Race: Backcountry Rise 50k

Runner: Kim C

Race Date: 09/07/2019

Location: Toutle, WA

Results: 1st female, 13th overall, time 6:20

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2688977291

backcountry rise 50k race report
Photo Credit: Steven Mortinson Film & Photo

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

The course is stunning … there were moments when I rounded a corner and literally gasped because it was so beautiful. The volunteers were great, and I met tons of wonderful people before, during and after the race.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

That climb at the end really was brutal. I was warned ahead of time, but still wasn’t prepared for how long it was. It was really long.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

This was my first time camping (sleeping in my minivan) the night before a race. Worked out better than I thought, and they have dinner and clean restroom facilities nearby. I would have liked to sleep in a bed that night, but it was nice not having to worry about driving to the race in the morning. Also, it added to the whole sense of adventure, which I think actually helped me have a better race (“Look at me! I’m on an adventure! I’m camping! I’m running! What fun!”)

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Mostly I just kept going! Even when I felt like I was crawling and I desperately wanted to stop. I’m proud that I was able to stay focused and positive for the entire 6+ hours. The other runners I met along the way really helped keep me going too. From a strategy standpoint, I knew I wanted to get ahead during the first five miles, which were relatively flat, and then just hope I had enough juice in me to stay ahead of the field once we hit the hilly sections. I figured if I was at least out of sight, then hopefully no one would try to speed up and catch me! But I had to be assertive about passing people in that initial section, because most of the runners I came up behind did not want to pull over and let me by.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

If you want to compete in the race, then definitely get ahead in the first few miles. And if you’re there to enjoy the day and the scenery, then be sure to do that! My only regret about this race is that I missed most of the spectacular beauty because I was focusing so hard on my run.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I drank so much during this race, and it still wasn’t enough. I think my fluid total came to almost 6 full flasks of Tailwind and 1 flask of water. More Tailwind would have been good — I ran out of fluid completely between aid stations 2 and 3. And next time I’d bring simpler, easier-to-eat food. My mouth was too dry to eat anything thicker than a gel. I swear I was chewing a bite of fig bar for an entire mile.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Push it off the starting line because it’s hard to pass people as soon as you hit the narrow single-track around the lake. And the rest of the course is just really tough but beautiful so … settle into your pace and your mindset, and just keep on keeping on. And don’t forget to look up and take in the view!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes! Stunning for most of the way.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Only my second 50k, but this one took me 90 minutes longer than the last one. I would say yes, but really it is gorgeous too.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Super well organized. Race communication was minimal but very thorough. And the night-before activities were a nice distraction from my nerves too.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I won the women’s race this year (yay!) but in comparing with last year’s times, I wouldn’t have even cracked the top 4 so … it all depends on who shows up for race day!

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

This one does sell out quickly, so I’d recommend signing up on the first day. I know there are hotels, but they are about an hour away. Camping was super easy and there was tons of room in the parking lot.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Aid station volunteers were great. I was so thankful they had Tailwind … it was perfect, and I couldn’t have done the race without it. I didn’t eat or even see any of the food because I had all of mine with me.

Weather and typical race conditions

I think we lucked out with mild weather this year (low 70s?). In general there was more shade on the course than I was expecting, but still mostly exposed.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

I had 3 soft flasks with me — 2 soft flasks + a bladder would have been better.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The start-finish area is a fun spot to hang out and adventure from, but it’s very hard to cheer runners on during the race.

How’s the Swag?

I love the shirt designs! And you can’t go wrong with Territory Run Co. products.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4 out of 5, assuming you like the challenge!

backcountry rise 50k ultra race report
Photo Credit: Steven Mortinson Film & Photo