Secret Beach 50 Mile Race Report – Les Sheffield

Race: Secret Beach 50M

Runner: Les Sheffield

Race Date: 10/02/2021

Location: Gold Beach, OR

Results: 4th Place OA

Strava Activity Link:

secret beach 50 mile course

3 Bests – What aspects of the Secret Beach 50 Mile did you like the most?

1. The beach section in the morning was fantastic. I love the fog and sound of crashing waves.
2. The scenery throughout was truly amazing and helps you appreciate the beauty of nature and why we run these.
3. The other runners were a great group and very fun to chat with during and after the race.

Not so much – What aspects of the Secret Beach 50 Mile didn’t work for you?

The wind picked up causing dangerous surf. So a section of the race had to be run on Highway 101 instead of the beach. Kind of a bummer expecting to run the beach for a few miles and instead running the shoulder of a busy highway.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about the Secret Beach 50 Mile?

Things that wash up on the beach can be weird!

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

I enjoyed the variety of surfaces to run on. There was beach, trail and road all mashed together!

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Secret Beach 50 Mile to help the next runner

You get to place your own drop bags at each aid station. USE THEM! I changed shoes at mile 30 and they felt amazing. It was just the perk that I needed. Plus my feet were hurting and putting on some extra cushion really helped.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I am still learning how to fuel throughout a long race. I had a plan but coming up to each aid station and seeing the people ahead of me taking off really caused me to make some poor decisions.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Secret Beach 50 Miler?

If the wind causes a dangerous surf on the beach they will reroute onto Highway 101. This is hard to plan for but the highway miles are much MUCH faster than the beach.

Aesthetics – Is the Secret Beach 50 Mile a pretty course?

It is wonderful!

Difficulty – Is the Secret Beach 50 Mile a tough course?

Not really. The climbs are all 200-300 ft which go by pretty quickly.

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

Rainshadow Running does a great job with their races. This one is no exception. Very well done.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not really. This race is out of the way of most in the PNW. Only 15 people in the 50M and 25 people in the 100K.

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! Registration is always open because it doesn’t fill up. A great backup race in case you don’t make it through the lottery of your A race.

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

The aid stations are in pulloffs of Highway 101. So very easy to navigate to as crew. Plenty of parking as well. Pretty standard fare at the aid stations. Best part is having a drop bag at each one. They are 10 miles apart though so that is quite a ways. Better carry extra!

Weather and typical race conditions

Started off the morning being beautiful and pristine. Later in the day the wind really picked up and finishing conditions were difficult.

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

Enough room to carry 10 miles of gear between each aid station. Extra shoes/socks/hat/etc in each drop bag.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Very much so! I would have had my friends meet me on the beach and run those last few miles if any had come.

How’s the Swag?


The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Secret Beach 50 Mile and do you recommend that others run it?

7.5/10 – Without the super strong headwind this would be 8.5/10

secret beach 50 mile course

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