Race: Ice Age Trail 50 Miler
Runner: Roey P
Location: Kettle Moraine Park, Wisconsin
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1568017462
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- The atmosphere-The more I get into trail running, the more I love it. The other runners are a huge reason why. They are friendly, talkative and supportive. Its almost like “Hey, we are all in this together”.
- The Course-Challenging, with non stop hills. But boy is this a pretty run. Varied terrain, keeps this really interesting.
- Aid Stations-16, not including the start and finish. Very well supported, fully stocked, awesome volunteers.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
If I were pressed to come up with something:This race is in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. The best way I could tell you where it is, is between Madison, and Racine. Don’t expect a wide range of eating/sleeping arrangements.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
One loop, and 2 out and backs means you get to see the leaders a few times. Like beautiful gazelles passing you as you plod along. Not so much weird, as inspirational.
Also, the hills NEVER END. Honestly, they don’t. My watch said 5000+ feet of climbing, but none of those was more than 200 feet at a time.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I feel like I paced this out incredibly well. I was on point with my fueling and hydration, and was able to stick to my plan very well. I handled the hills well, and finished 47 minutes faster than I wanted to.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Seriously, do your hill work. Even though it sounds flat for a 50 miler, they don’t end. I was about half a mile from the finish, and mistakenly thought to myself “phew, no more hills”. But guess what…2 more hills.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Squirrel Nut Butter and Vaseline don’t stay forever. Reapply.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Hills, also hills. Did I mention Hills. Some of the out and backs got a little “pudding like” after 400 runners were on them twice. Try to be the leader. Then you get fresh trails.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Beautiful midwest forest.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Being my first 50, I don’t have a whole lot of perspective, but I would say deceptively challenging.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Everything was smooth. Race communication was great. Bib pickup was smooth. Race day events well handled. This race has been going on for 30 plus years, and they have it all figured out.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Maybe not as much as years past. This used to be a WS Qualifier, but not anymore. Still some strong runners out there.
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.
Lots of camping options, only 1 or 2 hotels in the area. I was late to the sign up, but didn’t have any problems getting in.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
So many. 16, not including the Start/Finish. They had limited Gu’s, but everything else was fully loaded.
Weather and typical race conditions
40-50 and Humid/Damp. It poured the night before, but was beautiful that day.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Running belt should be fine. Lots of places for a crew, and lots of aid stations. Don’t weigh yourself down with a vest or backpack.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Lots of places for family and friends to cheer you on, and keep you going. If you have family there, Emma Carlin aid station looked like a big party. 40 miles out, and they were rocking and rolling when I came in.
How’s the Swag?
I finally ran a race that gave out a buckle, so great!
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
5 out of 5. Great race for a first time 50 miler.