- 50K, Other
- Trail Race
Overview: This event has two race distances, 50K and 25K sharing the same course: out and back for 25K, do that twice for the 50K. The combined field is limited to 200 runners and so even though some of the trails are indeed single track, there isn't any congestion. Registration is $60 if you wait until the last minute (as I generally do...), shirts are great, age-groupers in 10yr divisions 3-deep receive pint glasses, all finishers get medals. The commitment to the "finish or fossilize", dinosaur theme is fantastic. TONS of food at the finish and the big aid station is well stocked. There is one un-manned aid stop about 4 miles from the start/finish (so for 50k you pass 4 times), and a large manned station at the turnaround at about 7.75miles (for 50K you pass twice) - I carried a handheld bottle. Gear drop for mid-race supplies is offered. Atmosphere is relaxed, and runners etiquette is on-point!
Course: (I ran the 25K) The course is fantastic and suitable for seasoned trail runners who can use this as an opportunity to absolutely blaze through the race, but also fun for Chicago flat-landers who are used paved terrain, and beginners would fair well also - certainly you get a full-body workout! You'll run over has just about every element, in manageable bits for any ability level, that trail runs can offer: flat with crushed limestone, grassy fields, hard-packed or muddy single tracks, lots of rolling hills, a couple steeper climbs with some rocks, lots of roots to remind you to get your knees up, some rocks.
The course was very well marked, as long as you stay alert and keep your eyes frequently on the ground ahead of you...which is a good idea on trails anyway.
On the way out I kept thinking "there is definitely more uphill on the way out" and on the way back I was thinking "no, there is definitely more uphill on the way back"...conclusion: it's pretty even.
I will definitely do this race again, they also have a Spring version.