Sawmill 35 Miler Race Report – Barbara R

sawmill 35 mile race report
KevLV Photography

Race: Sawmill 35 Miler

Runner: Barbara R

Race Date: 06/01/2019

Location: Sawmill Canyon, Las Vegas, NV


Strava Activity Link:

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

  1. I got to explore new trails at our local mountain, Mt. Charleston! And the weather was beautiful!
  2. The slap bracelets that matched the color loop a runner was doing. Really helped when I was fatigued and not paying attention.
  3. The views – we had incredible views of the surrounding mountains and the valley.

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

I wonder what the race would be like if it was run in the clockwise direction. We ran the loops counterclockwise so each loop started with a downhill on a jeep road, the middle part of each loop consisted of long climbs on awesome single track, and the end of the loop ended on a mostly downhill trail and jeep road. Runners spent majority of their time climbing up single track and I would love to see what the course felt like if we got to go down the single track and climb up the jeep roads. Not really a make or break for me, just curious. I feel like so much awesome single track was wasted because we ended up hiking all of it.

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

That taxidermy lizard again!

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

I stayed mentally really tough during the whole race – the race had 3 different loops that you had to run 2 times. So the second time through was exhausting and draining but I stayed really positive and kept pushing through. I treated this race as a training run which helped with my mentality and allowed me to be more relaxed while running. I had a super good time the whole time – no down moments!

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

Take your time. The climbs are brutal. You have to be patient and work your way up them slowly but surely.
And if you have your own nutrition/hydration you like to use, you can set up your own little area at the main aid station – I personally like to mainly rely on my own stock of nutrition and it’s nice when I can set it out and have quick and easy access to it at an aid station.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Don’t do the 35 miler…stick with the 17 miler. 😉

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

This course is at elevation (~7,000 feet) with lots of climbing in each loop. This by no means is a fast course and it will do a number on your legs because all you’re doing is going down, going up, and then going down again.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Oh my gosh absolutely! Runners got awesome views of the Spring Mountains and the valley below. There was a lot of diverse vegetation we got to run through too – anything from high desert to forest! I personally love our mountain range so I enjoyed every step of the race!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

YES! Way harder than I (or anyone) expected it to be! We ended up doing over 6,000 feet of climbing and they were long gradual climbs. Not steep enough to power hike but steep enough were you couldn’t run. Each loop started on a nice downhill for 2ish miles but once you hit the trails it was a slow and steady forever climb until you hit the top and then ran back downhill to the main aid station. There were zero flat areas in this race. Luckily it wasn’t very technical and the trails were smooth and nice; there were some rocky and gravely sections but nothing that was a killer on the legs/hips.

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

Triple Dare Running and Bristlecone Events 100% rocked this race! This was the first year they ran it and it went incredibly smoothly. The course was marked perfectly. There were 3 loops: Blue Loop (4ish miles), Red Loop (8ish miles), and Green Loop (4ish miles). Each loop was marked with ribbon and signs with arrows that matched the loop color. And to top it off, everyone was given a slap bracelet to wear that matched what color loop they were running. When coming down the road to the main aid station, a volunteer would radio your number down so the other volunteers would have a new slap bracelet ready to switch out. I was blown away by how well marked the course was!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not this year. Hopefully in the future more competitive people will come out. The 35 miler started with 25 people and only 12 finished…there was an option to drop down to the 17 miler if you didn’t want to do all the loops again so I think a lot of runners did that once they got a taste of the climbing. And since there was so few runners I ended up running the entire race by myself.

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.

This was the first year this race was run so it was a pretty small field. But it had a lot of positive reviews so I wouldn’t be surprised if more people signed up in the upcoming years, possibly becoming a sold out race. Since this race is in the mountains it is pretty remote – lodges and hotels are available but it’ll be a 45+ minute drive. There was free camping though so if you want to be close to the action and not worry about driving, camping is the way to go.

There is also a relay option for this race where runners can create a team of 3 and each runner has to run every loop so if this would interest anyone, make sure you get a team together or find a local team looking for another runner!

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Aid stations were great! The main aid station at the start/finish area was bumpin’ with lots of food (cold and hot) and drink (kegs) available for before, during, and after the race! (They did run out of watermelon which was a bummer but someone from the race, Aubrey maybe?, drove off the mountain to the store to get more watermelon! Yes!) There were 2 manned aid stations on the course and 1 unmanned water only aid station. The race directors had an off road vehicle that was driving around and making sure all aid stations were fully stocked and had water. The aid stations were placed at the beginning or end of a loop due to easy of access so there were no aid stations in the middle with the big climbs.

Weather and typical race conditions

Typically the mountains are about 10 degrees cooler than the valley, so running up there in the summer time is beautiful! It did get a little toasty during the more exposed sections but all in all it was in the 70’s and sunny with a little wind!

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

I would definitely recommend carrying hydration, either a pack or handheld. The aid stations were few and far between, with big climbs so having hydration and snacks on you is a great idea for this race.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, for the most part. Each runner has to come to the start/finish area like 6 times, so you can see the runners there! You can hike to see runners on the course, but most spectators stayed at the start/finish area.

How’s the Swag?

T-shirts were great! Soft with a great design.
Medals made from wood with a great forest-y color scheme.
Winner’s plaques were okay. (So sad they’re not a bit fancier…)

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

I give this race ALL THE STARS!! I totally recommend that others run this race!

sawmill 35 mile race report
Photo: KevLV Photography