Race: Needles 50k

Runner: Anson Fatland

Race Date: 7/24/2021

Location: Easton, WA

Results: 29th OA

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5681826927/overview

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

1) It is as advertised. It’s a super casual, support-yourself, have-fun-in-the-mountains type of race.
2) The course is BEAUTIFUL.
3) The people are wonderful. Rich and his team are great, and pretty much everyone who shows up to run is super nice.

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

I’m not sure there is anything that didn’t do it for me. It’s a great experience all around.

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

The aid stations are advertised as “gas stations in the woods” and they deliver. I’d say they are like a good AM/PM.

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

I went into this as a training effort for Cascade Crest. I wanted to pace myself well, focus on nutrition and hydration, and finish feeling good. I feel like I did those things well.

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

It is as advertised. It’s not under-sold! If you show up to rely (mostly) on yourself to spend a day in the woods getting through 33 miles with what’s on your back you’ll have a great time. Oh, there is a decent amount of water on the course, so if you bring a filter you’ll never be too far from something to drink.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

The climbs are no joke, but the descents are for real, too. What goes up…

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

I feel like we all know about how hard the course is, but the aid stations are around 12.8 and 24.9 miles, so there’s a good distance and about 5000′ of climbing between each one. So plan your nutrition accordingly.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes. Gorgeous.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yep. Good climbs and descents. The trails in some parts are loose and rutted, increasing the degree of difficulty.

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

Super well-oiled. The pre-race communications were great, the camping was fun, and Rich and his crew know their sh!t.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, this felt like a very strong field. It can be hard not to get caught up in the electricity of a fast start but it’s a long day so run your race, not someone else’s.

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 can’t remember how I heard about this, I think a friend mentioned it to me? I believe the field was capped around 70 people and all but three made it from the waitlist. Suggest camping the night before; it’s fun and makes the drive Saturday morning that much easier.

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

“Gas station in the woods”

Weather and typical race conditions

Sunny, warm. Good tree cover for a fair amount so while it can be hot there’s good shade.

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

First race using gaiters and they helped. And poles. Great race for poles.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Nope. It’s pretty remote with one, maybe two places where you can see the runners.

How’s the Swag?

Fabulous! I got a button and I love it.

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

Five Stars!