McCall Trail Running Classic 40m Race Report – Rich L

mccall trail running classic race reportRace: McCall Trail Running Classic 40M

Runner: Rich L

Race Date: 07/14/2018

Location: McCall, Idaho

Results: 13:42:05

Strava Activity Link:

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

  1. This was a true mountain race, which is exactly what I was hoping for!
  2. The RDs and all of the crew were amazing – it really had a family feel to it and that the racers were a part of the extended family.
  3. The terrain and views throughout the course – wow!

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

There is nothing I didn’t like about this race.

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

The goats! The Buckhorn aid station is so remote that they use goats to bring in the supplies. Everyone gets their picture taken with a goat. They are super docile and friendly.

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

There was so much to love about this race. One of the things that really stood out for me was the descent off of Jug Handle Mountain. It was a steep granite boulder/talus field – the rock was grippy and the views were epic. I love boulder hopping!

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

  1. Train for heat and elevation if you can.
  2. Train on rocky terrain.
  3. There is nothing too steep but quite a bit of long grinds.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  1. The heat and elevation took a harder toll on me than I anticipated.
  2. Had I known I would have spent more time training on very rocky trails.
  3. Don’t quit! I learned in the Army that you can get through just about anything if you just hang in there. However, my quads blew just before the Buckhorn aid station and I was ready to throw in the towel. With encouragement from some awesome volunteers and those crazy goats I realized that I could literally walk the rest of the way and still make the cutoff so that’s what I did!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

  1. The elevation plus heat is challenging.
  2. There is a fair amount of off trail travel and there is not a whole lot of the trail that is very smooth or even.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very beautiful!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Very tough!

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

Organization was great!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s a small race – there were only 40 entrants. It didn’t feel competitive to me but maybe I’m just not tuned into that.

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.

For the time being there is not much competition for getting a spot. McCall is a mountain resort town so there are a lot of great places to stay. They had a big field reserved for camping just off the Jug Mountain Ranch where the race is held. I made the ~7.5 hour drive over then camped. You could also take a quick flight to Boise then have a 1.5 hour drive to McCall.

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

More or less standard racing fare. One station had bacon, which is awesome (unless you are vegetarian!). They also had salt tabs, which I belatedly took advantage of.

Weather and typical race conditions

I think it’s typically pretty dry and hot over there although I heard they had a brief thunderstorm last year. It’s very similar to Teanaway.

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

All of the finishers got some kind of medallion. The winners were long gone by the time I crossed the finish line so I have no idea what they got. 🙂

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It’s not super spectator friendly because most of the course is pretty remote.

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

Five stars for sure! Despite having some problems on the course I had a great time. I learned some great lessons out there that are only going to make me better going forward.
I am definitely going back next year and it would be great having more Seattle folks make the trek!

mccall classic trail run race report