Runner: Mark Cliggett
Race Date: 10/13/2018
Location: Near Foresthill, CA
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
Steep hills, off-trail, no course markings, no aid stations, finding books in the woods, most people DNF – what is not to love?
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
At one point, you get pointed in the right direction by a chainsaw blade. Oh, and I saw a real-life gold miner in action in the river.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I came back in one piece. I was more or less fit for this race, I just didn’t nail the navigation in my first race where it really mattered.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Don’t sign up for this unless you are prepared for a very tough day in the woods, with lots of genuine hazards ranging from the temporarily unpleasant (poison oak) to the not good (ticks and various tick-borne illnesses) to the really bad (hunters/hunting season and steep cliffs).
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
It’s very easy to make navigation errors and have your incorrect route falsely “confirmed”.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Be prepared to go into the race knowing that you don’t know enough about the course. That’s by design.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It is a very wild place. Supposedly some parts of the canyon are only accessible by raft or helicopter. Except for the one miner, the only people I saw all day were people in the race.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Most people don’t finish, and people who finish the 25 mile race – less than a 50k or marathon – typically take 12-18 hours to finish.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
For what it is, it’s extremely well run. Sean Ranney does a great job delivering an experience that lives up to expectations.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Everyone who signs up is seriously badass. And/or stupid. The real competition though is against the course.
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.
Every person who has ever signed up or been on the waiting list has gotten in.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
The main thing to know about aid stations is that there are no aid stations. Everything you need either goes into your pack at the start of the day or into your drop bag for mid-race.
Weather and typical race conditions
The day was a bit warm for my race. Another year they had 4 inches of rain during the race. There was a wildfire burning near the course a month ago. I don’t think there is “typical”.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Nothing about this course is friendly.
How’s the Swag?
We got bumper stickers, which is pretty good for a FatAss.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
For the right person, this is a 5 star race. For most people, it would be miserable.
For more pictures and details, check out Mark’s full race report here:
Mark Cliggett is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Mark, check out his coaching page.