Race: Sun Mountain 50K
Runner: Andrew K
Race Date: 05/18/2019
Location: Winthrop, WA
Results: 30th Overall, 6th Age.
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2378337490
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- Course – it really impressed me because I envisioned it to be more like Yakima skyline, nowhere to hide etc. Instead it was a lot of alpine forest single track in & out of cover. A lot of wildflowers everywhere!
- Finish/Festive – End of Rainshadow always are lively with a band, pizza etc. It makes you feel welcome and celebration.
- Lake – putting your feet in the cold lake at the end, perfect!
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
I’d be making things up but since everyone’s GPS measured it at 32 miles, that last mile when you thought you’d be done but aren’t was not fun.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
About Mile 7 a guy on the trail with giant bunny rabbit head and then a guy with T-REx giving high fives. It was a good laugh.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
On paper, I shouldn’t have done this race. It was a stretch since my volume and return since femoral stress fracture etc. But overall, I placed well, held my own until the late miles and really enjoyed myself.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
- Get to the front fast. The first uphill is a giant choke point. It takes a while to pass and you really, really get slowed down. Skip the first aid station if you have a pack, it’s just not far enough out. Heat could change that advice. This aid station is at the Sun Mountain Lodge parking lot so the family/friends can easily see you here.
- Hat is good idea. If you suffer allergies, I guess the wild flowers could be a thing.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
- Run to the front fast. Knowing the course better as I kept saving for a big uphill that never came. I also spent 10 mins at the aid stations with a messed up water bladder. Bottles next time.
- If you come from Seattle, go via the North Cascades Highway. Too spectacular not to take the extra 10 minutes per the GPS.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The first uphill I felt was the only one that really tough. The rest were just runnable grinders if you put your head to just keep ‘leftie and rightie’ moving along.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Yes, vistas at times. Forests were spectacular with Pines, so high canopy and floor of flowers.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Medium hard. Compared to other Rainshadow Vertical this felt less difficult.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Yes, Rainshadow does a great job. I entered via bib transfer via their Google spreadsheet otherwise I would not have gotten in.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
I don’t know names to watch but the winner seemed legit.
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.
Sells out fast so register. If you can’t go, then sell your bib. OR do I did and buy a bib after the fact.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
5 aid stations I recall. The last one was maybe 4 miles to go so felt oddly placed. Basically every 6 miles. Plenty of options, great volunteers and selection.
Weather and typical race conditions
60’s, bluebird skies. Perfect.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
I ran with a Osprey vest/bladder. I had trouble filling / closing it, so maybe water bottles on vest etc. If you have allergies maybe something?
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
First and Second aid stations seems very reachable. Rest not so much.
How’s the Swag?
Patagonia Tech Tee and I like their artwork/logos. They sell all their race stuff with bargain bin at the end and loads of free stickers.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?