Needles 50k Race Report – Stephanie

Race: Needles 50k

Runner: Stephanie

Date: 7/22/17

Location: Easton, WA

Results7:50:38, 2nd female and 8th overall

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

1. The whole atmosphere of the race. Small, friendly, relaxed.

2. The final 2/3rds of the course – it seemed so easy relative to the first climb!

3. The final downhill stretch was really fun & runnable.

Pre-race chat about hole punching the map along the way

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

Nothing. It was a great event.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

How hard the downhills are! I was expecting the hard ups, but not how steep and technical the downhills would be.

All the colored rocks we had to find.

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
I felt really good about the last 8 or so miles. Mostly downhill and I had plenty of energy and legs left.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
  • Camping was great before the race – would highly recommend it (was my first time camping before a race).
  • The first climb is a monster, and be prepared for some steep downhills!
  • Make sure to fill up water at the first aid station – it’s a long, long ways until the next one.
  • I had the track loaded on my phone which helped a lot with reassuring myself I was on the right trail, since it was not heavily marked. I took one wrong turn, and was quickly able to figure out where I should be instead.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
As I seem to keep learning again and again… things shift around a lot later in ultras.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

  • 10,000 feet of elevation gain, which also means 10,000 of elevation loss.
  • The second half of the course has many creek crossings, which might be difficult if you don’t like wet feet.
  • The aid stations really are quite minimal (as advertised), and I wouldn’t plan on looking forward to anything specific at them – everything is just a bonus.
  • They say to predict your time as close to a moderate 50 mile race. It’s probably a bit faster than that, but something to consider when choosing regular vs early start time.

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

Very pretty, lots of mountain and lake views
Difficulty – is it a tough course
Yes! Hardest 50k I’ve done.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Felt really well organized, especially for only the second year.
Competition – is there a strong field?
It seemed like everyone there knew what they were doing, so it felt like a really experienced crowd. It was barely above fatass style though, so I’m not sure there were a lot of people out there looking to be super competitive. I’m guessing things will probably evolve as word gets out about the event!
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 don’t know how people found out about this actually (including myself). You need to hunt down info if you want to register, especially since it’s such a small field and fills up.
Aid Stations
Two – and they were 10+ miles apart. Minimal amounts of typical aid station food.
Weather and typical race conditions
It was a beautiful day – I don’t know actual temperatures, but probably started in the high 50s, ended in the low 80s? It got a little hot up top, but the hottest part was definitely the ~1/2 mile back to the finish along the airstrip.
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
I carried 1.75L of water at the start and 1.5 from aid station 1-2. I should have filled all the way up at aid station 1. I also filled up 1.5L at aid station 2 for the 8 downhill miles, which I originally thought was overkill, but it wasn’t. If you like poles for hiking, this would be a place to have them.
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
No, it’s pretty remote.
None, just empty promises of giant checks 🙂
Ice cream fairy delivery!
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
5 – lived up the its self-proclaimed “burliness”

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