Jackpot Ultra Running Festival Race Report – Barbara R

Race: Jackpot Ultra Running Festival

Runner: Barbara R

Race Date: 02/15/2020

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Results: https://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=66966

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/3103159854/overview

jackpot ultra race report
Photo: Jose Santos

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

1. Entertainment – Beyond Limits does a great job at bringing entertainment to what can be a very boring race.
2. 2.5 mile loops in horseshoe style w/ varying terrain (gravel, pavement, grass, single track trails).
3. Being able to set up my own aid station halfway through the loop and having my own crew!

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

The one thing that didn’t go well was the end of the race. They were supposed to blow a horn/siren to signify the end of the 6 hour race but no one heard it (apparently people near the horn heard it but said it wasn’t loud at all). So I wasn’t sure if the race was officially over or if I should keep running – it made me pretty anxious and unsure.

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

They do weird things every year to keep it entertaining for the runners. This year they brought out Vegas showgirls and had an ice cream bike for runners to get ice cream from.

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

My nutrition was on point so I didn’t have to worry about tummy problems. I prepped my crew (aka my partner Vinnie) with in-depth details of what I wanted and he rocked it. I was able to move efficiently through the aid station each time and he could help me at the other main aid station. It was pretty awesome. I also like the loop style because mentally I don’t have to worry about where I’m going or what the terrain/climbing might be. I knew exactly where I was at all times and where I needed to be if I wanted to hit my goal.

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

Set up an aid station for yourself in the grassy field. And way overstock it. You never know what you might need/want! It’s just nice to know that it’s there. Also, be prepared for crazy weather. One year it rained so much they had to reroute the course and this year it got so toasty I had to put on my arm sleeves and shove ice everywhere!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Nope, I felt like I nailed that race!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Get ready to get really loopy. Like super duper loopy.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s pretty for a city park – you get to run around a small man-made lake and see mountain views. It’s nothing spectacular.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No! Pretty flat and fast. For you flatlanders, there is a “hill” in the course.

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

Yes! Super well organized!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, for the 100 mile USATF. Not much other distances though.

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! Just sign up and show up! There’s plenty of places to stay in Vegas so that’s not an issue.

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

There is one main aid station and they have all the things you could wish for (even ice cream, popsicles, and snow cones). I know they switch out the food for the night portions if you’re running in the night. And they take requests as long as you give them enough notice, they’ll make whatever you want! You can also set up your own personal aid station which I relied on way more. It’s nice to have your own area and not have to try to figure out what you want or try to get around people.

Weather and typical race conditions

Totally up in the air. It could be sunny and hot, windy and cold, or torrential downpours.

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

Nope! Just check the weather and plan accordingly. Especially if it’s going to be hot – have ice and plenty of water/electrolytes and a hat because there’s no shade on the course.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Super! You can see the runner the whole time and actually cheer/talk to them twice on each loop!

How’s the Swag?

The shirts are nice and super creative. The medals and awards are super awesome!

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

5 out of 5! If you like to get loopy and run fast or see how many miles you can get in a certain time, this is the perfect race!

jackpot ultra race report
Photo: Jose Santos