Latest reviews by Alison
Orcas Island 50 has about 8,400ft of elevation gain so it's pretty intimidating for a first ultra, but the trails aren't very technical so you still get some pretty fast times. The race starts and finishes in Camp Moran in Moran State Park on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands, and runners have the option to stay in the cabins there which is awesome because (a) you can roll out of bed and shuffle up to the start line and (b) the after-party (non-stop pizza, beer, and bluegrass!) keeps going around the firepit til late into the night. There are other places to stay on the island though as tourism is it's main industry, and you do need to stay because it's a bit more work to get to than most races.
We were VERY lucky with the weather this year (2016). The most notorious part of the course is the Powerline Climb and most years it's muddy and you end up scrabbling and sliding, but this year it didn't rain much the day before and not at all on race day. The course climbs three peaks, Little Summit, Mount Pickett, and Mount Constitution (the highest) at the end, it starts at 8am and you have to be finished by 5pm. The volunteers, aid stations (they were all like mini-finishing lines), management, pre-race dinner, after-party, and everything was perfectly organized - Rainshadow Running really loves what they do! One of the little bonuses that sets this race apart is they grab some of the wackiest thrift store tops they can find and print the race logo on them so you can buy a normal style race shirt or get something pretty unique.