Race: Orcas Island 50k

Runner: Roey P

Race Date: 2/3/2018

Location: Orcas Island, WA.

Results: 7:17

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1390322486

Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

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

  • Scenery: By far one of the most gorgeous routes I’ve ever run. Even though the top of Mt. Constitution was fogged in, there were plenty of waterfalls, greenery, and views to marvel at.
  • Course: Its Challenging! 8400 ft of elevation gain and loss! Lots of steep ups, and fast downs. Make sure you get your Shangri-La repeats in before this one.
  • Community: At the Ferry waiting to cross to the Island, at dinner the night before, the morning of the race, throughout the race, and the afterparty. Everyone was friendly, hanging out, chatting, and sharing stories.

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

If you are a medal collector, this one’s not for you. The swag is lacking at this one. Nothing to show that you completed the race.

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

I was surprised with how many people travel from out of town for this race. We met people from Atlanta, Minnesota, and a ton of people from the Bay Area.

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

For me, this was probably the best managed race I’ve ran. My hydration, fuel, and early pacing was on point. I finished feeling better than most of my other races.

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

Do your downhill repeats. Seriously….don’t skip these. While you can slow down and pace yourself up the long inclines, your quads will be destroyed if you don’t practice on the downhills.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Get proper trail shoes. This course was slick and muddy in spots. Some single tracks are more like half tracks, with a pretty dramatic cliff on one side.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The uphills are long. As in, really long. As in “Oh Dear G-d where is the top”. Pace yourself, and focus on effort and heart rate.

After mile 25, its 6 miles downhill to the finish.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Absolutely gorgeous. Even with cloud cover this is one of the prettiest courses I’ve ever run.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s a tough course with dramatic steep climbs.

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

Rainshadow running put on a flawless race. The course was well marked, the aid stations were staffed and stocked, the communication was clear and consistent.

orcas island 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I haven’t ran enough trail races to make a clear decision.

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.

There is a lottery, however we registered as a team, and we got in. Not sure how many get in vs register. Reserve the ferry there AND back as it runs pretty limited that time of year. Good hotels and bunk houses to fit all budgets. Make sure you stay Saturday night as well, as there is a lively after party.

Aid Stations

I have never eaten a pickle at an aid station before. Pickles are sent from the heavens to guide you to the finish line. Aid stations were well stocked with anything you might need.

Weather and typical race conditions

Usually rainy. This year was very rainy on the days leading up to the race. So trails were slick, lots of puddles, lots of runoff. 2 spots where the water was above my calf.

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

You may want to train with poles. Especially for the Power Line Climb.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Other than the finish line, there really isn’t too much room to cheer on.

How’s the Swag?

Non-Existent. I pre-purchased a Patagonia Tech shirt, which, while pricey, is pretty nice. I know they offer an option where they go to Goodwill and pick out shirts, and turn them into logo-ed shirts.

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

10! Absolutely should run this one.

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