This was my first ever 50k and I was told by others that this was a good one to run. They offer 3 different distances: 25k, 50k and 50 miles. We all had different start times with the 50m starting at 7:15am, the 50k at 8am, and the 25k at 9am. To give you an idea of race size here is how many finished in each category: 129 50 mile runners, 219 50k runners and 444 25k runners. Bib pick up was a breeze and was right before the start of the race, got a few pictures, went to the bathroom, stretched a bit and then it was time to head to the start. Each distance runs 1 extra loop with the 50 milers running a bit more each loop. You can park right outside of the trail along the main road so that was a non issue. They wanted the 25k participants to park inside the park because they would finish first and allow non racers to have a place to park since it's not closed off for the race.
The first few miles were a little tricky with me being a newbie to the trail and seeing lots of mud and puddles, and then we came to a stream and everyone was running right through it, and I think I said out loud are you kidding me LOL! Thankfully, my trail shoes weren’t too bad off though with being completely soaked. I know that my regular shoes would have felt 10lbs heavier. I do recall telling myself that not only was having fun and finishing with a smile on my list of things to accomplish for this race, NOT FALLING WAS ANOTHER at this point. I couldn’t believe how muddy and wet some sections were and how dry others were. It had been a bit of a rainy week prior to the race. I was glad though that most downhill sections were dry because I found going downhill to be the toughest with trying to be fast yet not fall!
I had read a bunch of reviews that others had posted about this run from years past and have to agree with them that the 1 mile paved bike trail that we had to run on for each loop was extremely painful. After running on the softer surface for most of the race and then going to that was pure hell for the feet. However, it’s only 1 mile so I told my brain to shut up and get it done.
Around mile 12 I reached this cool area that on their site they call the rollercoaster section. It was a single track that had a lot of turns and was really fun to run. Once I got through there, I was on my way back to finish the first loop, so exciting! I do love running a loop course because the second time around never seems so bad knowing that you have already done this before. Interestingly though I saw some things the second time around that we both didn’t remember from the last time.
All in all, this is a great race and I will return next year to tackle it again. Maybe next year I will try the 50 miler.