Race: Riverlands 100
Runner: Brian E
Race Date: 05/11/2019
Location: Androscoggin State Park – Turner, Maine
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2363087355
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- It’s very close to home!
- Great organizers, volunteers, fellow racers, and spectators. It’s a smaller event and feels very intimate.
- The course is beautiful and challenging with a 32-hour cutoff. So if you can gut it out you’ll probably finish.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
This is a tough question because so many of the things that make this race great also make you hate it after 70 miles. The extremely rough terrain and temperature swings slowly tear you apart.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Not necessarily weird but good to know. The RDs changed the course this year for the better I believe. Last year it was a 5 lap, 20 mile out and back along rough ATV trails… this year it became a 4 lap 25 mile out and back along some of the ATV trail and around 12 miles of single track. The singletrack adds a bit of elevation, rock scrambles, and loamy runnable sections. There is also a 5 person relay option that utilizes the same ATV only course from last year.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
- I ran this with my friend and fellow RunRunner, Susan, and it was her first 100 miler so that made this race extra special. I feel like we did well being patient early in the race, running what we could and hiking what we should.
- The most memorable part for me was late in the race…We talked about wanting to be under 30 hours and were on pace for it. With around 6 miles to go, I realized that if we hustled we could break 29 hours. We dug deep and found one more gear to bring it in with style!
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Maine is unpredictable in the spring. We had snow on the course up until three weeks ago, the snow created mud and standing water in many areas so you will have wet feet all day. It’s important to have proper layers ready to go throughout the race as temps the last two years have ranged from the high 60s during the day (hot by Maine standards) to 30 at night.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It’s gorgeous. You’ll have views from higher up and along the river, the sunrises and sunset were spectacular this year. You can expect to see and hear all kinds of wildlife as the day goes on. We heard loons, coyotes, owls and more.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
This race ain’t for wimps. Seventy 100 mile solo racers signed up and around sixty started Saturday morning. I believe 26 runners finished. Between the rugged terrain and temperature swings bringing on hypothermia at night, this race chews up and spits out runners.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This was the race’s third year but it feels very well run. The RDs and volunteers are seasoned trail runners and do a great job.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
This year seemed to attract some legit competition. Mark Hammond made the trip and won the race. A handful of people broke 24 hours.
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.
It did sell out this year so I would sign up early if you want to give it a try. Hotels are located about 20 minutes away in the town of Auburn and there is a very accommodating campground about 10 minutes away (this guy loves the racers!)
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Weather and typical race conditions
Early May in Maine is a crap shoot. Both years I’ve run this race it was hot during the day and freezing at night. It’s been raining for weeks here this year but somehow we managed two nice days in a row for the race. It can be beautiful or a nightmare!
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Nothing special. Moisture-wicking layers are key.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Definitely! Spectators are allowed to hike, bike, and horseback ride into the course which has trailheads at the start/finish and the turnaround point.
How’s the Swag?
Limited but good. My two buckles are my prized possessions. You get a sticker, a t-shirt, some local candies, etc. Hoodies and shirts are available for purchase I believe.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
This race was my first 100 last year and this year’s race was the most challenging I’ve run. It’s put on by a local club that I’ve been becoming more involved with so I may be biased. If you like a solid test of your mental and physical grit you should give Riverlands 100 a try.