chuckanut 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Race: Chuckanut 50k

Runner: Matt P

Date: 3/17/2018

Location: Larrabee State Park, Bellingham WA

Results: 6:02:02

Strava Activity Link:

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

  1. Super supportive crowd and teammates!
  2. Festive Aid Stations: BBQ Pork cooked by folks in grass skirts, Jameson and bars!
  3. Beautiful forest

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

First 10k was crowded, felt like downtown Seattle traffic.

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

Alcohol at the aid stations…. Maybe that’s normal for mountain ultras? Caught me off guard.

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

I paced myself and finished strongly. I wish I’d run more on Cleator road like I did in the training, but was able to pick it up on the downhill and flat section. Was pretty fun.

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

As advised previously from Stephanie’s race report, saving juice to burn after the Chinscraper uphill was a major advantage. A lot of Chinscraper isn’t easily runnable so if you save up for after that, you can blow by people that passed you going too hard on the uphill sections.

Chuckanut 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Trust the aid stations. I was way overpacked with water, didn’t need to fill up even once, but wished I’d had as my pack was loaded with food and water. Was not necessary at all. I won’t bring a pack next time.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The last and greatest uphill section – Chinscraper – is followed by miles of downhill and flat.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It is pretty. There are a few vantage points but most notably waterfalls, lush forest and rocky, rooty terrain. It is beautiful but not view-laden like other courses.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

For my first mostly-running 50km it was hard but relatively speaking I think the generous time limit and relatively moderate elevation gain makes it more middle of the road in terms of difficulty.

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

Extremely well-organized. This race has been around for 20-odd years, and they got it right.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

A lot of elite runners and a lot of undertrained runners. Most folks middle of the road.

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 was limited to I think 300, but it was easy to sign up and register after it opened. I had no difficulty finding lodging 5 minutes from the parking lot within 2 weeks of the race. Bellingham Days Inn was only $58/night and walking distance to parking lots.

Aid Stations

5 or 6 – some with liquor and bbq!

Weather and typical race conditions

For early March it can be hit or miss, and this was definitely a hit. Two weeks before at the training run we had snow and cold though.

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

You probably don’t need a full pack.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

If they like to hike. The aid stations seemed festive and packed. Lots of festivities and food afterwards. Yes.

How’s the Swag?

Decent. I bought some shirts and received some bars at the bip pickup. Cool magnet upon finishing.

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

5/5 – great time.

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