Fuzzy Fandango 25k Race Report

Team RunRun coach Cody Cranor at the finish of the Fuzzy Fandango 25k in Ohio. Read all about the race and how to be your best on race day in this race report.

In this Fuzzy Fandango 25k race report, Team RunRun coach Cody Cranor shares insight on the course as well as helpful hints on how to get the most out of your day at this awesome fall race. Enjoy!

Race: Fuzzy Fandango 25K

Runner: Coach Cody Cranor

Race Date: 11/12/2022

Location: Perrysville, OH

Results: 3:38:44

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8108025271

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

  • Course – The course is based in Mohican State Park, which provided for fantastic woods and scenery throughout the race
  • Atmosphere – By far one of the best atmospheres I’ve been at. Everyone is there ready to meet new people and cheer each other on. No matter what, you can find someone to run with or chat with while enjoying the post-race drink (Some of the best beer options I’ve ever seen at a race)
  • Accessibility – Even though its a small race and limits number of people per distance, they offer distances from 5K all the way to 50K, so no matter your fitness you can enjoy the course and experience the fun.

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

For me the after race food was not my cup of tea. Main food item that is talked about is the chili which is a vegan chili. As someone who isn’t huge into veggies it just didn’t hit the spot for me, but I hear it is a crowd favorite. Also the Stairs. Having to climb a couple hundred stairs at mile 15 was just mean.

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

The course changes slightly every year, which I think is an awesome quirk. While parts will be the same you get to see new sections of the park and hills, which means no matter what you train for their could be a curveball in there.

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

During this race I really wanted to go for sub three hours, as I had the endurance from my Chicago marathon training block. Overall the first half I was right on pace, as we were running through some flatter sections and on some pavement. I really enjoyed the fast flatter sections and hills that were very runnable, with great downhills to make up time. In the second half I tripped on a rock near the stream and tweaked my back which slowed me down a bit. Even with slowing down though I was able to chat with some runners nearby and even ran into a hometown friend, Cheryl, who was running the 50K. So even though I didn’t make my time goal I loved slowing down and having fun with the other runners. It even started snowing in the last mile making for an awesome finish

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

Get used to running on single wide trails that have lots of roots and rocks. Sometimes these are on steep hills so watching your feet is very important. Also keep in mind that because they change it every year some portions you wont know what’s coming up. Embrace that knowing that it will likely include hills but it will be fun in the end.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Don’t get too comfortable. I though I had the time in the bag but then there was an new section that threw me off my game. By the time I got to the stairs and the final miles, I didn’t keep enough in the tank to push through with any speed.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The race utilized Mohican State Park, which is very hilly. They use the hills without fail. Also keep in mind they always throw a big clip near the end, so the climbing’s not done until you can see the finish line.

The finish line at the Fuzzy Fandango 25k. November in Ohio can bring a wide variety of weather - this year had snow flurries at the finish!!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

This is by far one of the most beautiful courses I’ve run on. since it is in the fall, you get some fall colors and leaves on the ground. The hills allow you to get great views of the surrounding areas and the beauty of nature. You also get to run by streams and waterfalls at times which shows even more beauty of the area. I would be shocked if anyone who ran this race didn’t say they loved the scenery.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It is tough for sure. At least in the view of someone who lives in the flat lands. They definitely don’t shy from the elevation which keeps you honest at all times.

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

This race is one of the better run races in the area as far as I am concerned. With smaller races sometimes the small details get forgotten about, but they do really well to make sure the details are what they thrive at. Aid stations are well spaced and well equipped, and are always staffed with amazing people. The camp allows for a great base area and gathering place to enjoy yourself after the race, and the race directors are there mingling and enjoying the day with the runners all while doing their numerous jobs.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I personally think that this race has some strong and speedy people at the front. I don’t know how they run that fast on the hills. I think if you’ elooking for some competition you will get it, both from the course and other runners.

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.

This race is overall easy to get into but does sell out many of the distances each year, so signing up early is always recommended. Finding the right registration page isn’t too difficult but, as it is put on by a camp sometimes you end up on a different page before getting to the registration page. One of the great things about this is that the camp is located right next to Mohican Lodge, which with it being during the colder months has plenty of rooms available to stay in before and after the race. with just about a 4 min walk to the start line. Makes race morning so much easier as there isn’t a lot of parking at the start line. Traveling to the area, you need to keep in mind some access to food and shopping as it is a rural area and you will need to drive at least 15-20 min to get to places that sell what you need.

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

The aid stations were pretty typical for a trail/ultra race, with the standard foods you expect to see. They always had plenty available so when you saw the aid station coming, you knew you were going to be able to get what you needed from them.

Weather and typical race conditions

The race occurs in November in Ohio. Anyone from the area knows what that means. While it will likely just be a chilly day in the 40s, I have experienced this race in both warmer weather, running in shorts, as well as cold where it snowed at the finish. Ohio weather at its finest.

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

Gear for this race is pretty simple. I would advise trail shoes as you want max grip when going up and down the hills. Poles aren’t necessary but I have seen others use them. Be prepared for shoes to get wet, and also to carry water with you – you don’t want to need a drink and be far away from the next stop.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

This is not a spectator friendly course. There are some places to see runners but since you’re in the woods most the time, it’s not easy to watch the runners

How’s the Swag?

Personally, I enjoy the swag at this race. They give out a long sleeve shirt or a winter hat (Both with a donation to the camp). They also gave out a pint glass for your post race beer/beers. The beer though is by far my favorite swag item. They have multiple options from a local craft brewery and they are all amazing brews.

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

Overall I would give this race a 9 out of 10. I have thoroughly enjoyed it every time I have run it and I plan on going back. Its a great organization with great race directors. I would recommend anyone run it even if just the 5K, and join the Fuzzy Fandango Family.

Cody Cranor is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.