This is Team RunRun coach Frank Fisher’s Red Devil 50k Race Report from 2021. He shares intel on the course, thoughts on how to approach the race, and lots of highlights about why this is a highly rated race and one to check out!
Race: Red Devil 50k
Runner: Coach Frank Fisher
Race Date: 6/05/2021
Location: Cashmere, WA
Results: 6:41:59, 24th place
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5419845526/overview
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
The three things I liked best about this race: it’s small and laid back, has a scenic and challenging course, and they drop you off at a brewery when you’re done, so you don’t have to go far when you’re hungry and ready for a beer! I also really appreciated cold water at the aid stations.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
About the only thing that wasn’t great about this race was aid station fare, which wasn’t a big deal to me personally. I was good on nutrition, but I did want some salty stuff later in the race and it looked like my options were pretty slim so I passed. This course is slightly long. I think if you’ve done enough of these you realize 50k (or whatever distance) is kind of a loose term. The course map had a little over 31 miles, but it seemed like most everyone had 32 plus. Not a biggie, but it’s hard to not look at the watch in the last few miles wondering when this thing is gonna end.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Llamas. They used them to pack water and food in to the mile 19 aid station. I didn’t stick around to socialize, but they’re out there just chilling.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
Nutrition is almost always the biggest challenge for me in ultras, and I really nailed it this time. Made the switch away from the sugary gels to Spring, and brought some solid food in my pack to snack on. I had no stomach issues at all, and was able to stay focused on the course. I also nailed my pacing strategy and felt fantastic all day, which made the whole race enjoyable for me…well almost the whole race. Those last couple miles sucked a little bit.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Pacing and nutrition, you need solid plans for both. For this course in particular, you need to know the aid stations and have a good idea of your water usage. It’s generally 8 or more miles between aids, and it can get warm.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Relax, have fun and enjoy the scenery.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
It should be obvious it’s a tough course with the vert profile (~6500 ft). That being said, weather day of is also a huge factor. We got lucky this year as it was pretty cool out with temps in the 50-60’s. I think it’s usually much warmer. The course is fairly exposed, particularly in the first 19 miles. Then you drop down in the canyon where it can get hot. I was prepared for a hot day, but I’m glad it was nice. I can see where the heat would really slow you down, and you’d have to be really careful about keeping your water topped off, and probably carry more than usual to be safe. There are plenty of creek crossings in the second half of the race, so you have the opportunity to take a dip if you need it. Also, you have to be really smart on the front end pacing wise. The second climb is long! That being said, I think this course is really runnable given the profile. If you’re fit and fast, this course is fun. The trails were in good shape, some rutting from motorcycles and mountain bikes, but overall pretty smooth and nice. The last 4-5 miles does seem to drag a little bit, and you get fooled a couple times thinking you’re on the last downhill to the finish only to find another little climb, but once you finally hit the last downhill it goes quick.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Very pretty in my opinion. Lots of great views on the front half of the course.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Yep. Not the hardest course I’ve run, but it’s no joke. Probably not a course for a first timer, or beginner. You need to have your stuff together beforehand, and even more so if it’s hot.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Yep, Run Wenatchee did a great job!
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Yes. Small but strong field with a lot of tough locals. They torched the course records this year.
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.
Nope, it did fill up, but pretty easy to get into. Hotels in Leavenworth and Wenatchee fill up quick so book well ahead of time. You are encouraged to ride a shuttle to the start line from the brewery in Cashmere. This is well organized, and honestly pretty nice. I didn’t have to wait long to get on the bus after I finished. Milepost 11 brewery had really good food and beer for post race.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
COVID probably has a lot to do with this, but they were small and not a huge selection. They got what you need though, cold water and super nice volunteers! There only 3 on the course and they are 8-9 miles apart.
Weather and typical race conditions
Probably cooler than normal for this time of year, a little rain and temps in the 50-60’s. More than likely going to be significantly warmer most years.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
If you’re heavy drinker (of water that is), you may need a bladder or extra water bottles. Lots of sunscreen.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Nope. Starting line is at a small trailhead too, so not much room for family and friends.
How’s the Swag?
Good, nice t-shirt and a reusable cup. Useful stuff. I like it.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I’d give this one 5 stars. I like it a lot, and would highly recommend it for seasoned runners.