Race: Blood Rock 50k
Runner: Luke N
Race Date: 11/23/2019
Location: Pelham, Alabama
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
1. Southeastern trail runs treat everyone in their races like family whether elite or back of the pack
2. Oak Mountain State Park is a lesser known jewel in the state – Even though it’s only a few miles off the interstate at no point on the trails do you hear traffic
3. The race directors David and Mary Jo Tosch will do anything in their power to make sure you finish in my case not enforcing strict cutoffs
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Even though central Alabama isn’t known for high mountains the course finds the steepest climbs and descents to really rack up vert.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
The section we raced on is a 11 mile loop that you run once and then in reverse so getting to see everyone including the leaders is always something I love. Got to run most of the race with one the 100 runners who was on his last 25 getting to follow him and see how he responded to the course (until he dropped me that is) was one the most awesome experiences I’ve had. And he gave me the strength I needed to finish when I sprained my ankle at mile 19 after watching him all day never stop, despite falling a few times and spending all night in the rain, there was no way I could quit.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
The elevation is no joke the course finds the toughest way cross country with some very technical terrain from muddy climbs to random rock gardens.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I didn’t work hard enough during training to prepare for the climbs and descents and I didn’t bring trekking poles with me.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The average runner will have long sections that are not runnable and that includes some life the rare flat sections which the rocks and roots are so bad you can barely look up to see where you’re going.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Well oiled machine! The 100 mile course got changed less than a hour from the start due circumstances outside of the race directors control and there was already a contingency plan in place.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
The 100 mile had pro Jeff Browning taking the win and every distance has stiff competition including locals who practically live on these trails
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 simple. There’s camping at the park and hundreds of hotels and airbnb within a 25 mile circle.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Standard until you get to the finish where great barbecue and cold beer is a standard at all southeastern trail runs events.
Weather and typical race conditions
Nothing typical in Alabama – the race started dry 70 degree temperatures, started raining and by nightfall, snow flurries. Prepare for any condition when coming to Alabama in the winter from heat and humidity to cold and humidity.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
TREKKING POLES DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Your friends have easy access to you at 2 of the aid stations and a 2 mile hike to the third.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
10 out of 10 if you wanna test your climbing legs and think you have to go out west to do it, come give this one a try.