- Trail Race
This was the 22nd Annual Flatrock Ultra Trail Race. I believe it is the oldest ultra trail race in Kansas. With a name like Flatrock, and located in Kansas, you might expect this to be a relatively flat race....anything but!! The out-and-back course is 15 miles of single track trail that winds up and down the stone bluffs of Elk City Lake, located just northwest of Independence.
The 50K started at 7:30 am with a 10 hour time limit and a midpoint cut off time of 12 noon.
The 25K started at 8:30 am with a 9 hour time limit.
The cost was $140 for the 50K, but I registered only a few weeks before the event. I believe it is less expensive the earlier you register.
Packet pick-up started at 5 PM the day before the race at the same location as the start, just below the Elk City Lake dam. My registration included a nice tri-blend t-shirt, my bib and a pasta dinner there in the start area. There was also a bonfire held that evening which I did not attend.
I ran the 25K last year, so I had some idea of what I was getting into. I wasn't completely prepared for the late September temperature to reach into the 90s. The course was in great shape. It was obvious that a great deal of work had been done to clear the path in a couple of areas. Downed trees had been cut up and moved aside, which was no small feat considering the remoteness of sections of the trail.
There were fully stocked aid stations every 3-4 miles along the route. They were well stocked with water and electrolyte drink, gels, sweet and salty snacks, and my favorite, boiled potatoes and salt. Volunteers did a great job supporting the runners by taking bottles and filling them, having ice soaked rags available, and making sure that everyone got in and out of the aid station going the right direction. The was one point when I came into an aid station that ran out of ice, but I think that was just bad timing. The rest of the manned aid stations were full of ice. There was one unmanned water only aid station in the middle of nowhere. I was glad it was there on my return trip, and wondered how they got all that water out there.
My trip out went pretty well. Once I reached the turn around the sun was high in the sky and the heat climbed quickly. I had to do a fair amount of walking on the way back simply because I was having trouble keeping my body temp down. Getting ice at each stop helped and I was able to continue. The trip back took me nearly 50% more time than the first half, but considering the conditions, I was happy with my race.
There were plenty of supporters cheering at the finish, and the race director congratulates each finisher personally and takes a photo with them. I received a belt buckle and 50K finishers car sticker. If you are looking for a challenging and fun course, I highly recommend this race.