Race: Greenbrier Ultras
Runner: George LaDue
Race Date: 03/25/2023
Location: Greenbrier State Park (Boonsboro, MD)
Results: Overall 16/43, Age Group 2/13 (missed first place by 94 seconds)
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
Challenging course with rock/roots, many hills, some steep, some gradual.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Well weather, pouring cold rain at start, 41 degrees without wind, after first quarter mile all my clothes soaked to my ankles, after first mile through swampy grass on dam top, shoes/socks wet too. Wind came and went, but open areas you were blown, had to hold hat.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
There were a lot of mild, moderate hills that I ran up, versus walk, and it was here I passed many a runner walking up. I attribute this to the weekly 20/30 second hill workouts I have been doing. Noticed that’s about the length time of the hills I ran up, give or take. Did not feel tired after those hills, and then when path became level or decline, I found myself speeding up to a nice pace, even with the rocks.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Well I’m not a pro, but with so much rain, took advantage of running through the wet mud, wet leaves, streams, versus around them, easier on feet landing, and not as tiresome trying to avoid time after time.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Keep moving, even the steep hills, they do eventually end.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The steeper downhills had a lot of rock, from runoffs, overuse, be careful, but not overly cautious, something I need to work on.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Yes, very nice course this time of year as leaves are not on trees yet and can get some nice valley views, though make that quick views as you have to watch your feet as trail runners know.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
RD quote, “We hear you and will improve upon a few things especially the course description. The consensus is that the course is not a 2 out of 5 but rather a 3 out of five when dry… and a 4 out of 5 when wet and muddy. We feel your pain.”
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Yes, RD and volunteers did a great job, but don’t expect to be babied.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
My first time running this event, you always see the top locals, they like this course challenge, but then there is always those driving in from other states for a new challenge which makes the field interesting.
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.
No next door hotels at this state park, but plenty available 20 minutes east or west. Don’t think it fully sold out, but it has in the past from what I understand.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Standard aid station fare, cold, hot, snacks. The key aid station was a huge walled tent where you can get out of the elements which was excellent, even contained shelves for drop bags.
Weather and typical race conditions
March mid-Atlantic race, so weather any particular year is a wild card, from sunny, to freezing rain. Told it was hailing by end of race this year.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
No special gear needed, trail shoes obviously, hydration…
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Spectators have a good view, saw a number of crew tents setup right near the course for 100 milers, or anyone. Also car parking right near course if you prefer.
How’s the Swag?
Swag is minimal, nice tech shirt, no medals, except for 100-mile belt buckle. As stated earlier, RD won’t baby you, maybe get a fist bump when you finish.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
Cutoff times are very generous, if your looking for a doable, real challenge. Score 5/5.