Course Maps

The Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon features over 20 miles of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT), a former railroad line turned rails-to-trails.  The Altra Tobacco Road Half Marathon includes 8 miles of the ATT and overlaps with the southern portion of the marathon course. Both races start and finish at the USA Baseball/Thomas Brooks Park.  The course is mostly flat with only gradual inclines and declines ending with a fast downhill finish.  Typically, as many as 18% of marathoners qualify for the legendary Boston Marathon, and all runners benefit from that fast course and ideal temperatures (averaging in the 40's and 50's Fahrenheit).  It is a great setting for your personal record; we even have a bell for you to ring and celebrate your BQ or PR at the end!

Note:  While the course is called a "trail," it is NOT a trail like an unpaved single-track course.  It is more like a greenway and is wide enough to pass other runners throughout the course.

Both courses are USA Track & Field (USATF) certified.  (Certification numbers - Full Marathon 13106NWHalf Marathon 13105NW).  They start together and share the same paved road for slightly over two miles.  Upon reaching the American Tobacco Trail, the full marathon turns north and the half turns south.  For the Full Marathon, the north leg is a paved greenway with crushed granite on the side which gives runners a choice of surfaces to run on through mile 14, returning to the point where the two courses diverged.  From there, the two distances share a surface of crushed granite "compacted screenings," and both end returning the two miles to the finish at Thomas Brooks Park.  The races begin at 7:00 AM, and the course closes at 2:00 PM providing seven hours for either distance.  A total of up to 4000 participants will run these events.

Course Highlights:
  • Full and half marathon run the same course for 2.5 miles to and from the American Tobacco Trail (ATT)
  • Full marathon has 21 miles on the ATT and the half marathon has 8 miles on the ATT
  • Boston Qualifier (Typically 18% of marathon participants)
  • Mostly flat with only gradual inclines and declines...and a downhill finish that help runners achieve their fastest times
  • Few turns and minimal vehicular traffic on the course
  • Bell at the finish line to ring when you finish with a Personal Record or Boston Marathon qualifying time!

About the The American Tobacco Trail

The American Tobacco Trail is a recreational rail-trail located on an abandoned railroad corridor of the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Constructed in 1906, the original railroad traveled from Duncan to Durham near the New Hope River, transporting tobacco leaf from farming communities in Wake, Chatham and Durham counties for processing at the American Tobacco Company in Durham.

Construction of Jordan Lake in 1971 necessitated moving a section of the railroad corridor (from Bonsal to southern Durham County) several miles eastward, onto higher ground. Railroad traffic decreased after this time due to competition from interstate trucking. One of the last major uses of the railroad was to haul materials for the construction of the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant near New Hill. With the railroad no longer in use, the tracks were removed in 1987

Local residents began using the rail corridor as an informal recreational trail, and in 1989, a group of citizens organized the nonprofit Triangle Rails To Trails Conservancy to promote the development of the corridor into a managed rail-trail. The N.C. Department of Transportation purchased the corridor from the railroad company in 1995 and subsequently leased the corridor to the counties to be developed and operated as a recreational trail open to the public.

It was officially named the American Tobacco Trail to reflect its historical roots, and planning and construction of the trail began. The trail is being built in sections, the first of which opened in 2001 in downtown Durham. Wake County opened its first, 3.75-mile section, from New Hill-Olive Chapel Road to Wimberly Road, in 2003. Wake County opened Phase II of the American Tobacco Trail in July 2005, extending the length from 3.75 miles to 5.5 miles. In 2006, the remaining one-mile section in Wake County was completed to fully extend Wake County's portion of the trail to 6.5 miles. Additionally, Wake County added a trailhead that accommodates 45 vehicle and 10 horse trailer spaces. Two restroom facilities were added to New Hill and White Oak trailheads.

Read more about the American Tobacco Trail.

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