Want to know more about the Midstate Massive Ultra? This was Cody’s first 100 miler but he has lots of lessons learned and insight for the course – read on to learn more about the race and how to that 100 mile belt buckle!
Race: Midstate Massive 100
Runner: Cody Frost
Race Date: 10/09/2021
Location: New Ipswich, New Hampshire
Results: 9th place, 23 hours 41 min
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6092372744
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- Most of the climbing and technical trails are done in the 1st half of the race
- Part of the fun is navigation. You really need to rely on your GPS tracker to help guide you or else you can get pretty lost
- The aid station crew and staff were awesome
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
There is a decent amount that hits roads in the 2nd half of the race when your legs are trashed from the technical climbing during the earlier parts. It gives you the opportunity to run a bit faster but also just chews up the quads!
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
You start in waves in 30 minute intervals. I was in wave 3 starting at 9AM. At mile 30 I was the 1st 100 miler, but not in 1st place. I was able to stay the 1st 100 miler up until about mile 75 where a guy who started at 11:30 passed me. He was the only person in the 100 mile race who passed me the whole day and I was the 2nd 100 miler to cross the finish, but due to the wave situation I came in 9th.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I loved the 1st half a lot. I tend to do better on the more technical stuff and can pick off racers during these sections. I use that to my advantage since I am slower on the flats and roads which is where people catch back up. Going up and over Wachusett before the sun started to set was awesome!
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Expect to be lost and at least run an additional 1-2 miles. Over the last 10 miles I was thinking that I had a little over 2 hours to finish … little did I know that about 5-6 of those miles were on this really technical rocky section that you (well at least I) cannot run and ended up doing 17 min miles. It was a mental kick in the gut but after that it is pretty smooth sailing to the finish.
Aid station 4 to after Mt Wachusett is probably the most difficult climbing – once you are done with that you’ve finished the majority of the elevation.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I carried WAY too much in my pack – too much food, too much Tailwind. I would have cut what I carried in half and that would have made things a little easier for my shoulders and back through the course of the race.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Keep your eyes open and follow the yellow triangles! Just be prepared to get lost and try not to get too frustrated when it happens.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It’s really pretty – it is during the height of fall foliage season. You get some great colorful views of lakes, mountains, etc while it is still light out.
Difficulty – Is the Midstate Massive Ultra a tough course?
This was my 1st 100 so it was tough to me! But I will say that given the 2nd half is roads it makes it a slightly easier course than if it was an out and back on the 1st half. I have done hard (physically, not mentally) runs in this same area in the past.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Super well organized – the staff was awesome. It was just the 3rd year running this race but it ran smooth. They allow 1 drop bag that they move along the course to 3 spots during, then the finish – I was worried that I’d miss my bag at some point but never had an issue!
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Fairly strong competition – mostly local New England folks but they are a tough breed.
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.
Given that it is relatively new, it isn’t too bad to get into. There are hotels around and AirBnB’s that you can find as well.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Most of the aid stations were supplied with the normal stuff… water, soda, hydration mix (this year was Body Armor and last two years it was Tailwind). Each varied a bit after that from Clif bars, bananas, oranges and watermelon to perogies, quesadillas, veggie broth and chicken soup. Lots of good choices!
Weather and typical race conditions
Expect it to be 40-50 overnight and 60-70 during the day. Typically, it is perfect conditions! T-shirt and shorts for me the whole time with gloves on at night when it dipped into the 50s… I probably didn’t need gloves either but was too tired to take them off after getting them on my hands.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
They have some requirements which include – flashing red light, phone with extra battery charged (you have to use an app called RaceJoy for tracking/safety purposes but it also helps you when you get off course and allows spectators to follow you and send you cheers), a Buff or mask for covid precautions, headlamp (obviously for running at night), ability to carry 2L of water (you don’t have to hold this much but need to have the option) and an emergency blanket.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
There are a few spots for crew to meet up with you – I forget how many spots since I went crewless, but there was a decent amount. Don’t expect to see people all along this course though like you would a marathon.
How’s the Swag?
Great – long sleeve shirt, buff and belt buckle for 100 mile finishers.
The Overall Score for the Midstate Massive Ultra – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
4.5 out of 5 – I’d do it again for sure!
Cody Frost is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Cody, check out his coaching page.