Race: Cottontail 6h

Runner: Anson F

Race Date: 04/13/2019

Location: Carkeek Park / Seattle WA

Results: 2OA, 30.88 miles

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2287573931

cottontail 6 hour race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

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

  1. The people! It’s a somewhat small race so you get a great chance to see / meet almost everyone, and of course they are all SUPER NICE! There are heaps and piles of encouragement for you to keep going! ONE MORE LOOP!
  2. The timed format, rather than distance. It’s a great chance to practice pacing and other aspects of your “race day” plan, including aid station efficiency, etc.
  3. The location! It is in an urban park, but there are beautiful views of the water, the green trees and foliage, and the birds are everywhere. Just a great place to be.

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

I had a plan to run an average pace and a target of 17 laps. Every three laps (~6 miles) I also planned to stop and refill my hydration, top off nutrition, graze a bit on the ultra fare, and head back out. Given that every 1.96 miles the AS reappeared it was pretty easy to stick to this cadence and really focus on my nutrition. Given all this I completed 16 laps for 30.88 miles, and 6,880 of climbing. Pretty much exactly where I should have been based on my pacing calculations. Math works!

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

Pacing! Figure out what you want to do then calculate the pace you need to run to achieve that goal. It was such a great experience for me to do this, which included time at AS and bathroom breaks. Because you can stop your watch on training runs but it keeps ticking in a race.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

6h is a long time. Run your race, not anyone else’s race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course is deceptive in how hilly it is. In the Spring the course goes CW so you start right out with a decent climb. Don’t be afraid to walk it. I walked that hill every lap, that and two other spots on the other side. That plan really helped me stay consistent in my effort.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s gorgeous. While in the city of Seattle it is so dense with foliage and so green, and the views of Puget Sound and (on a clear day) the Olympics are terrific.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

In terms of technical terrain, no. But in terms of elevation over six hours, yes! Given it’s a timed event you can make it as hard or easy as you want. Run for one hour, run for six hours, run for 12 hours!

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

Definitely well organized. Easy check-in, good snacks, delightful people. Well done in every way.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Hard to tell as people just go at their own pace. While the CR was set this year with 35.x miles in 6h, it’s not like there’s a mad dash at the start or a sprint for the finish. Overall I’d say no, because the race is what YOU make it.

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.

Nope. Ultrasignup is your friend. There is the Cottontail version the Spring that goes CW and a Fall version running CCW.

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

Every 1.96 miles with your standard ultra fare. And these are cupless so bring yer own cups!

Weather and typical race conditions

Given it is Seattle in April (or late October) it is likely to be grey and damp, if not wet.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Very spectator friendly as you run the same loop each time. You pass by the parking lot each loop and the very hikeable trails are open to everyone during the race.

How’s the Swag?

For my 2nd place finish I got a pack of Zinnia seeds, so it is awesome! Seriously, it is a fundraiser so I am glad they focus on using the money for a good cause. I really don’t need another t-shirt.

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

Five stars! Low key, friendly people, great venue, good cause. Run it, people!

cottontail 6 hour race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama