- 50K, 50 miles, Relay
- Trail Race
The Glacial 50 is run pretty much entirely on a portion of the Ice Age Trail (which runs in total over 1,000 miles in Wisconsin). The race starts in the town of Greenbush, and heads south on the IAT through the Greenbush segment, the Parnell segment, and the New Fane segment (for the 50 mile).
This year (because 2020) there was only packet pickup offered the morning of the race. As with most packet-pickups it was pretty easy. Grab your bag, bib, and race shirt (a dope 1/4 zip) and that's that. There are indoor bathroom at pickup as well. And because this is an ultra, the lines aren't too long because there aren't as many people.
If you've run an ultra before, you can accurately envision the start. Gather in the middle of the street, race director says "Go" and the race starts. Pretty straightforward. The first half mile (roughly) of the race heads through the town of Greenbush before you hop on the trails for the rest of the way.
The first part of trails, a connector to the IAT, is pretty chill with lots of runnable double track. A good way to ease in to the race. After about 1.5 miles, you hit the IAT and it's almost all single track from here. The Greenbush segment is somewhat technical, but an overall very runnable segment. Obviously, you've got your rocks and roots. Just past Mile 6, you'll hit a straighter (and mostly flat) shot of double track grass which takes you to Hwy 67, the first Aid Station, and the start of the Parnell segment.
The Parnell segment (on the way out) starts with a small gradual downhill on extremely runnable dirt. Enjoy this for the few miles, because it's the last smooth, gradual, downhill you'll really have. As a whole, the Parnell segment is known for being extremely technical and hilly. No massive hills, just unrelenting. You'll more or less roll on the rocky hills until about Mile 12 when you hit a steeper downhill on grass (don't worry, you get to run up that later) and a nice stretch back through a prairie. This ultimately takes you to some stairs which you descend to the next aid station just past 13 miles.
For this Aid Station, you have the option of a drop bag being there for you as well. Would highly recommend.
For the 50k, you only have about 2 miles further down the Parnell segment to get to the turnaround. It's majority downhill to the turn, which means it's majority up back to the Aid Station.
It's back through Parnell again from here. I would argue that the toughest parts of Parnell on the way out are slightly easier on the way back. Slightly. But the luxurious slight downhill on the north side of the segment means it's a slight uphill on the way back.
You run Parnell back to Hwy 67, which is the first/last Aid Station. From here it's a little over 6 back through Greenbush to the finish. All those hills you felt great on at the start will, likely, feel a lot less great this time around. Never had I been so thankful to get back to that grassy double track.
Hop off the trail, and it's roads back through town to the start/finish!
As I mentioned above, the 1/4 zip for the race is super nice. You'll get a clay(?) medal for finishing, and top finishers (top 5 or 10...I'm unsure) receive a handmade mug as well. There's food, beer, and everything you'd expect at the finish.
Let's not forget about the fact that you're running through the woods in a Wisconsin Fall. The colors are AMAZING. A few portions were a sea of yellow. Almost like you added a yellow color filter to a picture, but real life obvi.
Highly, highly recommend this race.