Sat, Jan 14|
Ocala National Forest
65+ miles. 24 hours. The clock is ticking...
Time & Location
Jan 14, 4:00 PM – Jan 15, 6:00 PM
Ocala National Forest, Rodman Rd, Fort McCoy, FL 32134, USA
About the Event
Operation OCALA - Sponsored by MudGear
Distance: 65+ miles
Start Time: 1600hrs Saturday 14 Jan 2023 for pre-event brief and kit check. 1700hrs race start.
Start Location: Florida Trail Rodman ATV Trailhead, Fort McCoy
Finish Time: Sunday 1700hrs 15 Jan 2022
Finish Location: Palermo Pizza and Italian Restaurant, Paisely
The Ocala National Forest is home for Operation OCALA and the route follows the Florida Trail. Operation OCALA is a test of endurance, personal administration, fitness, navigation, and mental strength.
Candidates must complete the 65+ mile route within 24 hours, following the Florida Trail, while carrying 25lbs.
Candidates will meet at 1600hrs where they will leave their cars and receive a final brief and kit check. Anything they do not wish to carry with them for the event should be left in their cars. Valuables should not be left in vehicles.
Once the GBF Staff have checked everyone's kit, candidates will be released and navigate south along the world famous Florida Trail and attempt to complete the course within 24 hours.
Candidates who voluntarily withdraw are not guaranteed a ride back to the start point. GBF will attempt to transport those who withdraw but the Main Effort is the candidates still going. To this end, candidates could be at a checkpoint after withdrawing for several hours.
There will be checkpoint locations every 15+/- miles with water and basic food (bananas, cookies etc). Candidates will also be able to VW (voluntarily withdraw) at these checkpoints.
At the finish (Palermo Pizza), candidates will receive pizza and beer. Candidates finishing in under 24 hours will also earn the highly sought-after 'GBF Operation OCALA' dog tags.
The FIRST male and the FIRST female will earn the Gold GBF Op OCALA Dog Tag.
- Dress. Candidates are reminded this is a 24 hour event covering significant distance. Changes of clothes and spare socks may be desired. Hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and long pants are recommended. Wet weather gear is also advised.
The list below is a mandatory kit list and must be with you on the route. Failure to produce the following items during the final kit check may result in GBF staff refusing to let you start, with no refund in costs.
- Backpack (waterproof inner-bags)
- Hydration bladder(s) (minimum 1 gallon or 4 litres)
- Rations (food) minimum of 2 chocolate bars
- $10 cash x 3
- Hi-visibility jacket
- Emergency shelter
- Head Torch (spare batteries)
- Spare Flashlight
- Fully charged mobile phone
- Charger for phone
- Personal First Aid Kit
This list is suggested.
- Walking poles
- Water purification tablets
- Blister kit
- Bear spray
- Bear bell
- Bug spray
- Pocket knife
We advise you to have a sleeping bag and spare clothes in your car so you can rest before you drive anywhere.
- Voluntary Withdrawal. Candidates are permitted to withdraw from the event at the checkpoints. Candidates must be aware there is no guarantee of transport back to the start from anywhere other than the finish location.
If the GBF vehicle is available, it may collect individuals who have withdrawn AT ANY TIME between the start and end of the event. This means candidates could be waiting for hours so be prepared and use your emergency shelter.
Transport for successful candidates, from the finish to the start is included, but could be a while, so have your emergency blanket ready.
- Replen. There will be checkpoints every 15+/- miles with water and food where candidates should refill their water.
- Rations. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 x chocolate bars as emergency rations. Candidates' food should be high-energy, high-calorie food you can eat while moving.
- Water. Candidates should carry enough water to get them between each checkpoint. We advise more if the weather is hot. The use of hydration bladders is encouraged. Water can be topped up at checkpoints.
- Medical. A personal medical kit is required by every candidate. If GBF staff deems a candidate unfit to continue, they will be withdrawn from the event for their own safety. If you require immediate medical assistance at a checkpoint, 911 must be called.
- Transport. Candidates are advised to be dropped off and picked up where possible for safety reasons. A support crew with a vehicle is also advised. Transport for successful candidates, from the finish, back to the start, is included in the entry fee.
- Parking. Candidates who wish to leave their cars are kindly requested to park at the start location (Rodman ATV Trailhead). Parking is done at the owner's risk. THIS photo advises you where to park.
- Wildlife. Ocala National Forest is home to wonderful wildlife. Snakes, spiders, bears and much more call the National Forest home. Familiarise yourself with the following documents prior to arriving: Be Bear Aware and Florida Trail
- Route. The rough route on AllTrails is here: Operation OCALA route. This is only a rough guide. You should follow the Orange Blazes on the trees and the Florida Trail using any means possible. You should also look at these resources: Florida Hikes, Florida Trail Association.
- Route Rules. 65+ miles following the Florida Trail in under 24 hours, while carrying a 25lbs pack. Candidates must avoid following roads unless they are withdrawing and/or are in an emergency.
- Checkpoints. There will be FOUR checkpoints on the route, roughly 15 miles apart. If candidates are very far behind the time, they may be informed and advised to stop.
- Prizes. The winning individual or pair will receive a 24k gold plated personalised GBF Dog Tag. Every finisher under 24 hours will receive a personalised GBF Dog Tag.
Sat 14 JAN 22
1600: Final Briefing and Kit Check at Start Point.
1700: Candidates will be released to start.
Sun 15 JAN 22
1700: Operation complete and all individuals and teams off the trail.
Command and Signal
GBF HQ - 9419939432. Every team MUST also check in at every checkpoint, even if they don’t wish to stop there.
Weight. You pack must weigh a minimum of 25lbs at all times. Your pack will be weighed at the start. It may be weighed at checkpoints and the finish. It must weigh a minimum of 25lbs at all times.
Assistance. This is a solo, self-sufficient event. Drop bags or any other assistance is not allowed. You must carry what you require for the duration of the event. Moral support at checkpoints is permitted but only candidates undertaking Operation OCALA are permitted on the trail. If candidates receive outside assistance (food, liquids, clothes etc) that is not from GBF HQ, they will fail. Carry what you require.
T-shirts: The first TEN people will receive a free Operation OCALA t-shirt. T-Shirts may be purchased. T-shirt orders will be placed on 20 December 2022.
Entrance Fee: $199
Refunds. Refunds will be in the form of a GBF voucher for future events. Refunds within 30 days of an event will not be possible.
1. Ruck Weight. Minimum of 25 lbs at all times.
2. Weight Type. The weight cannot be rocks or anything that can be disposed of and then collected later in the trail (stones etc).
3. Assistance. This is a self-sufficient event when the only permitted outside assistance is from GBF HQ at the checkpoints.
4. Route Distance. Those earning the GOLD Dog Tag must prove their route and distance (65+ miles) using GPS (watch, phone, etc).
5. Route Selection. Candidates must follow the Florida Trail and not use roads.
6. Checkpoints. Candidates MUST visit all Operation OCALA checkpoints.
7. Transport. No transportation is allowed to help you gain the advantage.
Additional Information. The following documents may be useful:
- Be Bear Aware - information about bears and storing, disposing of, and carrying food in Ocala National Forest.
- Florida Trail - informative PDF about the whole Florida Trail including a map (Ground in General).
- Forest Service Interactive Map - find Ocala National Forest and the red/white line heading north to south is the Florida Trail.
- Forest Service Map PDF Download - you can download these maps in PDF to produce a mapbook.
- Staying Safe Around Bears - What Should I Do if I See a Bear?