This is a super fun relay through some of the most beautiful areas in the Southeast.

You like hills? you’ll love the SMR!!” – John D.

“This race is one that I HAVE to run every year! Beautiful scenery, tough course, wonderful atmosphere. Our team starts talking about the next one as soon as we finish!” – Matt R.

“From marathons to Ironman triathlons, SMR was the most fun endurance event I’ve ever done – and the hardest.  Run the steepest, longest hill you can find. They run it 10 more times. This will be fair training.

To the race director – BRAVO on creating the course. I can’t begin to imagine how you put this crucible together but it provide some incredible views during a majority of the race. Such a well organize and well run event.” ~ Jeremiah C

“Fantastic event. If you have a cool team to run this with it will be worth the training and time you put in. There are some super tough legs on it. The smokies are no joke.” ~ Ethan S

“SMR newbies with a team comprised of members from three states! Truly an epic adventure.

Just one tip, run lots of uphill training miles, and then run some more. Amazing!!!” ~ Ian M

“This race is absolutely amazing.

The course takes you through some of the most beautiful areas in western NC and will test even your strongest runners!

The spirit of friendship and community will keep you going.” ~ Caroline L

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