Race: FOURmidable 35K

Runner: Jami B

Race Date: 02/16/2020

Location: Auburn, CA

Results: 4:19, 4th age group

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

1) I know these trails so well, it really helps to know where I can push and where I should back off a bit.
2) Great volunteers at aid stations! Granted, I know most of these people too, or at least knew someone at every aid station, but even if I hadn’t they were all ready to help as soon as you got in! Also – best finish line hamburgers yet!! And they had FRIES with ALL THE SALT! They were delicious.
3) Challenging – this course lives up to its name. It’s no joke.

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

There is one section through Olmstead that I could do without…just a lot of exposed running on boring single track. But in the grand scheme of the race, it’s really not that long of a section.

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

Hm…I honestly didn’t find anything weird about it!

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

I think the highlights were seeing my friends and familiar, smiling, excited faces at aid stations and the finish line burgers and fries. I felt like I ran this race, leaving it all out there. No regrets. When the hills were too long or steep to run, I power hiked efficiently. I ran down hills and “flats.” I also enjoyed running with one of my training partners for most of the run.

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

Hm…Well, if this is your first time ever running these trails, just know that K2 is a BEAST. Unless you are good with 1,000 feet of elevation in under a mile, plan to hike it. Also, mentally prepare for the finish. You head back to Overlook park, the start/finish, but then take a little side trail DOWN, and then down a little more. As you go down, you know you have to regain all that elevation in order to finish. If you’re not aware of that ahead of time it can be a little bit of a damper as you finish.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Ugh. Fueling. I need to work on it. Also, my water needs to be more accessible so it’s easier and faster to refill.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Like I mentioned above, know that you lose elevation when you least want to at the end. Also, every year there is some level of confusion on where the 35K and half marathon courses split. Look at the course map well ahead of time and know that if you’re running the 35K, GO RIGHT at the split.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Some of the course has beautiful views of the river. I love the mossy creek areas coming down roller coaster towards no hands. If you’re familiar with the Western States race, then No Hands bridge itself is kind of special and neat. The only part of this course that I don’t find much beauty in is that Olmstead loop.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes, I’d say this course is one of the more difficult 35K courses I’ve ran. Three major climbs, the last one at the very end of the race when your legs are done and you just want to finish.

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

Super well organized. I’ve volunteered for the race director before – he’s a pro.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Probably? I feel like the competition really ran the day before in the 50K.

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 – pretty straight forward. I’m not even sure it sells out to be honest. The 50K might.

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

Pretty standard fare. I will say that the 35K aid stations didn’t have boiled potatoes and that was something I missed. They used GU products for electrolytes and gels.

Weather and typical race conditions

This race has seen it all over the years, from heat to snow. I got lucky and got a beautiful sunny, warm but not too warm, day. Last year, it rained for the 50K on Saturday and then snowed for the 35K on Sunday. The trails were a mess. So, it’s winter in northern CA – your guess is as good as mine as to what the weather might be!

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

Nope! Trail shoes, hydration, and you’re good to go! It is cupless, so if you want any soda or whatever at the aid stations, bring a cup.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Spectators can see you off at Overlook, 4 miles later at No Hands, they can unofficially cheer you on at the Cool fire station, and then see you again at No Hands, 4ish miles from the finish. Parking at No Hands can be a pain though.

How’s the Swag?

LOVE IT! This year they gave 35Kers a cool back pack! I personally love their logo.

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

5/5