- 50K, 100K
- Trail Race
The 2016 Gorge Waterfalls 100k was held on Saturday, April 2. Last year, the 50k race was held the following Sunday, but this year it was held on the following weekend this year (April 9). It's probably easier for the organizers and volunteers to do it this way but unfortunately it meant that I didn't get to see my friends run the 50k. There were a couple other changes from last year including it being a Western States qualifier, having a 17-hour cut off (rather than 16 hours with the option to start an hour early), 6am start (versus 4am last year), and no pacers allowed.
Being a slower runner, this race was really tough. The cut offs were tight and I was chasing them the whole time, knowing that if I slowed down I likely wouldn't make it. On a positive note, it pushed me to run harder than I otherwise would have - my default pace is incredible leisurely, and with all the amazing scenery I could have spent a lot more time taking photos!
Package Pickup & Swag: Bib pick up was the morning of the race which was super convenient. The only swag included was a race sticker. They also have shirts and other products for sale.
Course & Aid Stations: The course is an out-and-back parallel to the Columbia River. The trails are stunning and there are several waterfalls along the way, including one you run under! There is one significant stretch of road (several kilometres) but it's a small price to pay for an otherwise beautiful single track route. There is a total of 12,000 ft elevation gain described as "rolling hills" and "mostly runnable" (I beg to differ) with a big climb at the start and finish. The aid stations were amazing and the volunteers were incredible even after many hours on their feet and helping runners. Dropbags were allowed and transported to all but the first aid station.
Post-Race: I didn't experience much of the post-race party since I showed up really late to it - about 14 minutes after the 17 hour cut off ... oops! Luckily the finish line was still open, the pizza guys were still cooking, and there was still beer left!
Overall, it was a really great race! I'm so glad I did it and would definitely recommend it to others! The only major downside ... no medals!! Rainshadow Running races are all like this - they put the swag money towards awesome aid stations and after party with fresh cooked pizza and kegs of beer. I'd definitely pay extra for a medal though.
Read my full race report here: http://briehemingway.com/blog/2016/04/race-report-gorge-waterfalls-100k-2016/