Summary: Starting and finishing in the same location and consisting of a loop section as well as two out and backs, the Ice Age 50 is one of the oldest ultras in the country. Though it often has fast times and fast course records, it’s still a tough course, consisting of relentless hills, though none are extremely steep or long. The course is mostly single track dirt, rocky and tree rooted trail that runs through pinewoods, hardwood forests, and rolling prairie lands.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- It’s a fairly hard cutoff at 12 hours, so be aware of the time limit
- First 9 mile loop allows for some more “cruising” miles, with fairly wide doubletrack, but still has some inclines throughout
- Be ready for the weather to change throughout the day, so either have a layer to peel/put on while you run and/or in your drop bag
- With two out and back sections, and lots of faster runners in the race, there is a lot of 2 way traffic for much of the race, so be ready to share the trail with others going faster/slower the other way
- The 3rd section of the course, the 18 mile out and back, is the hilliest of all the sections, and you feel it that much more on tired legs, especially on the way back
- Refrain from pushing too hard on the early hills, even though they’re not particularly long or steep, because they will wear you down before you hit the bigger hills later in the race
- The relentless rollers make this “fast” 50 miler deceivingly hard; seriously, everyone talks about how this course sneaks up on you and can beat you up!
Total gain/loss: 7454/7488
Ft/mile gain: 149
Total climbs: Relentless, too many to count, none super long or steep, but never-ending
Total aid stations: 16
Furthest distance apart: 5.1 miles
Locations: Miles 3.9. 9, 10.5, 13.1, 17.3, 19.1, 21.7, 24.2, 26, 30.2, 32.9, 37.1, 40.2, 43.3, 47.6, 48.5
What’s available: Water, HEED and soda (Coke, Mountain Dew and Ginger Ale), PBJ sandwiches, oranges, bananas, pickles, cookies, chips, pretzels and candies, and a limited number of Hammer Gels.
Access Locations: 9, 10.5, 13.1, 17.3, 19.1, 21.7, 24.2, 26, 30.2, 40.2, 48.5
https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2016/05/25/ice-age-trail-50-race-report/ (good pics here too!)