imtuf race reportRace: IMTUF 100

Runner: Mark Cliggett

Race Date: 09/15/2018

Location: Burgdorf, Idaho

Results: DNF

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

  1. It’s TUF.
  2. It’s remote.
  3. Running for 20+ miles with my friend Ather as we both struggled to the point where we could drop.

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

  1. Being underprepared for camping during a 27 degree night, and showing up at the start line cold and exhausted from a night of no sleep.
  2. As I faded, I started hitting aid stations that weren’t stocked enough to handle back-of-the-pack runners. The race grew 50% from last year and I think the aid didn’t quite keep up.

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

There’s nothing really weird. For me, maybe it’s that although there’s a ton of wildlife there, I didn’t see experience any during my race.

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

The best part for me was when my wife showed up unexpectedly at the aid station at mile 48. The second best was spending many miles with my friend Ather, who is much faster than me but was injured.

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

  1. Aid is sparse at this race. Plan to use the full aid stations well, and figure out how to fill in the gaps between those aid stations.
  2. I wouldn’t stay at Burgdorf again – stay in a warm comfortable place in McCall even though it means driving an extra hour in the morning before the race.
  3. Consider running in the counter-clockwise years. Clockwise, the course gets more difficult as you go.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  1. Make my own aid station miracles via drop bags, e.g. pack cans of Ensure or some kind of liquid nutrition.
  2. When you start a race already injured, tired, cold, hungry, under-educated about the race, and with a bad attitude, it affects performance.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Running clockwise, the course gets harder and harder as you go. There are two full aid stations to get you to mile 43 in the course.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, although not pristine. You are in a wild place but it’s burned in recent times and although it’s alpine it’s not as beautiful as the truly wild places near Seattle.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes, it’s darn TUF.

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

Well run and the organizers obviously spend a huge amount of time, effort, and love ensuring it can be the best possible race. There may have been some small growing pains this year but I’m sure they notice those and fix them the next year. This race was probably perfect at 50 people. At 180 people, it was close to perfect.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I wouldn’t know – I spent a lot of time with the not-so-strong part of the field.

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.

The start is very remote, e.g. no running water. Easy to get into, but getting yourself to the start 100% ready and in good shape takes effort. If you are a great camper, you’ll have no problem. If you are an ultra runner because you’d rather run through the night than do that crappy camping stuff, you might have trouble at this race like I did.

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

Sparse, as mentioned above. The aid stations are all as good as the aid chart says they are, but if you depend on significant calories from aid stations you have to sit and take advantage of those when you get there.

Weather and typical race conditions

My bite valve froze at 8:20am, more than an hour after the sun came up. It was a sunny morning in mid-Sept. It rained and was cold in the afternoon. Expect cold.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really – pretty remote.

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

This is a great race. As I was running, I asked myself why I didn’t just run Plain again – it’s similar and a lot closer. So I have mixed views, but I don’t think anyone who picks this race is making a mistake.

For a more detailed race report and many more pictures of the course, check out Mark’s full race report here.