Race Description

The Rat Snake, a unique challenge in honor of Dr. Ken Stalter with 4 race options:

  • A reverse triathlon consisting of a 18K trail run, a 29 mile bike, and a 26 yard swim.
  • Team Triathlon
  • 18K trail run
  • 3K Jog/stroll

View the Race Course

Continue reading below for a full description…

The Rat Snake is a physical and mental challenge honoring a great man…Dr. Ken Stalter.  Ken inspired many people by his personal example.  That example? Pushing himself to be the very best he could be at all endeavors, with no help, with no exceptions.  This challenge is a tribute to him and his unique drive to succeed.  Through this challenge, you will be given the opportunity to imitate his determination.  Because of these attributes, Ken made everything seem possible no matter how hard the race/challenge was that he entered and he instilled this feeling to all who came into contact with him.  Take a look at your choices below.  Do not be intimidated by anything this challenge throws at you… as the point of this weekend is to remember a great man who loved a good challenge just to finish it.  And you will see, as all of us who have been inspired by Ken have seen, that the feeling of completing these kinds of challenges are what Ken was all about.  “Perpetual forward movement” was always his advice.  Here is YOUR chance to experience that.  To read more about the “whys” of the race, please check out Ken’s Tribute page.    Please read below or listen HERE for a detailed description of all 4 options available on race day!


Ken in the Furnace Creek 508 “He has won the Lifetime Achievement Award…twice”

The race will be held on the weekend after Mother’s Day every year at Gilbert Lake State Park in Laurens, New York.  The park will be open to all competitors starting that Friday. The race will start on Saturday at 8am. Gilbert Lake State Park provides a beautiful venue for this race format as it has challenging trails, access to excellent roads, and a pristine lake with plentiful campsites that have full bathroom and bathing facilities.  You will be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking venue that accommodates such unique needs of a race such as this in New York State or the Northeast.  For information on how to volunteer or enter the race, please refer to the REGISTRATION page.

“Sharks have a week dedicated to him”

Ken Ice Climbing at Lake Willoughby, VT

The Rat Snake Challenge Choices:

There will be a CHOICE of 3 DIFFERENT challenges for all competitors on race day.  First, you can test yourself in this uniquely styled reverse triathlon.  Running specialists can pick the 18K trail race that will challenge your back-country running skills in Gilbert Lake State Park’s nature trails, as a stand alone race.  Lastly, you may enter a team of 3 competitors of any gender or combination of gender.  All races will be totally self supported.  With the choice of the race being run in a reverse triathlon format, being run as a stand alone trail run, or working to complete the challenge as a team, there being  a fairly challenging course, and with the challenge being totally self supported, it will truly be a testimony to Ken’s spirit; a race in which you can fully participate.

Ken on the Summit of Mt. Everest in ’08 “He lives vicariously through himself”

The run for both the reverse triathlon and the trail run will be the same 18 kilometer trail course with many rocks, roots, dirt, mud, grass, water crossings, and some pavement.  It will be a 2 loop track that will allow athletes to store fuel in a special needs area so that they do not have to carry all of their energy needs during the run.  With the course being 2 laps, it also makes it spectator friendly as the athletes will venture out of the woods 2 times passing the beachfront area where the start/finish will be located.

Ken at IMLP “He once taught a German Shepard how to bark in Russian”

Triathletes will continue on to the bike portion which will be a one loop, 29 mile course that will prove to be very challenging (Course Map/Elevation Profile).  Once you leave the park you will head downhill for a few miles.  Soon you will reach a cutoff road, Balantic Hill,  to route 205.  This is a quick taste of some of the grief to come.  Once down a quick decent, you will then head to 205 southbound.  Here, you will find the course’s longest stretch of “flat” terrain.  You will then turn onto route 23 west and begin a subtle climb for about 8 miles until you reach the top of a very long decent.  At the bottom, you should be totally rested, and you will need it.   After you make a right in Morris onto route 51, you begin a slow climb on undulating roads.  4 miles or so down 51 you will turn right onto route 12.  What wil about to happen will not be pretty.  Once you have survived, you then have the luxury of a downhill finish back into the park.  Again, there will be NO aid stations. The bike portion will be TOTALLY self-supported.

Thirdly for the triathletes, their challenge will finish with a quick 26 YARD swim in Gilbert Lake as a simple out and back of 13 yards each way.  No wetsuits allowed!

If you have chosen to be part of a team, you will be one of 3 participants.  You get to chose your challenge of the full Rat Snake course.  Each loop of the run course will be run by 2 different athletes.  After the first runner completes the first loop of the trail run, she/he will swap out with the second runner.  When the second runner finishes the second loop of the trail run, he/she will swap out with the biker who does the WHOLE bike course by her/himself.  All team members must do the swim portion, touching the buoy together, and crossing the finish line together.

For those who do not wish to race, participants have one other option on race day.  Adults and children alike will have the opportunity to do a 3K jog/stroll around scenic Gilbert Lake.  It is a dirt path with some rocks, depressions, and a slight uphill.  This course will be a two loop adventure for all.

Please stick around after your event as there will be FREE BEER and PIG ROAST FOR ALL!!!!!!  This kind of gathering is what it is all about…remembering Ken!!!