Pine Cone Pacer

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have canceled our annual Pine Cone Pacer 5K race in April 2022. Updates on possible alternative events on Duke’s Alumni Weekend will be sent via our newsletter.

Only happening once a year each April, 150 runners gather in woods near Durham for an incredible running experience through the teaching and research laboratory known as Duke Forest. This fun 5k course is one of the most scenic runs or walks in the region.

Sponsor the Pine Cone Pacer

Six overall prizes and eight age division prizes are awarded. Every racer will receive a registration bag filled with goodies, and numerous prizes will be raffled off. No one walks away empty-handed! Are you up for the challenge and the fun?!

Already registered?
Sign your waiver (online this year!)

2020 Race Info


Registration opens on February 10th on this page. Pre-registration is $25 and guarantees you a freshly designed, properly sized T-shirt!  Pre-registration closes at the end of the day on Monday, April 6th.  Day-of registration is $35 (Cash and checks ONLY!) but we expect to sell all 150 registrations before the race. Please check this website the night before the race. Please note that T-shirts and sizes cannot be guaranteed for Day of Registrants.

Race Details

  • Date: Saturday, April 18th, 2020
  • Check-In & Day-of Registrations Opens: 7:15 AM
  • Check-In & Day-of Registration Closes: 7:45 AM
  • Race Starts: 8:00 AM

Pine Cone Pacer Adverse Weather Policy and Notification Timeline

Directions and Parking

The Pine Cone Pacer will take place in the Durham Division of the Duke Forest, located just off of NC-751. Check-in and race start occurs inside Gate 12 (Google Map link). 

Directions and parking information ››


The Pine Cone Pacer is a beautiful and challenging 5 kilometer (3.1 mi) run through the Duke Forest. Though many runners will be running to try to match their best time, many of our runners and walkers will choose to take it slow and enjoy the many landscapes of our Durham Division.

Learn more about the course and see a map here ››

All runners will be timed according to their bib number thanks to our friends from Carolina Godiva Track Club. It is important to arrive early and ensure you bibbed up, stretched out, and ready to “run the cones”. Note: for those very serious about their times, there may be momentary delays at the crossings of 751 for safety from oncoming traffic.

A Special Invitation to Duke Alumni

Duke Alumni, we plan the Pine Cone Pacer every year on Reunion weekend so that you can enjoy a fun opportunity to get out in your Forest while your back visiting your alma mater. Please join us and celebrate the Duke Forest, one of the coolest parts of the Duke experience. Please register online through this site. While registration for the Pine Cone Pacer: the Duke Forest 5k is not part of your Reunion Weekend fees, it will be a highlight of your trip back home to Duke!

Thank you to our generous 2020 sponsors!

Longleaf Pine Sponsors

MIS Mid-Atlantic Infrastructure Systems
Jacob’s Contracting
facebook page
Carolina Godiva Track Club
Creedmoor Fuel Service
9th Street Active Feet
Skanska USA

Shortleaf Pine Sponsors

Your company here!

Loblolly Pine Sponsors

Camp Bow Wow—North Durham
Noes, Toes & Tails Pet Care

Supporting Sponsors

Your company here!


Interested in supporting the Duke Forest Improvement Fund through sponsorship of the Pine Cone Pacer: The Duke Forest 5K? Be a part of one of the most fun and beautiful races in our region, and support the teaching and research mission of Duke’s largest laboratory, right here in your backyard!

View our 2020 Sponsorship Package


Can’t make it to the 2020 race, but want to contribute to our Improvement Fund? Maybe you can make it out to the race, but are inspired to be a part of the legacy of the Duke Forest. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation online.

or download, complete, and mail in this form.


See our Previous Race Results

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