Badger Mountain 50 – Stephanie G

Race: Badger Mountain Challenge 50 Miler

Runner: Stephanie G

Date: 3/24/17

Location: Badger Mountain, WA

Results – 9:02:52, 9th overall, 2nd female

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

The volunteers were SO friendly and helpful. While this is true at most (all?) events, they really were noticeably a step above. By the time I was 20 feet away from an aid station someone was invariably asking me what I needed, and there to provide it.

I really enjoyed how runnable the course was. Although the race ended up with somewhere around 8000′ of elevation gain, it seemed like “sneaky” elevation and it was very possible to run most of the course.  

I enjoyed the out and back on McBee Ridge – it was fun to see everyone and cheer each other on.

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

I kept reading weather horror stories. A week out, the forecast was for sunny and 60. Three days out, that changed to rain. It didn’t turn out to be terrible, but most of the race was spent in rain, wind and low 50s.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

It seems like they’ve been forced to have a lot of course changes over the years.

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

It was a somewhat last minute decision for me to run this in order to get my Cascade Crest qualifier done at a time that worked well with my schedule. Because of that, I hadn’t necessarily done a lot of specific training for this, so I think I went out at a good and slightly reserved pace. This is likely what enabled me to feel pretty strong the entire race.  A little bit of fear of the unknown worked out well!

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

Get ready to run a lot. I actually found myself looking forward to hiking “breaks”.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I tolerated real food the whole time just fine – that was kind of a relief. My body hasn’t been quite that tolerant before. I’m still learning to ignore other peoples’ paces and run my own race, and I think I did well with that this time.   

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It seems like the course has had many changes over the years, so I’m not sure what will stick. Badger and Candy Mountain are both pretty runnable. There are a lot of jeep roads which had some very slick mud since it was raining. I can see how dusty dry roads would have been a different, and potentially harder, challenge though. You are never far from an aid station – I think at one point there were 3 within about 3 miles.  

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

I think it was probably quite pretty in an “Eastern Washington way”. We were running in clouds/fog a lot though, so there wasn’t much of a view. There are also probably 6 or so miles alongside a highway.

Difficulty – is it a tough course

The climbing, though there was a fair bit, was somehow disguised, which made it seem very do-able. I would say it’s a fun course.  

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

It seemed very well run for what was in their control. The course changes were a little last minute, but I think that was a surprise to everyone. Race day was extremely well-organized.  

Competition – is there a strong field?

It didn’t seem particularly strong.

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.

Registration is open until a week before the race. Plenty of places to stay nearby. Super easy parking at the start/finish area.

Aid Stations

So many! I had two 500mL bottles with me and only had to refill one of them once because I mostly just drank at the aid stations. There was a note on the website that said if people had special requests for food to let the organizers know and they would try to accommodate. That’s service!

Weather and typical race conditions –

I’ve heard it’s been windy/rainy/cold and sunny/85 degrees. We got a windy/rainy/fairly mild temperature version of the weather. The wind was so strong in some places it was hard to run against!

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

I was warned it gets very cold on McBee Ridge so I took a hard shell rain jacket (since it was also raining) up with me. I didn’t end up putting it on, but I was actually glad I had it. You can leave a drop bag at McBee aid station, which you pass by at miles 18 & 31. I had a ton of options in my drop bag, which I didn’t even stop and look at (or remember that I was supposed to put it in the “done” pile so they would drive it back to the start/finish… so had to go get it later). Lots of people were wearing gaiters which may have been helpful if it had been dry out. I ran in capris/wool shirt/Helium/gloves/hat the whole time until the gloves and hat came off for about the last hour and a half. Just normal rainy-weather gear!

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

It seemed like it would be really easy – in a car – to get to a lot of spots on the course.

Awards –

Finishers medal for all. I don’t think there was any prize for winning.

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

I really enjoyed it. Going to knock off 1 star for quite a bit of running near the highway, but otherwise everything was wonderful. 4/5