The Idea:

The story of The North Face Endurance Challenge Series begins in 2006.  During Dean Karnazes’ quest to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 consecutive days, otherwise known as The North Face Endurance 50, the idea of the Endurance Challenge Series was born.  Following the momentum of the Endurance 50, The North Face sought to build lasting relationships with runners by creating an authentic experience with The North Face brand.

The Early Years:

Launched in 2007, The North Face Endurance Challenge Series committed to pushing runners to their personal limits of endurance, while promoting the sport of ultra-trail running, a sport which is predicated on enjoying physical activity in nature in a safe and responsible manner. Courses were designed to challenge even the most experienced runners, while enhancing the philosophy of minimal impact with the beautiful scenery each event location had to offer.

In its first three years, the Series hosted single-day trail running events offering four race distances: 10K, Half-Marathon, 50K and 50 Mile. The menu of distances was designed to expose newcomers to the world of ultra-trail racing, while simultaneously providing a platform for elite ultra-marathon distance runners to push their limits on the trail. The Championship event held in San Francisco, CA, in December introduced the largest prize purse in the sport of ultra-trail racing ($30,000 total), offering $10,000 to the top male and female runners in the 50 Mile distance, which still stands today as the largest pay out in the sport.


The North Face Endurance Challenge Series quickly became one of the most popular trail running event Series, with five sold-out events across the country.   The Series introduced a second day of racing to the 2010 schedule in an effort to accommodate the extensive waiting lists.  Race capacity doubled allowing more runners to take on the challenge.  In addition, the Endurance Challenge introduced four new distances to the Series offering:  Marathon, Marathon Relay, 5K and the 1K kids race.


The North Face Endurance Challenge is North America’s premier trail-running series that features two-day, trail-running festivals in six locations across North America: New York, Washington, D.C., Ontario, Wisconsin, Utah and California. In 2014, the Series added events in Utah and in Ontario, Canada, the first-time international expansion of the North American Series. In 2017, the Series expanded its presence in New England with Massachusetts hosting the newest addition.

In addition, The North Face Endurance Challenge Series is quickly becoming one of the most popular International trail-running series outside of North America, with additional events in several Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru.

Still known for its challenging, yet scenic courses, the Endurance Challenge offers a variety of race distances for runners to choose from: 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, Marathon Relay, Marathon, 50K and 50 Mile. Each stop offers a unique trail-running experience for athlete of all skill levels, from the rolling hills of Wisconsin, to the technical surface of New York’s Bear Mountain, to the steep climbs and descents of California’s Marin Headlands.  

The North Face Endurance Challenge. Explore your trail. Endure your challenge.