Race: Sun Mountain 50K

Runner: Trevor N

Race Date: 05/18/2019

Location: Winthrop, WA

Results: 8th place, 4:54:27

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2378302434

sun mountain 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

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

  1. Very beautiful course and location
  2. Good aid stations, support from volunteers, excellent finish-line fare, fun atmosphere
  3. Fast and runnable course

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

The 1/4 mile walk uphill back to your car afterwards, I was feeling pretty weird!

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

The weather was perfect and I ran a big 45 minute PR for my second 50K, also nabbed top 10! I went into this race in a really good frame of mind, and I strategized my pace/nutrition very well. I knew roughly the distance between aid stations and just ran my race one aid station at a time.

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

  1. The start and first 1/2 mile are on road, then everyone funnels onto the Patterson Mt. trail which is narrow and single track. If you plan on running mid/front of the pack, it’s important to get out faster at the start to avoid having to wait at the trailhead for runners to file onto the trail. I know some runners had to actually stop and wait for a few minutes.
  2. The two biggest climbs are at the beginning of the race, if you can get after those first two climbs and your still feeling fresh you’re doing great!
  3. If you’re looking for a comfortable/cheap place to stay, check out the North Cascades Mountain Hostel, super cool hostel and I met a bunch of other runners there the night before. I got some great race intel from other runners who have done this race more than once and also enjoyed making some new friends.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

My Salomon vest with soft flasks is more comfortable than running with handhelds, so I am going to stick to that method for now. I also practiced the method of maintaining momentum at the tops of climbs by counting ten faster steps. I probably counted to ten 100s of times during the race, but I know it helped keep up my pace. I have spent a lot of time messing around with my race nutrition during my training, it’s starting to pay off and I can tolerate eating while running much better.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

See “Lessons for others 1”

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

110%, mountain and lake views, lots of wildflowers and beautiful forests!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?


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, well-oiled machine!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not enough experience to know.

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.

The 50k race uses the lottery system, but they also allow bib transfers. I ended up buying a bib from another runner who was injured. They make the bib transfer process pretty simple too and it’s all laid out on the Rainshadow Running website.

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

They were all solid, and all but one allow drop bags for those interested.

Weather and typical race conditions

Sunny/Warm. Cool and comfortable in the morning and it starts to warm up at the start of the race, high temp on race day was 68 degrees.

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

I was considering using more sun protection and bringing sunscreen with me during the race, but once I learned that the second part of the course was shaded, I opted to go without the sleeves/extra sunscreen. Worked out well and came away without any sunburns. When it’s sunny the one thing I 100% go without is sunglasses.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, for a trail ultra. Plenty of cheers at the aid stations and from spectators hiking on the course

How’s the Swag?

Nice selection of shirts, beer glasses, stickers and even some merchandise from different Rainshadow races.

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

5/5, I would recommend this to most people.

sun mountain 50k race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama