Race: Lord Hill 20 Mile

Runner: Jeff K

Date: 2/19/17

Location: Snohomish, WA

Results – 2:55:05 (2nd place overall)

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

It fit in nicely with my training plan, and had the elements I was training and preparing for – elevation, difficult trail conditions, and not so great weather.

Not that far from Seattle, I saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a while so that was nice.

Logistics are easy –  you can sign up day-of, parking situation is decent, you don’t have to get there super early

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

Too many races (5) on one course – This race hosts a 5K, 10mi, 13.1, 20mi, and 50K.  Runners are sharing the same trails. It is kind of overloaded.  

Course is loops on non-scenic terrain. Trail conditions are muddy and pools of water, and it degrades quickly with all the runners.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

Despite the conditions, there are quite a lot of runners, and this race has been going on for 13 years. I guess it’s the only thing going on in Feb.

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

This was my tune-up race for Chuckanut. I was able to run fast at the very end which meant that I didn’t blow up early. It gave me confidence for the upcoming 50K.

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

Wear trail shoes with good traction. Don’t try to run up the Lord Hill,  you will burn way to much energy and not really gain anything (unless you are an ultra-elite )

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

The more practice you can get on downhills will really help you in a trail race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Know about circular loop sections off the main loop. You can be going the opposite way as other runners. Organizers do a good job with the markers but I did come across a couple runners doubling back wondering if they were on the right track.

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

Not really. Some sections of the single track through woods are nice, but all you end up remembering is that gigantic muddy hill that you have to climb twice for the 20mi or 3x for the 50K.

Difficulty – is it a tough course

I would say it meets the “difficult” category. It is similar elevation as the Cougar 20mi – maybe a 200-300 feet more. With the exception of the Lord Hill itself and the smaller one right after it, the course is runnable. There is a good chance you can slip and fall on these trails.

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

Evergreen runs are generally good local events and this one was like the rest I have done. There is a runner listed in the official results for the 1st place position, yet there was no other 20mi runner in front of me or Matt C. (the 1st place runner). I’ve seen this before where someone bails early in one loop, or uses another person’s bib. I had emailed the organizers and ask if they could verify, but didn’t get any response.

Competition – is there a strong field?

The 13.1 had 4 runners that could do a sub 1:50 which is fast on this course. In the 20mi and 50K there were only a few fast runners and I think they were training for Chuckanut. The first place 20 mi runner got a 2:50.   

I think a lot of runners are using Lord Hill as their first race to get back into spring running and racing.

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.

Nothing special.

Aid Stations

There is one aid station about 4.5 miles into the loop, and also at loop start. I carried gels and stopped once at the start line 10 mile mark to re-fill my water bottle.

Weather and typical race conditions –

Weather was cold but not freezing, and wet. Fortunately, the rain stopped around 8AM. The sun was out mid morning and that was nice. I did this race in 2014 and it was colder and raining so it could have been worse.

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

I wore shorts, a short sleeve shirt, arm sleeves, gloves, and a ball cap.  It warmed up enough to take the gloves off halfway through.

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

They could be in the start area to see you pass through for a loop and the finish. They’d be hanging out in a dirt parking lot so not much else to do except wait for you to come through.

Awards –

There are no awards or medals for finishing.  They do a raffle for bib numbers and there are some decent prizes like a pair of Altra shoes.  I didn’t win anything.

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

I’d give it a 3 out of 5. I would run it again as part of a training plan, or if I wanted to support a friend who was running it. I say it’s a good “coming out of winter hibernation” race.

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