Race: Rocky Raccoon 50 – http://www.tejastrails.com/Rocky50.html
Runner: Josh B
Location: Huntsville State Park, TX
Distance raced and other options: 50 miles. 100 mile race is the weekend before.
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- The people. Texas trailer runners are a super friendly group.
- Volunteers. At each aid station there are super friendly trail runners to assist and encourage you.
- The course. Being a loop course makes it easy logistically for the runner and the crews. Your crew can basically follow you the entire race.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you?
- Out and back section of the course. This is not a usual thing but due to construction this year there was an out and back section.
- Repeat sections- The course is set up in loops. For the 50 mile race you do 3 loops. In each loop there are sections that you go past multiple times. For example, one section I ran through a total of 6 times.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
- Texans- You meet some crazy fun people. Like the guy who wore very short american flag shorts and a collared shirt with the sleeves cut out.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I think I paced the first loop pretty well and in general had a good nutritional plan, at least until late in the race where I got tired of taking in gels.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Have each loop planned out in advance. From goal time, food, water, and clothing. This is a course where anyone could get a PR if the plan is in place.
The temperature each year can fluctuate drastically. They have had snow years and years in the 80’s. The race can be cold at the start and hot during the day. Plan your clothing and hydration accordingly.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It’s definitely not a mountain scenic course but is pretty in its own Texas way. The parts by the lake are nice.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
I think most people would call this a runnable course. The roots make it somewhat technical especially in the dark and late in the race. Overall, it is runnable and a place to aim for a distance PR.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Tejas Trails is a very well organized company. They have been around along time and know how to organize great events. Most of their races have been around along time and are very well marked and have volunteers who have been around for years.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
The 100 mile race typically has a very strong field and is sometimes the US 100 mile championships. The men’s and women’s 100 mile trail american records are on this course. The 50 mile is not typically a stacked field but still has very fast times.
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.
Rocky Raccoon is very easy to get into. For both races you can register day of. Logistically you can fly into Dallas and drive a few hours south to Huntsville or fly to Houston and Drive an hour north to Huntville. There are plenty of hotels in town and Huntsville State Park also allows camping.
I would recommend camping as this avoids race day parking. The park has little cabin like shelters for rent for a good price and hot showers available. The park is only 15 minutes from Huntsville if you need any last minute supplies.
The aid stations have all the typical stuff and a decent selection of hot food including quesadillas, hot dogs, burgers, pancakes, and BACON.
Weather and typical race conditions
The weather can be hot or cold. In the past few years it has varied from 30-80 degrees. On average though I would say it is perfect running conditions.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
With the heat on race day I had bad chaffing problems which I think came from the excess sweating. Have a plan in place for chaffing.
Be ready for drastic weather changes. it could be cold at the start and hot in the afternoon. Have the right clothing in your dropbags.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
This is a great race for spectators. Crews have access to almost the entire course. I recommend having your crew bring a car or even a bike to get back and forth between the aid stations.
Awards – Each finisher gets a pretty nice medal and the overall/age group winners get custom awards. Usually something crazy Texas like. This year’s looked something like this:
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
On a 1-10 scale I would give this race a 7. I would recommend this race for people wanting to run a PR and for people looking to escape the winter cold/rain and run in nice weather. I think everyone should run a Tejas Trail race once in there life. If not Rocky Raccoon, consider Bandera or Cactus Rose.