Race: Orcas Island 50k

Runner: Pritam D

Date: 2/3/2018

Location: Orcas Island, WA

Results: 8:10:25

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1390339932

orcas island 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

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

  1. Orcas Island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and the views from Mt. Constitution are stunning!
  2. Tough race! 8400 feet of vert over 31 miles!
  3. Great race, friendly volunteers and locals. The race was very well organized, great food, good instructions, well-marked course.

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

Nothing really. It was wet and muddy so that may turn off a lot of people but i quite enjoyed it :). The island is remote and does not always have cell signal, if that matters.

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

The thrift-store t-shirts instead of a tech shirt (which you had to pay extra for).

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

Did well up to mile 25 when you climb up to Mt.Constitution. Set myself up for a fast downhill finish. Aid stations are great and well equipped with gels, PB&Js and other stuff.

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

Start steady but don’t go all out. Because the course ends in a 6 mile downhill, you can really pick up the pace later if you plan well.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Carry ibuprofen! My right IT band started hurting preventing me from the fast finish I was hoping for.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Three sets of steep climbs with some steep downhills. The course is also rocky so plan your shoes accordingly.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Oh yeah! See comment about the views above.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes! 8400 feet of climbing with two steep climbs (~800 feet per mile at the steepest). It’s not a fast course but it still allows you to go fast on some sections.

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

Yes, very well run. Good food.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yup – lots of local and West Coast ultra runners.

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.

Hotels can be hard to find given the remoteness of the island, so plan your travel in advance. There is a bunkhouse at the state park where the race is held but that gets booked up too. The island is remote and connected to the mainland only by ferry ( ~45 minute ride) so getting there and back also requires planning.

Aid Stations

Well stocked and well spaced.

Weather and typical race conditions

Wet PNW weather. Higher elevations may have snow and sleet.

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

If you don’t like the squishy mud, consider wearing mud protectors over your shoes/socks.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really. Though some of the aid stations are accessible to crews and spectators. The start and finish line is spectator friendly. But hard to catch your friends along the course.

How’s the Swag?

Bad – my only negative comment on the race. you Don’t even get a tech shirt unless you pay extra!

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

5 stars!