Marys Peak 50 Mile Race Report – Ashley Nordell

marys peak 50 mile
Photo: Audra Terry Photography

Race: Mary’s Peak 50

Runner: Ashley Nordell

Race Date: 06/16/2018

Location: Blodgett, OR

Results: 8:35:48, 1st Female and 3rd Overall

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

  1. The course – beautiful views, long climbs, very scenic trail
  2. The course marking – they worked really hard on this, only confusing part was some sections on the top of Mary’s with different races
  3. The location – almost local for me

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

The 50k and 50 mile get a bit jumbled on some sections of the Mary’s Peak climb. With day-hikers also sharing the trail, it got a bit congested.

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

There is a castle near the finish – someone literally built a castle to live in.

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

I ran my own race and was able to move up in the later parts. Fueled mostly with Tailwind and didn’t have stomach issues. I loved the dynamic of the course – the long climbs and descents are hard but seem to fit my strengths.

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

It can get hot! The final 16 miles are challenging even though you have already done most the climbing. The race gains 5,000 ft in the first 17 miles. Save some legs for the 2,000 ft climb at the end. I’m also pretty sure the course is long – I heard 51-54 miles on different people’s watches.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Just knowing the course, the climbs, the distance between aid – all this is great info

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

First 7.5ish gravel road with climbs and descents, two miles of rolling single track, then about 25 miles of long climbing and descending with two summits of Mary’s Peak. Last 16 miles rolling runnable with 2,000 ft climb over about 4 miles. Mixture of single track and logging roads.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes!!! If clear, amazing views from Mary’s, which is the highest peak in the coast range.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Very – one of the harder 50 milers I have done- runnable but relentless

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

It’s a fairly new race but it’s well organized. A lot of the aid station volunteers are not ultra runners. Three races happen the same day, so a lot going on.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not really- it’s a smaller local race. But I think the RD is wanting to grow it and it has awesome potential.

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.

I signed up three days before the race. It’s easy, low key to get in at the moment.

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

I relied more on my own food. They had Tailwind, which I use, but a bit sparse in the food department. I used a drop bag that we got three times.

Weather and typical race conditions

Can be anything – we had wet fog on the top of the Peak and mid 70’s and sun by the end.

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

If it’s hot, two bottles. Some long stretches between aid. Use the drop bag option – you hit that spot three times.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really – most places are not accessible. The finish is the best place to see family/friends. It finishes at a small school that has a playground, so great for kids. You can camp there the night before, too!

How’s the Swag?

Tech shirt, finisher mug.

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

I would give this race 4.5 stars. If it grows, I would love to see the 50k one day and 50 miler another to help reduce impact and chaos on the top of the Peak. It’s a popular place for hiking, so it could get really busy.