Race: Fat Dog 70
Runner: Jayme H
Race Date: 08/10/2019
Location: Manning Park, BC
Results: 25 hours-ish
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
The Fat Dog re-route was I think my ideal course. A majority of it was sub-alpine and alpine with a couple brief dips into the low valley’s. This meant that there were amazing views during the daylight hours. It also meant that my profuse sweating had a purpose: actual evaporation.
So the three bests:
- Sub-Alpine and High Alpine views, wild flowers, lush meadows, heather, and healthy green pines. Variety of terrain from buttery trail to cliff bands at nearly eight thousand English Imperial elevation.
- The “Major Aid Stations” were mostly stocked with a raft of volunteers competing to be the best aid station ever. Polite and helpful with a ton of good cooks. There were also experienced runners working aid stations who spotted issues with those of us in the event and gave timely advice on eating and staying warm.
- The people: runners, volunteers, family. We were all family by the end. Story telling on the trail was key to passing the hours.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Navigating broken granite scree and boulder field rife with cliffs at hour 23 on a mountain called “Frosty”. The biggest negative was the biggest positive. That mountain was amazing. As much as it pissed me off, its views and the accomplishment of conquering the hardest part of the course at the end of the race was incredibly, terribly satisfying.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Canadians. Many of us commented (even the locals) that there was a “Stranger Things” vibe going on in Canada this weekend. And also: Manning Park’s various and numerous out-houses were weirdly short. Take every “American” wilderness toilet or pit toilet of forest service bathroom, chop off 1.5 feet to 2 feet and you have a Canadian toilet. It’s as if the country was originally populated by lawn gnomes. Plus there was a weird vibe in the air.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I kept moving. I learned to let the bad feelings pass, because they do always pass. And I was grateful for the volunteers and friends I met along the way. I supported others and accepted the morale and encouragements of others. I got myself out of an amazingly warm aid station tent at 12am despite friends quitting around me and despite the strong pull of warm space heaters, great food and company and a party like atmosphere (Blackwall Peak Aid Station). Why run in the cold dark when you could hang with drunk Canadian runners?
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Pro-tip: work on your food plan even after you think you got it dialed. Skip your last set of strides and figure out what foods you can stash in later aid station drops. Think of the foods you can get down when you’ve gotten the flu or were sick as shit. Make sure some of those are packed in addition to your normal running foods. Biggest add for me? Little rolls of MINT TUMS. These were given to me by a fellow runner. Ginger chews. New shoes, socks, Trail Toe’s goup at every aid station that had a drop. Change of clothes, backup rain gear. Backup running lights for your backup running lights. Redundant gear at every drop. You WILL forget something, so having several of everything was bomb. Check out Orange Mud 16×20 inches transparent plastic drop bags. You can see what you got without opening them. Kogalla RA running light. Buy a big 3amp power bank on Amazon. Run all night with a light brighter than your car’s headlights. Made the night so much more fun and bearable.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I needed to pack a week early so I had time to double check what I packed. I forgot my secondary light source (headlamp). Dial in “real food” options for when the sweet stuff starts to suck.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Both versions of the course (re-route and original Fat Dog routes) are harder than they appear on paper. For a flat-lander spending 80% of the race over 5k is no joke. Aid stations are further apart than many races time-wise. Add 20-30% to your normal water capacity. Unless you want to filter water you will run out (I did between every aid and I was carrying a 1.8L hydration pack plus two 20oz soft flasks. And this was an atypical “cool” year). Most of the course is very remote and help will not come quickly from off course. Don’t skimp on the required safety gear.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
If one of your “why’s” of running is a course full of good views, this event is for you.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
It’s a step up in elevation from Pacific Northwest runs. So again, it’s harder than it looks on paper. The course stays pretty high. It’s not Colorado but it’s much higher on average than Cascade Crest.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Fairly well oiled. Only one aid station was poorly stocked late in the race. (Frosty)
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Not sure. Don’t care.
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.
Manning Park lodge books up way ahead of time. Nearby camping is easy walking distance to Manning Park Lodge and finish line area. Fat Dog website has good suggestions for food and lodging.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Standard fare. As good or better than any of the more than dozen ultra’s I’ve done.
Weather and typical race conditions
Locals say typical weather is VERY hot. In a typical year head and a lot of exposure to sun and wind would add difficulty to course. There would typically always be several creeks and water sources avail to filter or treat.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
- Trail Toe’s products. No blisters in 70 miles. No chafing.
- Kogalla Ra as a waist light. Never run again without it.
- If you are an Altra runner I’ve been loving the Timp 1.5.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
How’s the Swag?
Highest quality tech shirt I’ve ever gotten included in a race fee. Great finishing medal.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
To read more about Jayme’s race, check out his personal blog here: https://www.crosscountrycat.com/2019/08/fat-dog-70.html
Some jaw-dropping photos for you: