Race: Mohican 50k
Runner: Teddy B
Location: Mohican State Park, OH
Results – 4:16:16, 2nd place
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most:
1. Race Logistics: This race has its shit together more so than any other I have been to. The course is always incredibly well marked with tactful and well-stocked aid stations. Post-race there is always a microbrewery sponsor, open showers at the finish line and free, tip-worthy massages by a group of massage school students. The RD here sets high standards!
2. Unique features: the course usually includes a river crossing and a hand-over- foot root climb up a waterfall. Its some of my favorite running to do in Ohio and I always relish running this race each spring.
3. Competition: this race always brings in some great Midwest trail runners and a great variety of folks with fun stories. This year I ran most of the race alone, chasing after Chad Trumbo and getting chased from behind from 3-4 other runners. I always run a good, hard race here because these other guys motivate me to do so!
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Umm…I love this race! They didn’t have rice and beans at the finish line this year as they have done in years past, just veggie dogs and baked beans. That’s about as much as I can criticize.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
The root climb is particularly weird just because it is a vertical climb of about 30 ft in the middle of a race. The RD always puts out ridiculous signs as well especially going up the christened “Big Ass Hill” which all include taunting remarks and sometimes pictures of his face with word bubbles.
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
I ran hard and thought my effort was appropriate. I paced myself and I was hindered more so by calf cramps than anything else, probably due to the 44 mile pacing job I put in 6 days earlier.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
1. This race fills up within a day of registration opening.
2. Even if it rains, the hard-packed trails in Mohican usually hold up well except for a couple isolated soggy sections.
3. Bring shower supplies and do the massage volunteers a favor before lining up to get your rubdown.
4. The race is located in a campground with rentable cabins at the start/finish. The cheapest ones can be rented for one night only if you don’t make a reservation and book it the day of. I do this every year and usually split it with friends since they have 4 beds in each cabin.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Prepare for the hills. Even though its in Ohio, the elevation gain and descent on this course is no joke. My calves took the brunt of the beating and I should have done some altering of my gait to use more power muscles – gluteus muscles go all day! Since it is usually my first race of the season, I always am doing some de-rusting here as well. Might be good to do a fast race-sim beforehand next year.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
There are really two sections to this race, VERY hilly and NOT hilly. It just so happens that the hilly sections are about 2/3s of the course, but I find the flat sections to be the most frustrating. The flat part runs along the river and is very winding. Its tough to build a rhythm here and its also the only area that really takes a beating if it rains within a couple days of the race. I would take the hills over the flat river section any day of the week.
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
It is central Ohio pretty! I think it covers some of the prettiest forests in Ohio and there are some great hills that you go over with these trails. Also, the timing of the race puts it just as flowers are starting to bloom and before the trees are fully leaved. I love it. It is also one of the few natural areas around here NOT covered with honey suckle, which makes the forest floor beautiful and the views easier.
Difficulty – is it a tough course
I think it is a tough course. It usually has about 5,000 ft of gain over 50k which is pretty good in Ohio and the unique features like the river crossing, root climb, dam hill step climb make it tough but interesting.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Well-oiled, like college campus KY-jelly wresting oiled. Yeah, just covered in oil.
Competition – is there a strong field?
The top 5 are usually strong, things deteriorate from there, but I always get a good carrot as well as a push from behind to go faster.
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.
See above, the main points are registration sells out day it opens, post-race festivities are top-notch, and cabins are available in addition to camp sites.
Well-place and well stocked. Furthest distance I think is about 4 miles and all have plenty of scrumptious runner favorites.
Weather and typical race conditions –
Typically we get nice weather which has been surprising given the amount of rain that usually comes down in Ohio in April. However, from what I remember of the last 5 years, only once has it been wet and rainy on race day.
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
I wear a waist belt with one bottle and usually am lucky enough to have a friend tossing me gels and full bottles. So, I guess I would recommend a one-man/woman crew if you’re looking to go fast.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
The best spots to view are at the covered bridge which we go through twice, above the damn and at the start/finish which also is mile 18. So overall, I think it is pretty spectator friendly and it is pretty easy to get around to the different locations with the park maps.
All finishers get belt buckles. Top 3 get engraved medals. 5-year buckles presented to those who are run the race 5x.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
5 stars, I would recommend it, but because it fills up so damn fast I don’t tell a soul about it until I get my ticket in.