A few notes before the review:
Course Scenery was rated as a 5 of 5 but the better part of the race was done over night.
Aid stations were a 2 because they were not aid stations, there were exchange points, although the Ram Cat exchange point was also an aid station...and I thank them for that.
Overall, this is a must do event.
The Pro: you build comradery with others while takin
The Con: No cell service. Make sure you have a co-pilot who knows how to read directions.
Communication from the race director was good. I wasn't inundated with notes in my inbox, but I was provided the athlete guide and instructions with ample time to prepare for the race.
There wasn't an 'Expo" but the packet pick up process was nice. Low key, a couple of sponsors really nice scenery. Lunch was provided by the race which was nice!
Even though this is a 'trail' race, I didn't need 'trail running' shoes for this event. The terrain is similar to a bike path / rail trail consistency and there were no sharp inclines or declines.
I ran one segment through a tunnel which was both interesting and creepy.
I ran another segment through a state park which had other trails feeding into it which gave a Blair Witch feel...but I didn't feel lost
(okay, my first leg I felt lost because someone had drawn an arrow on the ground, but it wasn't the color of the race arrows and I didn't see anyone 'double back' on the course which is what would have happened if anyone followed the arrow...anyway the pitfall of a public access course...)
Starting so late in the day was a bit rough because you are forced/guaranteed to run overnight.
If the thought of running at night, in the woods, causes you to be a bit fearful, don't be. There were a surprising amount of course marshals? on course for safety. (They were volunteers on bikes and 4 wheelers patrolling the trails more than marshals) and I heard that there may be GPS tracking for course safety next year.
I generally run at night (not for 31 miles) because its convenient, and I've paced a friend of mine through an overnight race before, so I had an idea of what I was getting into; but it was a good experience and everyone was surprisingly pleasant.
The other thing I was anticipating was grueling up hill climbs. Thankfully there weren't any (on my legs?) There was one clear front runner for 'up hill' and that was the first mile of leg three. Otherwise, the course was mostly gradually uphill.
On Course support:
The exchange station volunteers were really nice. Ram Cat was the best stocked exchange station and I think the race would benefit from having some sort of 'vote for the best exchange point' in the future.
I would say the run is self supported. Bring your water and your nutrition because there isn't a full spread on course. IF you are a trial runner, then you are probably familiar with this. If you are a road runner, this will be shocking.
The Finish line:
It was as low key as the race. Not in a bad way though.
The volunteers were super pleasant and the location had great parking.
There wasn't s finish festival like you have at marathons or 'big name' events, but i think that would have seemed disingenuous.