Big River State Beach, Mendocino, CA
|Avg Temps f.
|Gain/Loss in ft
Trail, fire road
Summary: Now in its 4th year of running and Mendocino County’s first ultra marathon, the Mendocino Ultra 50K is a scenic and yet challenging course, starting and ending at the Big River State Park just south of Mendocino Village, featuring River, Ocean, Redwoods, and Waterfall, as advertised by the race. The course is a loop course, this year being run in the counterclockwise direction, which is different from 2016 and 2017 and some Strava runs found below – keep that in mind when reading race reports (2018 was counterclockwise).
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- Weather in the past has been cool, cloudy and misty at the start, warming up a bit throughout the day
- Most of the climbing happens from miles 10-24, so be sure not to go out too hard on the easier 10 miles to start, and leave something for the last ~7 miles
- Water crossings along the way, some without bridges, so be prepared for wet feet around miles 14 and 23
- Long downhill from miles ~18-23 can wear on you, especially if your legs are tired from the 2 previous climbs
- In that long downhill, some short, steep dips and climbs in drainage ditches, so be prepared that it’s not continuous downhill and be ready for the short, quick, pop-ups
- Could see day hikers out in the final ~5 miles, so be prepared to share the trail
- In the final miles, you have a rope-assisted descent, which is super steep, followed by a steep incline up. Volunteers should be there to help, but be ready for this near the end!
- Long climb from 14-18 gains the most from 14-16, but then has lots of false summits until mile ~18
- If you’re running clockwise, the rope course descent and ascent can clog up the traffic and cause a backup of runners.
- No crew allowed, but drop bags are allowed at mile 16.5 if you need anything along the way
- Lots of race reports talk about going into the race thinking it would be fairly fast, and then getting humbled by the middle climbs and the final miles. Know that the climbs are challenging, there are plenty of rollers along the way, and start out conservative enough on the first 10 “easy” miles
Total gain/loss: 4980/4980
Ft/mile gain: 161
Total climbs: 3 major climbs of 600-800 feet, from miles ~10-12, ~14-16 (with rolling climb up to 18), and ~23-24
Total aid stations: 5
Furthest distance apart: 6.1 miles
Locations: Miles 4.8, 10.4, 16.5, 22.4, and 27
What’s available: Oranges, bananas, pb&j sandwiches, gels, potato chips, sport drink, water, Newman O’s, coca-cola. (All runners will receive a re-usable ultraspire collapsible cup in their race bag–please pack with you on the run!)
Access Locations: None
Crew instructions/directions: See start/finish directions