This race was my first official ultra, and it was pretty ideal for someone's first 50K. Go Beyond puts on a ton of trail races in the PNW and all of them are highly reviewed, so I was really looking forward to experiencing this event. As per trail races, everything was laid back, but still incredibly organized.
The 50K was on Sunday and started 8am. We spectated the 50 mile the day before, so we knew where the start was, which was nice and put race-day nerves at ease. No one want to get lost in the forest on race day! Parking was easy, and bib pickup happened on race day. There's no race shirt, which I'm totally fine with. I rarely keep race shirts anyway. At start time, the race directors, Renee & Todd gave instructions to make sure everyone stayed on course then sent us on our way.
The race starts near Timothy Lake and we run halfway around the lake before heading onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). There were aid stations every 3-6 miles, and they were STOCKED with everything you'd need. Honestly, I can't tell you what exactly because all I grabbed was water, salt tabs, and Pringles, but the volunteers at every aid stations were incredibly attentive and helpful.
The race is relatively flat in comparison to other ultras (around 2700ft gain total for this one) and the biggest climb takes place around mile 7. There was an aid station at mile 9 where I had friends spectating, and it was good motivation to make it up the climb, knowing I'd see them soon. After that mile 9 aid station, you continue on the PCT and run past the most incredible views of Mt. Hood. Seriously, it was insane! You then turn and come back on the same trail you ran out. Although it took a little balancing to not fall or run over other runners on their way out, it was nice to have a little out and back to pass other runners. I got to see so many friendly faces.
With 10 miles left, you run around the other side of Timothy Lake, again with views of Mt. Hood. There were also of ton of families biking, camping and just hanging by the lake. It was a really cool area, and people were super friendly, cheering me on along the way. There's a final aid station with 4.7 miles left, to give runners a final boost.
You then finish the race at the same place you start. Todd and Renee welcome in ALL the runners, which is super cool, and everyone gets a finisher tumbler glass. They had BBQ and beer for all the finishers, and a ton of chairs and tents to hang out and watch others finish. A lot of the 50 milers from Sat came back Sunday to cheer on the 50k-ers, which really speaks to the ultra-culture. Everyone is so friendly and supportive. I'd also suggest going for a swim in Timothy Lake after finishing this race. :)
Personally, I went in with low exceptions and wanted to just have fun. I had a great race and a TON of fun. I can't wait to do this race again, although it'll be pretty hard to exceed this year's performance.
Do this race if you ever have the opportunity to!!