chuckanut 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Race: Chuckanut 50k

Runner: Keith Laverty

Date: 3/17/2018

Location: Fairhaven, WA

Results: 7th, 3:51:18

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1458074007

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

  1. Stout competition and someone to work with almost every step of the way (David Riddle of Ohio)
  2. The weather was a treat.
  3. Big sense of community and seeing a ton of familiar faces.

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

I can’t think of anything!

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

The funniest/weirdest – Literally within the first minute or so of the race, most of the front pack missed a left turn across a bridge and started running the wrong way.

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

I paced myself well in the first flatter 10k on the Interurban Trail and the first half in general. This helped propel me to feeling very strong in the 2nd half and I was able to close the final 10k pretty hard.

Nutrition was on point – sticking with Huma Gel + Tailwind. I think I only grabbed a snack once or twice from aid stations.

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

Resist the urge to blast the first 10k and you’ll very likely have a positive experience for remainder of the race. Don’t fret about the Chinscraper climb. Yes, it’s steep – but it’s ultimately a very short section of the entire race and it’s okay to power-hike a bit.

You can make up a TON of time in the final 9-10 miles after Chinscraper.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The Lost Lake section is a great spot to start really racing and gradually ramping up your effort. Plus the entire section is very runnable. The first year I had run this in 2017, I may have eased up too much on this section and lost some time compared to my competitors.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

This year in particular – pretty good! The sun was shining all day and the green ferns and mosses seemed to glow a little brighter.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

The way the course is designed with the major climbs book-ended by two flatter 10k’s makes for a tougher course. Race strategy is key!

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

Krissy Moehl and her team did a great job of providing pre-race updates. Everything went smoothly on race day. This was my first race ever of using BibBoards (instead of pins), so that was a tad tricky to put on at first but no issues with those during the race.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

One of the strongest fields out there! This race has continually been arguably the most competitive trail race year after year in the Pacific Northwest. 2017 in particular, had a very deep field on both men’s and women’s sides. This year, all men in the top-10 ran under the 4-hour barrier.

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 race sells out quickly with about 500 runners. Book your AirBNB or hotels at least 1 month in advance!

Aid Stations

The aid stations provided some nice energy and motivation as I ran through.

Weather and typical race conditions

A *rare* sunny day for this race. Chuckanut is typically a lot more muddy and rainy for this time of year.

How’s the Swag?

Without buying any extra shirts or swag, I got a big magnet for finishing. The night prior, I had also entered into a raffle for Pro-Tec Athletics and luckily, found out I had won! The pre-race event comes with a lot of free sponsor swag stuff and samples of bars and nut butter.

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

5 stars – Recommended for the competition, the community, the history.