Race2Adventure: Life-Changing Running Adventures

by Team RunRun Coach Brian Lettner and all pictures by Luciana Smania

Brian has raced around the world thanks to Race2Adventure’s life-changing running adventures. Directed by Merritt Hopper, Race2Adventure offers a unique concept that combines running with travel and exploration. Brian is one such Race2Adventure enthusiast who has been on multiple trips and shares why in this blog.

Brian Lettner on Race2Adventure

Sights from a Race2Adventure run

Nine days. Eight nights. An adventure to remember. An adventure for runners of all levels.

Brian on a Race2Adventure trip

I first heard of Race2Adventure through an email promotion in 2018. Noticing that this trip was right after my college graduation, I convinced my brother to go with me as a graduation present. The rest is history. I have been on four Race2Adventure trips now – Ireland, a Danube River Cruise through four countries in Europe, Norway, and Italy – with plans to go to Scotland in the summer of 2025.

How Race2Adventure works

What made it such an easy choice back in 2018 was the fact that Race2Adventure plans everything for you! In four simple steps – pay a flat fee, get your airline tickets, pack your bags, bring some extra money – you are all set. They find the best spots to stay, arrange transportation, plan cool activities, and most importantly, take you to the most epic locations.

Meeting new people: concerns of an introvert

However, Race2Adventure isn’t all about the views or the food or the little trinkets you buy along the way, it’s about the people. Merritt Hopper is your host, and he and his staff are some of the best people you will ever meet. The same goes for your fellow runners/adventurers. I have made some amazing friends on my four trips with Race2Adventure, and I believe you can too.

You might be saying to yourself that you’re an introvert. I would never make friends like that. Well, news flash, I am an introvert myself! That’s how easy it is to make friends on these wonderful trips and make the memories even more meaningful. Merritt asks everyone on the first night how many trips everyone has been on. At least half of the people raise their hand that this is their first Race2Adventure trip. So, bring a friend, family member, or go by yourself – just remember to make an effort to talk to the person next to you on the bus and to sit with someone new during meals. You never know, you might be running another race with them in the future or helping crew them at The Moab 240 (true story of mine). 

Oh, the places you’ll run!

Lastly, I want to get to one of the best parts of these trips…the racing. Merritt and his staff plan these trips years in advance, scouting the country (or countries) for the best spots to run. We are talking forests, mountains, oceans, and lakes. Add to that the Olympic ski jump and Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway. Even running through the streets of Pisa, Italy, plus many many more beautiful, and breathtaking spots. No matter your ability, these races and travel experiences will blow any other running event you have ever done out of the park.  

Now, I could go on and on about the details and memories I have of my past trips, and I am happy to either help you by coaching you for an upcoming trip or telling you more about my experiences (feel free to reach out). All I am saying is to give Race2Adventure a shot if you can. You will have some amazing memories, potential new friends, and grow in ways you never realized you could. I honestly can’t think of any better way to visit a new country!


Brian Lettner is a Pocatello-based running coach training runners from the 5k up to ultras, on both roads and trails. He can help runners fit training into an already busy lifestyle, as well as help with menstrual training.

200 Miles and Beyond: Inside the World of Ultrarunning with Team RunRunner Rebecca Walker and Coach Greg Ottinger

by Ruby Wyles

A few weeks back, we received a race report from Team RunRunner Rebecca Walker that said something along the lines of: ‘I hopped in a 200 mile race, it was fun, wasn’t my fastest or my slowest’. Rebecca’s nonchalance suggested that running super long distances was a relatively common affair for her, and I had to learn more!

Rebecca running 200 miles and beyond at the 2023 Cocodona 250.  PC: Anastasia Wilde
Rebecca wading through a creek during the Cocodona 250. PC: Anastasia Wilde

Meet Team RunRunner Rebecca Walker and Coach Greg Ottinger 

Coached by accomplished ultrarunner and Team RunRun Coach Greg Ottinger, the pair have been working together for two and a half years and counting. As mentioned, coach Greg is no stranger to 200 mile races or back-to-back ultras, himself targeting the Triple Crown of 200s this summer, which involves running three 200-mile races over four consecutive months! With over 200 Team RunRun coaches to choose from, it’s no coincidence Rebecca and Greg seem to have the perfect coach-athlete match.

According to UltraSignup, in little more than 10 years, Rebecca Walker has 82 ultras to her name, including seven 200+ mile races, which had her running for up to 5 days at a time! Yep, 5 whole days, over 121 hours to be precise! Interviewing Rebecca, I thought I’d start with the obvious question I’m sure we’re all wondering: why? What draws you to these super long events, and why do you keep going back for more?!

Rebecca: “Historically, I chose my races based on places I wanted to visit. My first 200 mile run was the Tahoe 200, which I remember seeing advertised and thought I would like to do it someday. At the time, you had to have completed a mountain 100 mile qualifier race beforehand, so I wasn’t able to enter Tahoe 200 until the prerequisites were met. After completing that one successfully, I realized how much I appreciated the variability of these events, as well as the slower pace – being a slower runner, this was important to me!”

Balancing ultra training with life

As superhuman as Rebecca’s ultrarunning exploits seem, she isn’t a full time runner focused solely on the eat-sleep-train priority triplet that many professional athletes are. Instead, Rebecca balances a full time job in the legal field with family life as a wife, mom to an active teenage girl, plus two cats and dog too! Not your typical husband-and-wife duo, the pair bond over their love of ultras, and actually ran the Moab 240 together for their honeymoon!

So what’s Rebecca’s secret? How can she possibly excel at these ultra ultra distances with so much other life to balance?

Rebbeca: “Greg [Ottinger, her TRR coach] has been AWESOME working with my schedule, and we’re flexible with moving workouts around. My husband typically runs with me on the weekends, but the weekday stuff is all me.”

“Training for 200 milers is not too much different than 100 mile training. Under Greg’s guidance I now run 5 days a week (vs the 3-4 I used to do): 3 runs are usually Z2, easy training; 1 day is typically speedwork and/or hills depending on whatever race I have coming up; and the other day is a long run. Saturdays are always my long days, involving either a progression run if I’m training for something flat, but usually I go on a time-based adventure run in the foothills/mountains.” 

Add to that Rebecca’s one day per week of strength training, and training for 200 milers seems almost manageable…?! Rebecca adds: “I just do what I’m told”, not overcomplicating her running, and leaving the X’s and O’s of training science to her coach Greg, a job he readily accepts. 

Greg: “As a coach, navigating Rebecca’s race calendar is akin to orchestrating a symphony of commitments, aspirations, and relentless determination. Hailing from the frosty climes of a region that could freeze a San Diegan’s bones, Rebecca juggles the roles of a dedicated runner, nurturing mother, driven professional, and even a devoted dog mom. It’s a balancing act that requires precision planning and adaptability, a task I undertake with both awe and admiration.”

Another 200 mile run

As a runner with a coach myself, I believe this is one of Rebecca’s, and most athletes’, secrets to success: enjoy your running, don’t overthink it, and outsource the programming to an expert, like our band of Team RunRun coaches!

If you want further proof of Rebecca’s mortal and measured approach to training, consider that when the weather is close to freezing she simply doesn’t run. Instead of toughing it out in miserable conditions, or making up mind-numbing miles on the treadmill, Rebecca opts for extra recovery over trying to prove her toughness in training, a fallacy that almost always backfires. Despite preparing to race through all hours of day and night, in all kinds of sleep-deprived, underfueled,and fatigued states, again Rebecca doesn’t make training harder than it needs to be, not losing sight of the fact that running should be (at least most of the time) enjoyable! 

Rebecca: “I don’t night run [in training], but I do vary the terrain and elevation, running on dirt roads and trails near my house in Colorado.”

Greg: “Preparing for the rigors of ultrarunning demands a holistic approach that transcends mere mileage. Rebecca’s training regimen revolves around building a robust aerobic base, with 90% of her workouts dedicated to aerobic efforts, Heart Rate Zone II. We prioritize consistency, honing her ability to endure the relentless demands of multi-day races.”

Rebecca’s year-round race schedule means that she is constantly in training mode, save for a taper week prior and recovery week post race. 

Greg: “When it comes to setting race goals, Rebecca is quite candid. Whether she’s eyeing a podium finish, leisurely adventure with friends, or simply seeking the joy of crossing the finish line, each race serves a distinct purpose. If it’s a “fun 50,” we integrate it into her routine without the customary taper, allowing her to enjoy the experience without compromising her overall progress or risking injury.”

Without big swings in her mileage, plus her incredible ability to endurance and recover from these long distances, Rebecca maintains an impressive baseline fitness that allows her to race frequently and avoid injury. She reminds us all that the key to any and all running success is consistency, not hero workouts or huge increases in mileage leading into race day; Rebecca, with help from her TRR coach Greg, has found a sustainable level of training for her body and life demands, that she is able to repeat year-round. Now that is the not-so-sexy secret to success!

Running fundamentals: fueling, sleep, and recovery

Fueling, a critical element of any ultrarunner’s performance, is another of Rebecca’s strengths, and she is gifted with an iron stomach that allows her to “eat whatever is available at aid stations”. She jokingly refers to herself as a “trash panda”, recognizing that she is “in the minority of folks who don’t have issues with fueling”. During long training and race days, Rebecca fuels consistently, always carrying extra snacks to ensure she’s never running close to empty. 

It’s not just fueling that Rebecca’s dialed in, running through extreme fatigue and sleep deprivation appears to be another one of her skills. Whether honed through parenthood, a highly caffeinated lifestyle, or a rare genetic ‘I-will-run-on-no-sleep’ predisposition, if the princess and the pea is on one extreme, Rebecca is on the far other!

Rebecca: “I can get through night one fine without sleep now that I have nailed down a good caffeine plan. After that first night though, I tend to have issues falling asleep, but taking some time off my feet at aid stations even when I can’t sleep helps. Over time [as Rebecca gets further and further into a race, becoming more and more fatigued] I can usually get about an hour’s sleep at an aid station, as well as 5-10 minute trail naps! If the terrain permits, I’ll just lie on the side of the trail, or sit up against a tree; other times, just closing my mind will usually be enough to keep me going for a few more hours.”

Much to my surprise, and in part credited to great nutrition and smart training, alongside honest communication with her coach, Rebecca isn’t bed-bound for weeks following her epic adventures, and instead is an advocate for the ‘motion-is-lotion’, ‘movement-is-medicine’ paradigm.

Rebecca: “Hydration and sleep are so important, and I aim for 8-10 hours a night the first few days after a big race. I am a huge fan of active recovery. I still take my dog for walks (usually a few miles at a time) and I have a treadmill desk that I walk on while working.”

Greg: “Navigating the aftermath of ultramarathons requires a keen understanding of the body’s signals and rhythms. Listening to her body becomes an art form, as we interpret its subtle cues and adjust our approach accordingly. Rebecca is always clear with her progress and we adjust each week accordingly.”

Rebecca during her Tahoe 200 "honeymoon".
Rebecca during her Tahoe 200 “honeymoon”.

Ultra racing: highs, lows, and 200-mile memories

A seasoned ultrarunner with over 100 results to her name, I asked Rebecca a very difficult question: what her favorite race has been so far.

Rebecca: “Tahoe 200 will always be very special to me. I ran when it [the course] was still a loop around the lake, and it was just so surreal to be going for this huge, unknown distance. Cocodona 250 was also a wonderful event with very diverse environments” as runners traverse from the desert and cacti in Phoenix up to the mountain town of Flagstaff, with its fir trees and cooler temperatures.

Full of positive regard for these super long races, I imagined there must also be significant challenges and low points that are just par for the course. Yet again, I was surprised and in awe of Rebecca’s response. 

Rebecca: “I don’t typically encounter many issues in training, unless it’s weather related or to do with personal things going on outside of running. I am, and always have been, a slower and low mileage runner, but that doesn’t derail me or make me “get in my head.”

That said, races can be a stressful experience for Rebecca, with race cutoffs never far from her mind. Even in the face of uncertainty, she remains remarkably undeterred, reminding us all to continue to chase big goals no matter how unlikely they may seem!

Rebecca: “I know I can complete these distances, but am I fast enough to make cutoffs? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, still I never regret going for big goals.”

Working such an ambitious and motivated athlete comes with its own set of challenges, as Greg attests to, but he, like Rebecca, sees them in a very positive light.

Greg: “Coaching Rebecca is a rollercoaster of exhilaration and anticipation, characterized by the electrifying unpredictability of her ambitions. From impromptu 100 mile races, to last-minute decisions to pace a friend across unforgiving terrain, Rebecca’s spontaneity keeps me on my toes. Yet, amidst the whirlwind of uncertainty, her commitment to the process remains a true inspiration.

The ease of coaching Rebecca lies in her work ethic—a pursuit of excellence that leaves no room for excuses or shortcuts. She embraces each challenge with resolve, transforming obstacles into opportunities for growth.”

I finished off digging deeper into her race highlights, and again, the pure joy she has for running –running very long distances at that– shone through.

Rebecca: “All my ultras are victories! Tahoe 200 being my first; Moab 240 [Rebecca’s ‘honeymoon’] for not pushing my new husband off a cliff (haha, just kidding!); Bigfoot 200 for being the most technical and challenging of any 200 I’ve done; Cocodona 250 – I was a DNF the first time around, then went back for redemption in 2023 and had an awesome experience; and, most recently, the Southern States 200, a race I completed without crew or pacers, barely recognizing anyone on the start list, made for a fun and novel challenge in and of itself!”

At the finish of her most recent 200 mile race that inspired this piece, the Southern States 200.
At the finish of her most recent 200 mile race that inspired this piece, the Southern States 200.

Top races for new ultrarunners from Team RunRunner Rebecca Walker:

100K (62 miles) distance

  • Rebecca recommends the Black Canyons 100K for its non-technical nature, great organization, and community spirit. In her words: “it’s large enough that you’ll never be alone on the trail”.

100 miles distance

  • The Lean Horse Ultra in South Dakota and the Javelina Hundred in Arizona come top of Rebecca’s list. The two race courses are non-technical, runnable trails, and the events as a whole are a lot of fun for both runners and crew!

200+ miles distance

  • “Amazing in different ways”, according to Rebecca, these long ultras are so varied. Cocodona 250, a race that takes runners from Phoenix to Flagstaff, AZ, has quickly become one of the most highly rated and popular events. 
  • Another great beginner-friendly ultra is the Cowboy 200 in Nebraska. Rebecca highlights its “flatter and less technical nature”, and a course that is very crew accessible with good phone service throughout.

Advice for new ultrarunners from Team RunRun Coach Greg Ottinger:

I asked seasoned ultrarunner and TRR coach Greg Ottinger to share some words of wisdom for ultra-curious folk, and what I received was something quite prophetic, not to mention poetic! (Greg, if you fancy a career change, or get bored of running 200-milers, I’d take you on as a TRR staff writer in a heartbeat!).

Greg: “To aspiring ultrarunners, I offer a simple advice: dare to dream, but do so with deliberation and respect for the journey ahead. Embrace the unknown, but temper enthusiasm with wisdom and experience. Seek guidance from seasoned veterans, whether it be through mentorship or the counsel of a trusted coach. And above all, trust in the resilience of the human spirit—to endure, to overcome, and to transcend the limits of what is deemed possible.”

Oregon crest 100 miler

What’s next for Rebecca and Greg?

Unsurprisingly, Rebecca’s mind and body are already preparing for the next challenge: a relatively achievable –only by Rebecca’s standard that is!– series of 100 mile races this summer. Fear not, Rebecca’s 200+ mile days are far from behind her! In fact, Rebecca has her sights set on the Arizona Monster 300, a 309 mile run through the desert of Arizona. And before you ask, yes, I’m equally confused by the race director’s dishonesty: I mean, if runners are already covering 300 miles, why keep the extra 9 miles a secret?! 

As for coach Greg, he’s in the thick of training for the Triple Crown of 200s, running three 200-mile races in so many months this Summer, along the way inspiring more runners to give ultras a try!

If you’re curious about ultrarunning and the training it takes to run long distances, check out our group of Team RunRun coaches and filter for ultra and trail specialists.

Ruby is a runner, triathlete, and passionate coach, who is most fulfilled by helping athletes overcome limiting beliefs with joy. She is also a proud science nerd, and advocate for athletes’ mental and physical health.

Jim Thorpe 7 Miler Race Report

Race: Jim Thorpe Area Running Festival – 7 Miler

Runner: Hannah Breedlove

Race Date: 04/28/2024

Location: Jim Thorpe, PA

Result: 1:07:48

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/11122963713

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

  1. The train – the 7 miler start was accessible by a scenic train that drops you off 7 miles from the finish. Marathon runners (and I think half runners the day before, but can’t speak to it since nobody in our group ran the half this time) could also take advantage of the train, but had other options available. Riding the train through the Lehigh Gorge State Park just after sunrise on the way to the race start was a really cool experience.
  2. The race director – it’s a pretty small race, but you could tell they put their whole heart into it. I had to transfer from the marathon to the 7 miler, and the race director was so helpful. We ended up running into him at lunch on Saturday after they finished up the half marathon, and he was just a really cool guy who clearly loves his community.
  3. Jim Thorpe – what a cool town! It’s a small, historic mountain town a little over an hour outside of Philadelphia, and it was so nice. The race had three restaurants and cafes involved in the weekend where runners could get discounts, and the two we went to were amazing!
The start of the Jim Thorpe 7 miler

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

The bathroom situation – it’s not the race’s fault. The nature of the course is that it’s a point to point, net downhill, along a rail trail. Really cool! But few access points (and even fewer accessible by car) meant few opportunities to bring out porta pots. The good news: there was a bathroom on each car of the train, so you weren’t totally out of luck. But there also just wasn’t really room for emergencies along the course — even the woods were pretty much entirely visible from the train riders that pass while you’re running.

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

No bears??? Was really hoping to see a bear. Alas.

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

I haven’t raced in a long time and haven’t had the most consistent running lately. BUT – I was able to kick hard at the end and close out my race with my last mile over a minute per mile faster than my average pace, and still had more of a kick in the final 50 meters. It was so fun and I’m super proud of it!

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

If you take the train to the start, you can leave things on it and they’ll leave everything together at the finish for you. I was nervous about the bag check situation and didn’t bring anything with me, but it’s so good to know!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

If you run the full, know that the last ~8 miles are much less shaded than the first 18: wear a hat!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Gorgeous. The scenery is pretty similar the whole time, but still really really nice.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not at all! It’s net downhill and they mean it. Just a smooth cruise along a rail trail.

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, surely. It’s a small race, but honestly I’d say a well-orchestrated train ride to the start is a pretty impressive feat. There were a ton of logistics for the race, but they did well.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

The Jim Thorpe 7 Miler was largely recreational, but the marathon had a pretty competitive (albeit spread out) field!

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.

Jim Thorpe is a small town, so if you want to stay where the race ends, book your hotels early. If you’d rather stay near the start, that’s an even smaller town. Less tourism, so it’s easier to get a hotel near the highways, but also fewer amenities and cool surroundings.

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

They had UCAN at some of the stations, water, and bananas (as far as I could see on the Jim Thorpe 7 Miler course)

Weather and typical race conditions

April in the mid-Atlantic could range from 30-80, so watch the weather, haha!

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

Some marathon runners found that shoes with mesh uppers, or more porous shoes in general, got lots of rocks and sand in them. It’s not a paved course. Some runners ran with ankle gaiters, but that could feel really hot on a warmer day.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not particularly. There’s very little access along the course. But the finish line is great!

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

4/5 stars! I’m glad I ran it, I had an absolute blast, I don’t know that I need it to be a repeat race.

Looking for your next goal race like Hannah? Check out this article: “How to Choose your next Goal Race“.

5 Training Tips From Team RunRun Coach Dakotah Lindwurm

by Ruby Wyles

Team RunRun Coach and Marathoner Dakotah Lindwurm made a huge splash earlier this year when she secured her spot on Team USA for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Last week, she was featured in Runner’s World and we couldn’t be more excited for her! As a coach, Dakotah also offers her guidance to other runners: below are five training tips she lives by, highlighted in her Runner’s World article.

Dakotah breaing the tape at the Grandma's Marathon

Dakotah opens up about a rocky upbringing and challenges she faced early on, alongside her running progression from an average high school and college athlete to qualifying for the Olympics. Some of our favorite interview moments include the love Dakotah expresses for her parents, and how, from a very early age, Dakotah supported her mom through health challenges and homelessness. Another highlight is the power of a dream and role models: watching the film Miracle in middle school ignited Dakotah’s desire to make the Olympics one day herself, and after you read up on Dakotah’s unlikely path to professional running, you’ll appreciate why her making the 2024 US Olympic marathon team is nothing short of miraculous! 

Here are five training tips Team RunRun Coach Dakotah lives by, highlighted in her Runner’s World article:

1. Persistence Pays Off:

Dakotah Lindwurm’s story underscores the importance of persistence in achieving long-term success. Despite facing homelessness, financial struggles, slow progress, and initial setbacks in her running career, Dakotah persisted. She continued to train, compete, and work towards her goals, refusing to let obstacles deter her. This resilience ultimately led her to a spot on the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team, proving to her and everyone else that consistent effort over time can yield remarkable results in athletics and beyond.

2. Set Clear Goals:

We can all learn from Dakotah’s journey about the significance of setting clear and ambitious goals. From her early days in high school track to her pursuit of qualifying for the Olympic Trials, she had specific objectives that guided her training and focus along the way. Alongside Dakotah’s big-picture goal of qualifying for the Olympics, with guidance from her coaches, Dakotah focused on the small steps along the way that would eventually allow her to turn her aspirations into reality. Clear goals provided Dakotah direction, motivation, and a roadmap for her athletic success.

Dakotah Lindwurm keeps showing up and performing strong, another of the five training tips.

3. Focus on Improvement:

Another remarkable take away from Dakotah’s story is how she has remained dedicated to continuous improvement in spite of setbacks. Rather than becoming discouraged by her unremarkable high school and college track PRs, as well as the high improbability of ever signing a professional running contract, let alone qualifying for the Olympics, she embraced the opportunity to learn and grow as a runner. Dakotah’s commitment to training, her willingness to seek ways to enhance her skills from coaches and other athletes, combined with her perseverance in the face of adversity allowed her to steadily progress and achieve success at higher levels of competition. Dakotah highlights to us all the importance of focusing on the process rather than the outcome, the daily habits that drive the big changes, and using the small wins along the way as fuel to the fire.

4. Adapt and Learn:

Dakotah’s journey underscores the importance of adaptability and a willingness to learn. Throughout her career, she sought guidance from experienced coaches, adjusted her training regimen based on feedback, and continuously refined her techniques. By remaining open-minded and receptive to new ideas, such as moving up to the marathon aged only 23, as well as dialing in her fueling strategy -the reason for Dakotah dropping out of her first marathon-, she was able to evolve and progress as a runner. The ability to adapt and learn is essential for anyone looking to improve and thrive in any area of life, the ever-changing landscape of athletics being no exception.

5. Believe in Yourself:

Perhaps the most important of all five training tips and most crucial aspect of Dakotah Lindwurm’s success is her unwavering self-belief and the power of a dream. In the face of doubt and skepticism from others, she maintained a strong belief in her abilities and potential, refusing to give up on herself and her miracle. Dakotah’s confidence in herself fueled her determination, resilience, and perseverance, enabling her to persist in spite of challenges and unlikely odds, and ultimately pursue her dreams with unwavering conviction. Alongside the way, Dakotah sought advice from others -coaches, teammates, and her boyfriend- who believed in her potential too, highlighting the importance of who you surround yourself with for success in any endeavor.

On training tip is self-belief. Dakotah's bet on herself paid off as she smiled her way to a PR.

Sure, we won’t all become Olypmians, but Dakotah’s story and five training tips offer valuable insight we can all benefit from taking note of: from the power of self-belief and betting on oneself, to lessons on resilience and perseverance, and maintaining loving relationships with family and friends along the way. Dakotah’s unlikely journey from an average high school athlete and unrecruited college walk-on, to qualifying to represent Team USA at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games emphasizes the paradigm that we often overestimate what we can achieve in one year, but underestimate what we can achieve in five or ten. A decade of hard work, motivated by continual self-belief and commitment to the process, allowed Dakotah to steadily progress up the ranks to the top of the podium today.

If you only take away one thing from Dakotah Lindwurm’s story, it’s to never give up on yourself and the goals you have, no matter how improbable they may seem.

Check out Dakotah’s Team RunRun coaching profile alongside our other Team RunRun coaches here

Ruby is a runner, triathlete, and passionate coach, who is most fulfilled by helping athletes overcome limiting beliefs with joy. She is also a proud science nerd, and advocate for athletes’ mental and physical health.

How To Tame the Devil

Set yourself up for success at the Devil’s Gulch 100-Miler with these tips.

I think most of us can agree that there really isn’t such a thing as an “easy” ultramarathon. Certainly some races and routes are relatively easier than others, but, for the most part, ultras are hard! Well, the Devil’s Gulch 100-Miler turns up the heat even more! In preparation for this sizzling hot ultra, learn how to tame the devil and everything else this race throws at you with these tips.

Runners following these tips can maximize their odds of a successful race at the Devil's Gulch 100-Miler.

5 “D.E.V.I.L” Training and Racing Tips:

D – Drink! 

A lot! When it comes to hydration, getting enough of both fluid and sodium intake is potentially the most crucial aspect of success come race day. Figure out an appropriate amount of both to consume on an hourly basis: given the heat and the higher exertion rates, to tame this devil expect to be on the higher end of your usual recommended ranges. Andrew Baker also goes into more detail here in his Hydration Strategy Guide, so check that out too! Finally, do what you can to stay cool! The easiest and most effective strategy you can employ on race day is known as topical cooling. Keep yourself wet as temperatures rise by utilizing those clever iced bandanas, crushing ice into arm sleeves or hydration packs, as well as using any creek crossings to your advantage!

E – Experiment 

Trial a wide array of food and fueling options into your training. When it comes to these very long endurance events, it’s hard to predict what you will and won’t be craving at mile 84: sticking to only sweet options or just one single gel flavor of a gel can leave you wanting a lot more. Before and during your runs, experiment with salty, savory, and sweet options, in addition to more solids of different textures and flavors. Give high-carb drink mixes a try: when food can’t stay down, often fluids can! Start trying to consume ~60-90g of carbohydrate per hour, adjusting from there based on your personal needs!

V – Verbalize 

If you’re deciding to have crew support, clearly communicate your expectations ahead of time before the race. Nail down the nitty gritty details of which food and drink items that you’d like to be restocked with and when. Create a list of any items you want laid out at aid stations ahead of time: a camp chair, new shoes/socks, sunblock, headlamp, iced bandanas, arm sleeves, etcetera. 

The same communication of expectations applies to your pacer as well! It goes without saying that a good partnership ahead of race day is a must: ensure you’ve talked through how you think you’ll best respond to executing on race day, as well as when you’re in a state of high mental or physical fatigue. Do you want them to be chatty, tell jokes, and just keep the mood light? Do you prefer very minimal talking and to stay calm and focused on the task at hand?

Adapting your training to the specific demands of the Devil's Gulch 100-Miler course will prepare you best for race day.

I – Incorporate 

Adapt your training to the specific demands of the course. Look over the elevation profile, and make note of how the longer uphills and downhills unfold. For the Devil’s Gulch, this could mean averaging the race’s 240’ vertical gain per mile over the course of a long run. Try incorporating longer downhills, followed by a sustained climb to get a good neuromuscular match for what you’ll see on race day!

L – Lean 

Lean into the discomfort. Embrace it. This will be a key mindset in helping manage the inevitable challenges you will experience throughout the race. And remember to smile and celebrate, regardless of the end result! 

This runner verbalized ahead of time that they wanted to pick up poles at the aid station, and is leaning into the discomfort of a steep uphill.

Tame the devil with these tips, and save your day from boiling over in the Devil’s Gulch! Catch me volunteering at the Devil’s Spur aid station this year, and I’m wishing every runner who takes on this challenge success!

See you on the trails!

Keith Laverty is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.

Prepare for the Orca Half Marathon

Here is a cheat sheet on how to prepare for the Orca Half Marathon held every September by Orca Running. This is their flagship race. It’s flat and fast. It provides great views. And it is so popular that they now run the race on both Saturday and Sunday to accommodate everyone wanting to do this event. This guide provides an in-depth look at how to train, and how to pace yourself so that you can be your best on race day, be that setting a new PR or simply crossing the finish line. 

Preparing for the half marathon

Time to train: A half marathon training plan is a bit dependent on your current level of fitness and running experience. Most plans will run 12 to 16 weeks and have you running anywhere from four to six days per week. One benefit of having a coach versus just following a plan is that you can adapt and adjust your training based on your schedule and needs versus following a rigid plan. But regardless of if you have a coach or not, you need to recognize that preparing to be your best on race day requires time, and consistently showing up to prepare! 

Here are the key pieces to the training puzzle, and while each runner likely requires a different recipe for training, these are the key ingredients in nearly every successful half marathon training plan. 

Easy Efforts: Though half the distance of a marathon, the half marathon is still a long-distance event. The foundation for running long distances is building aerobic endurance. “Easy” or “conversational pace” runs are the bread and butter of building endurance. If you’re following heart rate zones, we’re talking about z1 and z2 here. There are a variety of ways to assess how much training volume one can sustain and benefit from during any season – the key is to avoid overdoing it so that you can reduce injury risk. Conversation pace running is 70-80% of your overall running volume. A coach can help find the ideal total training load for you, and balance the easy efforts with the more challenging training sessions. 

Half-Marathon-Paced Long Runs: Whether you’ve raced several half marathons or you’re running your first one, a critical component of your training is running at the pace you plan to run in the race. There are numerous methods to determine your race pace, but most all deal with the concept of zones. Some of the most common zones are aerobic recovery, aerobic training, lactate threshold, critical zone or “race pace”, V02 Max, and anaerobic. Each individual will have unique needs and limits, but generally for the half marathon distance your race pace zone usually sits at an effort above aerobic and below lactate threshold. Determining race pace is dependent on current fitness levels and your experience with running. Race pace workouts usually comprise 1-2 days per week or 10-15% of weekly volume. They can be standalone workouts or folded into your weekly long run. Typically, in the first part of your training you will run 5-10 seconds slower than your goal race pace, working your way up to sustained race pace runs, and some workouts 5-10 seconds faster than goal race pace as you approach tapering. This specificity of repeated bouts of training will help your body adapt to the stresses of running faster and longer.

Tempo Runs: Running at a pace positioned above half-marathon pace combined with bouts of running at easier paces will prepare your body for the stress of race day, and boost your overall aerobic capacity for longer, sustained efforts. Tempo runs (aka threshold, steady-state, fast pace) are done at a swift, sustained pace, generally for 20-30 minutes and sometimes as long as an hour or more. Your coach can help you determine a “comfortably hard” pace for these types of workouts. Novices sometimes find this difficult, but tempo runs are the bread and butter for experienced runners. Tempo runs train the cardiorespiratory system and muscular systems to efficiently absorb, deliver, and utilize oxygen. They improve endurance, promote more efficient running form, and teach runners how to deal with low-grade physical discomfort. Distances, paces, and times will vary depending on the runner’s goals, but most tempo runs start at a comfortable pace with increasingly faster running to stimulate the race effort. Individual needs and limits apply, but a common approach is to have one day per week or 10-15% of your weekly volume devoted to a harder, faster than goal pace effort. 

Race strategies for the half marathon

Yes, the course is shorter than a full marathon, but that doesn’t mean you want to hammer the pace from start to finish. A common mistake in races of all distances is going out too fast too early, and the half marathon is no exception. You may feel great for the first part of the race, but you will pay the price for it later if you’re running beyond your current fitness. To help you reach your potential on race day and avoid the common mistake of pushing too hard too soon, I’ve provided this framework for you. I like to think of the race as a few different phases of racing, each with their own strategy.

Race start: From the start line to about four miles in it makes sense to run a bit slower (about 5-15 seconds/mile slower) than your goal half marathon pace. You are feeling your way into the race and tamping down some adrenaline at the same time so this phase will be slightly more mentally taxing than later phases. You will be tempted to run faster. Don’t.

Race middle: From miles five through 10 you will start to settle into your goal race pace. Gradually start running faster until you hit your goal pace. Earlier in this phase running at your race pace will feel comfortably challenging, but be prepared for it to take progressively more effort as the miles click by. Appreciate the flow and wait to start pushing the pace.

Race end: From miles 11 to the finish line. You went out slower and gradually worked up to your goal race pace for a reason. Now is the time to push the pace (about 5-10 seconds/mile faster) and see what you have left in the tank. Use that conserved energy you banked earlier to lean into any challenges you might feel. With one mile to go now is the time to throw the hammer down and give it all you’ve got left.

Racing this method is what’s commonly known as a negative split, meaning you run the second half of the race faster than the first. It takes practice and discipline to nail this strategy, but it’s a common approach in part because the proof is in the pudding. Races are inherently unpredictable, but if you can focus on what you can control – pace, effort, nutrition, gear, and your training – you might just find your reward is a PR.

While half the distance of a full marathon, preparing for a half marathon still requires dedication, consistency, and a well-structured training plan. By focusing on building aerobic endurance through easy efforts, practicing at half-marathon pace during long runs, and incorporating tempo runs to boost aerobic capacity, runners can set themselves up for success on race day. Additionally, understanding race strategies like pacing yourself throughout different phases of the race can make a significant difference in achieving your goals. Remember, training for a half marathon is not just about physical preparation but also mental discipline and strategic execution. By following a tailored training plan, staying committed to your goals, and executing smart race strategies, you can maximize your performance and potentially achieve a new personal record. So lace up those shoes, hit the pavement with purpose, and enjoy the journey towards conquering your next half marathon challenge! And if you’re in the Seattle area, I hope to see you at the Orca Half Marathon in September! 

Jon Phillips is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.

Saturnalia 10k Race Info

WINTER, DARKNESS, AND ALL THE WEATHER – Held near the darkest time of the year in the Pacific Northwest, this should brighten up your mood if you’re in need of a well-supported trail race with fun vibes and friendly faces. The race starts and ends at Reeves Middle School in Olympia, WA, and runs on the rolling trails in Squaxin Park.

The Quick List

  • When: 16 December 2023
  • Start time: 9am
  • Where: Squaxin Park, Olympia, WA (Park at Reeves Middle School, 2200 Quince Street NE, Olympia,WA 98506
  • Distance: 10k
  • Awesomeness: 5 out of 5
  • Motivation to race a winter 10k!

Important to Know

  • This is a cupless race, so bring your own flask/collapsible cup, or purchase one at the race.
  • The course is open to the public, so be nice to other trail users while you pass them.
  • There is no course cut-off! If a walk in the woods is your jam, this race is perfect for you.
  • Packet pickup is race morning, so set that alarm, but with a reasonable start of 9am, you won’t have to set it too early.
  • Wear trail shoes with good traction given it’s the wet season in the PNW, with wet bridges and we leaves on the ground covering roots and other ankle twisters!
  • Bring warm clothes to change into afterwards given it’s likely to be wet. Restrooms are available for the day of the race at Reeves gym
  • Parking is at Reeves Middle School. Please do not park at Squaxin Park!
  • Address: 2200 Quince Street NE, Olympia,WA 98506
Wet, leaves, and possibly mud at the Saturnalia 10k in Olympia, WA

Course

  • Type: The pay-attention-to-course-markings kind of course
  • Start/Finish Info: Same location, Reeves Middle School track
  • Hills: Rollers throughout of 30-100 feet gain/loss at a time.
  • 659 feet of elevation gain in 6.4 miles
  • Course Map, Elevation Profile and GPX Route in Strava Race Group.
  • Leave some gas in the tank for the final 100 ft climb back up to the finish!

Aid stations

  • Fully stocked aid station at the finish line
  • Water, Tailwind, soda, fruit, chips, pickles and a few other treats.
  • Warm beverages to…well…warm up!

Spectator access

The best location is the start/finish, but since the trails are open to the public, spectators are allowed to be in the park as well.

Club Event Page on Strava

Race Website

Rock Candy Running

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Info

Indianapolis Marathon Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Not much shade on the course, especially the latter miles, so have a hat/sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Beginning miles share the HM course as well, so don’t get caught up in the faster pace of the half marathoners
  • Flat for the most part, with some small rollers in the second half that you’ll feel all the more if you go out too hard
  • Course is more scenic than you’d expect and has some spectators throughout, but expect some quieter portions of the race
  • Be aware that not every aid station has Gatorade – the map shows Gatorade at every other station
  • Likely to be chilly at the start, but it has warmed up in the past and the later start helps at 8am
  • Have a plan for dry, warm clothes at the end because you’ll cool down quickly
  • The course meets back up with the half marathoners around mile 23, so you may find it more crowded and be ready to weave through walkers and slower half marathon runners

Course

Type: Lollipop type of course

Start/Finish Info: Same location

Hills: Minimal to small rollers throughout. Biggest hill from ~15-18.5 of ~60 feet

Course Map/Elevation Profile

Aid stations

Locations of water stations: Water about every ~1.5 miles

Locations of electrolyte stations: Gatorade about every ~3 miles, offered at every other aid station. Clif energy products at 15.5 and 22, fruit at miles ~18 and 22

Spectator access

Access Locations: Check map for road closures for both full and half. May be difficult to get around town and on foot you can see a couple of different spots.

Boston qualifier?

Yes

Race reports

https://www.bibrave.com/races/indianpolis-monumental-marathon-reviews#.XXnB0uhKg2w

https://jbirdruns.com/race-recap-2018-cno-monumental-marathon/

https://raceraves.com/races/indianapolis-monumental-marathon/

https://www.michiganmarathoner.com/blog-1/2017/11/6/indy-monumental-marathon-recap-30445

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/running-races/2018-indianapolis-marathon

Race Website

https://monumentalmarathon.com/

Two Cities Marathon Race Info

Date: 11/3/2019

Location: Clovis, CA

Start Time: 6:30am

Avg Temps (f): 71/47

Time Limit: 6.5 hours

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Well-run, organized race and course – lots of positive reviews about the swag, the course organization and markings
  • Scenery and crowd support is a little sparse at times
  • Not a completely flat course, some rollers along the way, but still a fairly fast course
  • With it being a smaller race and starting the earliest, crowds aren’t much of an issue at the start
  • Some out and back portions, so you can see who’s ahead and behind you
  • Several races going on simultaneously, with runners and walkers, but for the most part, not an issue to have enough running space

Course

Type: Mainly out and back course

Start/Finish Info: Both in Clovis, CA

Hills: Minimal – biggest hill is ~50ft in gain from mile 21.5-22

Course Map/Elevation Profile

Aid stations

Locations of water and electrolyte stations: See course map

Electrolyte offered: Gu energy gels and Nuun electrolyte drink

Spectator access

Access Locations: See Spectator info

Boston qualifier?

Yes

Race reports

https://www.bibrave.com/races/two-cities-marathon-reviews#.XXFrBOhKg2w

http://www.runningruminations.com/2016/11/13/2016-two-cities-marathon-race-report/

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/activities/1946285128

Race Website

http://www.twocitiesmarathon.com/

marine corps marathon race report

Marine Corp Marathon and 50k Race Info

Summary: The Marine Corp Marathon and 50k are run in the Fall each year in Arlington, VA, usually bringing large crowds and fairly unpredictable weather, but the energy of the races and the finish line are unforgettable.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Expect crowds throughout the race weekend – from packet pickup, to transportation, to the race. Lots of runners and spectators throughout
  • The race ends with .2 miles of uphill, so be mentally prepared
  • Even with it being in late October, temps can still be quite warm
  • If you train on relatively flat terrain, the course will likely feel hilly
  • It can be a fairly emotional race given the ties to the Marines, especially mile 12, the Blue Mile, which honors fallen soldiers
  • Getting to the start on public transportation can be tough with so many people trying to use transit and with it not starting very early in the morning
  • It’s a fairly long walk from public transportation to the runner’s village and start corral – about 1 mile
  • Miles 18-20 of the marathon can get a bit lonely, while the rest of the course is quite crowded
  • While there is an overall cutoff time, there are a couple of cutoff times throughout the race as well, where they’ll direct runners a different way and not give an official finish time

Course

Type: Point to Point with one big loop and several out and backs within the bigger loop

Start/Finish Info: The 50k course will follow the marathon course across the Key Bridge and divert at mile 4.5 for an out-and-back along Canal Road. There, the 50k course rejoins the marathon and continues onto the finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial. 

Hills: Biggest hill is in the first 2 miles, gain of ~200 feet; total gain of ~900 feet in the marathon

Course Maps/Elevation

Aid stations

13 water points and 11 aid stations for the 50k, and the marathon shares all but the first of the 50k’s water and aid stations. Water and Gatorade at each stop.

Oranges at mile 7, Honey Stingers between miles 12 and 13 and near mile 23, and Jelly Belly Sports Beans around mile 19

Spectator access

Locations and tips

Boston qualifier?

Marathon – yes

Race reports

https://teamrunrun.com/marine-corps-marathon-race-report-navindra-g/

https://paulrobichaux.com/2018/11/03/race-report-2018-marine-corps-marathon/

http://www.runningonhappy.com/2017/10/marine-corps-marathon-race-recap-2017/

http://www.mollyonthemoveblog.com/the-marine-corps-marathon-my-experience-review-of-the-race/

https://www.bibrave.com/races/marine-corps-marathon-reviews

https://theaccidentalmarathoner.com/race-recap-2017-marine-corps-marathon/

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/running_races/2156

Race Website

https://www.marinemarathon.com/events/marathon

Running your first race? Check out our first-time runner checklist!

Pocatello Marathon Race Info

Date: 8/31/2019

Location: Pocatello, ID

Start Time: 6:15am

Avg Temps (f): 83/47

Time Limit: 6.5 hours

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Runners must ride the bus to the start – no personal vehicles at the start. Be sure you know the shuttle information.
  • Small out and back around mile 7-8; otherwise, minimal turns along the course, which can be faster but also hard mentally on a rural course
  • With the first half losing so much of the elevation, be sure not to go out too fast so you don’t burn out and have less loss in the second half of the course. Have patience and it will pay off later!
  • Some of the downhill in the first half can feel steep – do downhill training if possible and know that your quads will have extra work in the first half
  • Small field of runners, so be prepared to be running alone
  • First half of the course is much more scenic than the second half, so be prepared for that mentally
  • Much of the course is open to traffic, so stay aware of cars on the road, and know that traffic noise and exhaust can be tiring
  • Course is very exposed and likely to be sunny – bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen and have a plan for cooling off with water/ice at the aid stations
  • Even with the early start, it gets warm and sunny throughout the race
  • Course isn’t every spectator friendly since it’s rural and out on country roads, so be prepared for quiet miles along the way!

Course

Type: Point to Point

Start/Finish Info: Different locations; shuttle to start

Hills: Net downhill course with small pop ups around miles 6.5, 16.5, and 21.5. Out of the ~1,550 feet of loss, the first half drops approximately 1,400 feet, and then the second half only drops about 150 feet.

Course Map/Elevation

Aid stations

Locations of water/electrolyte stations: Miles 3.3, 5.3, 8, 10.4, 12.7, 14.4, 16.2, 18.6, 19.7, 20.7, 21.7, 22.7, 23.6, 24.6, and 25.3.

Electrolyte offered: PowerAde and Clif Shot energy gel available at miles 12.7, 20.7, and 22.7. Bananas and oranges at miles 5.3, 16.2, 19.7, 22.7, and 24.6. Assorted wrapped hard candy at miles 8, 14.4, 18.6, and 21.7.

Spectator access

Access Locations: Minimal

Boston qualifier?

Yes

Race reports

https://www.bibrave.com/races/pocatello-marathon-reviews#.XVtr8uhKg2w

https://raceraves.com/races/pocatello-marathon/

http://www.dizruns.com/pocatello-marathon/

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/activities/1812504808

Race Website

https://pocatellomarathon.com/

Javelina Jangover Night Runs Race Info

 

Date

9/28/19

Location

Fountain Hills, AZ

Avg Temps f.

93/70

Gain/Loss in ft

800ft per 25k

ft/mile gain

51.6

Highest Elev.

~2500ft

Start

7:00PM – 75K

7:15PM – 50K

Surface

Trail

Time Limit

7:00am general cutoff

Sunrise/set

6:15pm/6:20am

Furthest Aid

~8.5miles

 

Summary: Another popular Aaravaipa race in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, offering several distances, including 75k, 50k, 25k, 15k, and 7k, running on rolling desert single track trails with faster, smooth sections, some rocky sections, and old jeep trails. Races are stagger started, with the 75k starting first at 7pm. Races are multiples of the 25k Pemberton Trail Loop, with about 800 feet of elevation gain and loss per 25K loop. Runners switch directions each loop.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Have a good headlamp (that’s completely charged!) considering your entire race will be in the dark. Seems like a no-brainer, but lots of race reports talk about headlamp issues. Have a backup at the start/finish.
  • It’s a gradual climb up to the aid station in the middle of the loop and is enough of a climb to be noticeable but still runnable, especially if you’re running more than one loop
  • Some sections are smooth but others are quite rocky, enough to easily fall if you’re not paying attention
  • Considering it’s all in the dark, be mindful of course markings, especially if you’ve never run the course before
  • Expect temps to still be in the 80s even after the sun goes down
  • If it rains, once it stops, it’s likely to be very humid
  • Likely to see snakes, scorpions, spiders, etc and hear coyotes
  • Leave plenty of energy for loops 2 and 3 if you’re running more than the 25k
  • The hills will seem bigger and bigger on each ensuing loop as you get more tired and the longer you run in the dark
  • Be careful not to linger too long in aid stations – they have great aid stations with lots of food options, but the time can also add up!

Elevation

Total gain/loss: 800 ft gain/loss per 25k loop

Ft/mile gain: 51.6

Total climbs: Each loop consists of one main climb and one main descent of ~700 feet

Course Map/Elevation profile (CalTopo of 25k loop)

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 2 per loop, one at the start/finish and one about 8.5 miles in for loops 1 and 3 (75k), around mile 21 for loop 2 (50k and 75k).

Furthest distance apart:  ~8.5miles

What’s available: Standard aid station fare, along with plenty of ice given warm conditions are likely – water, ice, electrolyte drinks, salty and sweet snacks, fruit, pb&j, hot foods and more.

Crew access

Access Locations: At start/finish only at the Pemberton Trailhead Staging Area

Pacers

For 75k race only on loop 3

Race qualifiers

50K & 75K distances – 2 UTMB points.

Race reports

http://running.teamwoodall.com/races/2016-2/javelina-jangover/

http://delsalt.blogspot.com/2016/09/javelina-jangover-50km-night-race.html

http://christarzanclemens.com/2014/09/running-through-a-jangover/

Strava activities and GPX files

https://www.strava.com/activities/1876042264

Race Website

https://www.aravaiparunning.com/insomniac/jangover/

Air Force Half Marathon Race Info

Date: 9/21/2019

Location: Dayton, OH

Start Time: 7:30am

Avg Temps (f): 74/53

Time Limit: 6 hours

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Past years have seen warm temps and the start time of the half has been moved up by an hour, so hopefully that helps. Otherwise, September in Ohio is fairly unpredictable
  • First couple miles are tight on space, so your splits could be slower, but it also prevents you from going out too fast
  • Not the most beautiful course, lots of fields and chain link fences
  • Course can get windy in spots
  • Biggest hill is in the latter part of the race – save something for those last several miles
  • In the last mile, you go past the finish line, which can make it seem extra long if you’re dying to be finished!
  • Not a fast course with the hills and possibility for wind
  • Very little shade on the course, so if it’s hot, it feels extra hot – bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Give yourself plenty of time for parking and/or shuttle for pre-race since the start/finish are in different locations
  • Not many spectator locations, so the course can get quiet – if you feed off the energy of a crowd, this isn’t the race for that
  • A more challenging course than runners expect it to be with the rolling hills, climbs, and false summits

Course

Type: Mainly two loops

Start/Finish Info: Different locations but still close to each other

Hills: ~125 foot climb mile .5-1, from mile 5-11, gradual climb of nearly 200 feet with a lot of rollers in between, ranging from 5-150 feet gains at a time. Not a flat course!!!

Course Map/Elevation

Aid stations

Locations of aid stations: About every 1-2 miles – see Course Map for details

Spectator access

Best spots are around mile 6 and the finish. See Course Map for details.

Race reports

https://www.bibrave.com/races/us-air-force-marathon-reviews/6395

http://runwithjess.blogspot.com/2012/09/race-recap-air-force-half-marathon.html

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/running-races/2015-air-force-marathon

Race Website

https://www.usafmarathon.com/

St. Luke’s Via Marathon Race Info

Date: 9/8/19

Location: Allentown to Easton, PA

Start Time: 7:10am

Avg Temps (f): 77/52

Time Limit: 6 hours (1pm)

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • New course for 2019 because of train disrupting course in previous years
  • Two hairpin turns around miles 3.5 and 12.75, where you’ll have to slow down to make the turn. It gets hard to change speed for those kind of turns as you get later in the race.
  • Course is mainly run on packed gravel rather than asphalt. Roots and other tripping hazards are spray painted, but be aware of footing
  • Course is mainly flat with a couple of small pop-ups, and be ready for sore quads with a net downhill course
  • Crowd support is minimal, so be ready to have quiet miles
  • With the relay going on at the same time, don’t get swept up in too fast of a pace of a runner running a shorter leg
  • Previous years have seen hot, humid weather
  • The main part of the course’s downhill is in the beginning miles, so don’t go out too fast when there’s the most downhill to help propel you faster than normal
  • Most race reports mention struggling with the humidity, the packed dirt terrain, the lack of crowds and runners near the last several miles, and expecting to PR since it’s a net downhill course and a popular BQ

Course

Type: Point to Point, net downhill, mainly on the Lehigh River Canal Towpath

Start/Finish Info: Allentown to Easton, PA, parking at both start and finish and shuttles provided both ways

Hills: Minimal – net downhill course

Course Map/Elevation Profile

Aid stations

Locations of water and electrolyte stations: Water and Gatorade every 1.5-2 miles, except no Gatorade at mile 16.8

Electrolyte offered: Hammer Gels offered at miles 6.2, 12, 16.8 and 22.6

Spectator access

Access Locations: Best locations are at the relay exchange points, miles 6.2, 12, 16.8 and 22.6

Boston qualifier?

Yes

Race reports

https://www.bibrave.com/races/via-marathon-reviews/3830

https://findmymarathon.com/race-detail.php?zname=Via%20Marathon

http://fuelingforthelongrun.com/lehigh-marathon-recap/

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/activities/1830078563

Race Website

https://www.viamarathon.org/event-information/marathon/

River Run Half Marathon Race Info

Date: 9/8/2019

Location: Berea, OH

Start Time: 8:00am

Avg Temps (f): 77/59

Time Limit: 3 hours

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • There are 2 hairpin turns early on in the race – just before mile 2 and around 2.5 – be ready to change gears to slow down for the turns and possibly have quite a few people around you still since it’s early in the race
  • Shade on much of the course helps if it’s a sunny and/or hot day
  • Not tons of spectators on the course, so if you like spectators, be aware that you’ll have some quiet miles since it’s mainly run on a closed course along the river and through parks
  • Scenic course since it’s run through the parks and along the river, so you trade of spectators and crowds for scenery
  • Race reports mention small bumps along the way for hills, but still a fast course given it’s a net downhill
  • Being point to point with shuttles either to the start or finish, be ready for logistics to take longer than normal

Course

Type: Point to Point

Start/Finish Info: Starts at Wallace Lake in Berea, OH and finishes at Memorial Fields in the Metroparks in Rocky River

Hills: Minimal – net downhill course

Course Map/Elevation

 

Aid stations

Locations of water stations: Miles 2.5, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12.

Locations of electrolyte stations: Gatorade at miles 6, 8, 10, and 12. Gels at miles 6 and 8.

Spectator access

Access Locations: Miles 6, 9, 10, and 11, but no spectators at miles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, or 12 

Parking:

Mile 6: Cedar point rd and the Nature Center

Mile 9: Mastic Woods Golf Course

Mile 10: Big Met Gold Course

Mile 11: Little Met Golf Course

Race reports

https://www.bibrave.com/races/river-run-half-marathon-reviews/1723

https://raceraves.com/races/river-run-half-marathon/

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/activities/1830001616

https://www.strava.com/activities/1830071019

Race Website

https://www.riverrunhalf.com/

Reykjavik Marathon Race Info

Date: 8/24/2019

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland

Start Time: 8:40am

Avg Temps (f): 55/46

Time Limit: 7.5 hours

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • In spite of the rolling elevation profile, lots of runners report a fairly flat, fast course
  • Not many spectators in the second half of the race, and since it’s not a huge field of runners, be ready for some alone miles
  • Weather likely to be cool but nearly perfect marathon weather given it’s not that hot in August in Iceland
  • Carry your own water/fuel if you need it more than every 5k
  • Helpful photo guide to see the roads and paths on the course – most look smooth and it looks exposed, so bring a hat or sunglasses if it’s sunny: https://runninginiceland.com/2015/08/12/photo-guide-to-the-reykjavik-marathon/
  • Lots of runners made an event out of the race in the sense of taking a vacation in Iceland, going for the cultural fest, and checking out the city and the country, so all very positive reviews of the race given it was part of a bigger experience.
  • Several races going on at the same time, so be careful not to get caught up in the pace of faster distances like 10k and half marathoners
  • Err on the side of being trained for hills rather than being trained for flat – most race reports talked about a flat, fast course, but a couple of race reports struggled on hills past the 15k mark.

Course

Type: Loop course starting and finishing in Laekjargata located in the center of Reykjavik

Hills: Rolling hills throughout with elevation gain anywhere from ~20-130ft, mainly starting around 15k in and throughout the rest of the race. Website says course is 60% flat, 40% rolling, mainly running on city streets and on bike paths

Course Map/Elevation (Remember elevation profile is in Meters, not Feet)

 

Aid stations

Locations of water/electrolyte stations: Every 5km with bananas in the second half of the race

Electrolyte offered: Powerade

Runners can leave a refreshment at the Expo and it will be brought to the 21 km and/or the 31 km station. Be sure to mark your refreshments very well.

Spectator access

Access Locations: Mainly at start/finish, but spectators can drive around to accessible spots based on the course map.

Boston qualifier?

Yes

Race reports

https://raceraves.com/races/reykjavik-marathon/

https://runninginiceland.com/2017/08/14/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-reykjavik-marathon/

https://www.bibrave.com/races/reykjavik-marathon-reviews

http://danerunsalot.blogspot.com/2015/08/reykjavik-marathon-recap.html

https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/race-report-reykjavik-marathon-2016/

Strava links

https://www.strava.com/running-races/2016-reykjavik-marathon

https://www.strava.com/activities/1780534523/overview

Race Website

https://www.rmi.is/en/

Vertigo Night Run Race Info

Summary (from the race website): All races are held on the 6.5 mile (10.4 kilometer) Sonoran Competitive track loop. The 31K runners will complete 3 loops, while the 52K ultra division will complete 5 loops, passing through the start/finish line after each lap! The Sonoran Loop offers a variety of obstacles to test runners skills. The track consists of steep inclines, swooping turns, technical descents, and rugged terrain.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Cupless event – bring your own bottles
  • Have cash for the parking fee in the park
  • Though it’s not a lot of ft/mile gain, the course looks like it’s never flat, with one really steep ascent of ~175 feet on each loop
  • Expect hot temps even after the sun has set, likely in the 80’s
  • With it being a loop course, have a strong mental game because it’s so easy to quit since you pass the start/finish so often
  • Course is a big mix of runnable, faster sections, short and steep ascents and descents, sandy washes, and technical sections. Be ready to adapt and try to avoid being frustrated if you can’t find a good “flow”

Elevation

Total gain/loss: 1197/1197

Ft/mile gain: 62

Course Map/Elevation profile

Aid stations

One remote aid station on each loop (~4.15 miles into course) in addition to the start/finish line (every 6.5 miles). The Far Side Aid & main aid stations will be stocked with water, ice, electrolyte drinks (Gnarly & Gatorade), salty and sweet snacks, fruit, pb&j, bean rollups, hot food (quesadillas, grilled cheese), and more.

Crew access

Allowed at start/finish of each loop (every 6.5 miles)

Pacers

None for 31k race

Race reports

http://koreykonga.blogspot.com/2014/08/vertigo-night-runs-31k-race-report.html

Strava activities and GPX files

https://www.strava.com/activities/1121346815

Race Website

https://www.aravaiparunning.com/insomniac/vertigo/

Running with the Bears Marathon Race Info

Date: 8/17/2019

Location: Greenville, CA

Start Time: 6:30am

Avg Temps (f): 88/46

Time Limit: None, but cannot provide course support after 1:30pm

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Huge temperature swing from the early morning to afternoon temps. Race offers to keep your warm clothes at the start
  • Course is deemed flat on the website but the long gradual hill from mile 7-17 can wear you down
  • Small town race – be prepared to run alone since it’s not a huge race full of runners and spectators
  • Course is mainly country roads where you can see quite far and chance of exposure is high – be prepared with sunglasses and a hat and for the heat, as exposed courses heat up quickly! Also a mental challenge to run on country roads since you can see so far ahead of you
  • With temperatures warming up to 80s during the day, have a strategy for keeping cool

Course

Type: Lollipop

Start/Finish Info: Located in the lollipop part of the course, so you start on the loop, do an out and back, then finish the loop at the start/finish.

Hills: Mainly flat course on pavement, with the main hill being ~175ft in gain from mile 7-17

Course Map/Elevation

Aid stations

Located approximately every 2-4 miles throughout all courses and are stocked with water, specialty hydration drinks, snacks, dog treats, and first-aid kits.

Spectator access

Nothing mentioned on the site, but likely hard to see runners because of limited places to park along the roads.

Boston qualifier?

Yes

Race reports

http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=4911180818

Race Website

https://www.runningwiththebears.org/

Never Summer 100k Race Reports and Info

Summary: Never Summer 100k is a challenging loop course, mountain race with extended periods of high alpine ridge running, two alpine peaks, and five alpine lakes, with much of its challenging terrain between 10,000-12,000 feet. Runners will run on a variety of terrain, from cross country, to jeep and logging roads, to alpine trail, and everything in between and often not very trail-like, leading runners across meadows and streams and likely seeing elk, moose and bighorn sheep. Come prepared for beautiful views but also trails that will challenge you to earn them!

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Cell service is limited, so make sure you as a runner and spectators/crew know where to go, rules, etc. Print runner handbook pre-race for directions.
  • Cupless aid stations except for cups for soda but cups cannot be carried out of aid station
  • All runners must have the capacity to carry a *minimum* of 20 oz of water, whether in a bottle or a hydration pack
  • Crewing only allowed at aid stations, nowhere else along the course
  • Hiking poles are allowed
  • Watch for course markings at all times, especially turns, and know that the best looking trails aren’t always the course trails
  • Other users on the trail like day hikers and horses, so be courteous and share the trail
  • 3rd climb up to Diamond Peak goes straight up on seemingly no trail – be ready for steep!
  • Section on the Yurt Trail is infamously slow, like 10 miles could take 4 hours because of the footing on loose talus
  • Out and back section between aid stations 39.4 and 43.9 – expect the trail to be crowded to share the singletrack and be ready for a mental low if you’re doing the climbing and being passed by happy runners descending
  • Have a plan for a headlamp if there’s a chance you’ll go beyond sunset (and there’s likely a very good chance!)
  • Practice hiking, as you’re likely to do a lot of it
  • Have warm clothes in a drop bag for running in the dark, as temps drop fast in Colorado once the sun goes down
  • Also have warm clothes for post-race
  • Expect to run hours slower than what you think you’d run a trail 100k in – many race reports indicate that the course was much more difficult than expected, not only because of the terrain, but also the climbs and the altitude

Elevation

Total gain/loss: 13,000/13,000

Ft/mile gain: 202

Total climbs: 7 major climbs of 2×2000-2500ft, 3×1200-1700ft, 2×750-1000

Course Map/Elevation profile

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 9

Furthest distance apart: 11.4 miles

Locations: Miles 11.4, 17.2, 23.2, 29.4, 39.4, 43.9, 50.1, 55.8, 62

What’s available: Vfuel gel and sports drink, water and ice and an assortment of items depending on weather, what time of day, etc. including items like: Pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, fruit, cookies, M&M’s, gummy bears, soda,  sandwich rolls, boiled potatoes, and later aid stations serving runners through the night will offer hot ramen, broth, and coffee/cocoa.

Crew access

Access Locations: Miles 17.2, 29.4 (hike-in only), 50.1 (hike-in only), 55.8, 62, start/finish

Crew Map

Crew Directions (starting on page 11). Be sure to read crew and pacer rules.

Pacers

Yes, pacers can start at Canadian (50.1) or Bockman Road (55.8). For runners over the age of 60, pacers can start at the Ruby Jewel aid station (29.4).

Race qualifiers

Western States 100 (must finish under 23 hours)

UTMB – Double check since UTMB rules keep changing!

Race reports

Never Summer 100k Race Report – Bucky Love

Race: Never Summer 100K Runner: Bucky Love Race Date: 7/31/2021 Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO. Results: 18 hours 42 mins Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5719248082 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? 1. I would say the scenery for this one, except the ...
never summer 100k race report

Never Summer 100k Race Report – Matt Urbanski

Race: Never Summer 100k Runner: Matt Urbanski Race Date: 07/27/2019 Location: Gould, CO Results: 3rd OA, 13:02:10 Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2571413940 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? Scenery - I rarely pay too much attention to this aspect of racing and am more into ...

Strava activities and GPX files

https://www.strava.com/activities/1737736906

https://www.strava.com/activities/1736452493

Race Website

http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/

Runner handbook

wyeast howl 50k

Wy’East Howl 100k and 50k Race Info

Summary: Wy’East Howl 100k and 50k are on the super scenic, runnable singletrack trails on the slopes of Mt. Hood, with plenty of vert to challenge runners in both events. New for 2019, the 100k course is an out and back starting and finishing at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, while the 50k is a point to point, starting at Rim Rock and finishing at Mt. Hood Meadows (new 50k course in 2019, about 1,500 feet less climbing).

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Typical weather is warm and sunny but 2018, the inaugural year, saw rain, fog and chilly temperatures, so be prepared. Several race reports talking about being very cold for a lot of the race and not being able to stop long at aid stations because they were so chilly.
  • New course for 50k in 2019 – less elevation gain of 6,500 vs. 8,000 in 2018
  • Course descriptions on race website note creek crossings – be prepared for wet feet and possibly have shoes in your drop bag if you think this will bother you

Elevation

Total gain/loss:

100k: 11,600/11,600

50k: 6,500/5,100

Ft/mile gain:

100k: 187 ft/mi

50k: 210 ft/mi

Total climbs:

100k: 6 main climbs of ~1,000-1,500ft, with the longest and most gain from miles ~7-14 and ~37-44

50k: 3 main climbs of ~1,000-1,500ft, with the longest and most gain from miles ~6-13 and ~25-30

100k Course Map/Elevation profile

50k Course Map/Elevation profile

Aid stations

Total aid stations:

100k – 9

50k – 4

Furthest distance apart: 7.6 miles

Locations:

100k: Miles 7.4, 11.6, 18.4, 26, 31.3, 36.6, 44.2, 51, 55.2 (Bold = Crew access)

50k: Miles 5.5, 13.1, 20, 24.2

What’s available: Not noted on website – prepare for typical aid station fare of salty and sweet, soda, water, and plan accordingly if you need something special. Drop bags are allowed at several aid stations.

Crew access

Access Locations:

100k: Miles 7.4, 26, 36.6, 55.2, and start/finish. Miles 7.4 and 55.2 are the same aid station (Bennett Pass), and 26 and 36.6 are the same as well (Surveyor’s Ridge)

50k: Miles 24.2 (Bennett Pass) and finish at Mt. Hood Meadows. Not enough parking at Surveyor’s Ridge (mile 5.5) for 50k crew.

Crew instructions/directions: Limited parking at aid station at miles 26 and 36.6 for 100k runners (Surveyor’s Ridge) and 50k crew are asked to not go to that aid station because of parking.

Pacers

None

Race reports

Frank Fisher’s 2021 100k Race Report

Rob S’s 2018 50k Race Report

https://runoregonblog.com/2018/10/30/race-recap-inaugural-wyeast-howl-50k/

Race Website

https://www.daybreakracing.com/wyeast-howl/