ice age 50 race report

Ice Age 50 Race Report – Roey P

ice age 50 race reportRace: Ice Age Trail 50 Miler

Runner: Roey P

Date: 5/12/2018

Location: Kettle Moraine Park, Wisconsin

Results: 9:13:03

Strava Activity Link:

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

  1. The atmosphere-The more I get into trail running, the more I love it. The other runners are a huge reason why. They are friendly, talkative and supportive. Its almost like “Hey, we are all in this together”.
  2. The Course-Challenging, with non stop hills. But boy is this a pretty run. Varied terrain, keeps this really interesting.
  3. Aid Stations-16, not including the start and finish. Very well supported, fully stocked, awesome volunteers.

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

If I were pressed to come up with something:This race is in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. The best way I could tell you where it is, is between Madison, and Racine. Don’t expect a wide range of eating/sleeping arrangements.

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

One loop, and 2 out and backs means you get to see the leaders a few times. Like beautiful gazelles passing you as you plod along. Not so much weird, as inspirational.
Also, the hills NEVER END. Honestly, they don’t. My watch said 5000+ feet of climbing, but none of those was more than 200 feet at a time.

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

I feel like I paced this out incredibly well. I was on point with my fueling and hydration, and was able to stick to my plan very well. I handled the hills well, and finished 47 minutes faster than I wanted to.

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

Seriously, do your hill work. Even though it sounds flat for a 50 miler, they don’t end. I was about half a mile from the finish, and mistakenly thought to myself “phew, no more hills”. But guess what…2 more hills.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Squirrel Nut Butter and Vaseline don’t stay forever. Reapply.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Hills, also hills. Did I mention Hills. Some of the out and backs got a little “pudding like” after 400 runners were on them twice. Try to be the leader. Then you get fresh trails.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Beautiful midwest forest.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Being my first 50, I don’t have a whole lot of perspective, but I would say deceptively challenging.

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

Everything was smooth. Race communication was great. Bib pickup was smooth. Race day events well handled. This race has been going on for 30 plus years, and they have it all figured out.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Maybe not as much as years past. This used to be a WS Qualifier, but not anymore. Still some strong runners out there.

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.

Lots of camping options, only 1 or 2 hotels in the area. I was late to the sign up, but didn’t have any problems getting in.

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

So many. 16, not including the Start/Finish. They had limited Gu’s, but everything else was fully loaded.

Weather and typical race conditions

40-50 and Humid/Damp. It poured the night before, but was beautiful that day.

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

Running belt should be fine. Lots of places for a crew, and lots of aid stations. Don’t weigh yourself down with a vest or backpack.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Lots of places for family and friends to cheer you on, and keep you going. If you have family there, Emma Carlin aid station looked like a big party. 40 miles out, and they were rocking and rolling when I came in.

How’s the Swag?

I finally ran a race that gave out a buckle, so great!

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

5 out of 5. Great race for a first time 50 miler.

ice age 50 info

Ice Age 50 Mile Race Info

Summary: Starting and finishing in the same location and consisting of a loop section as well as two out and backs, the Ice Age 50 is one of the oldest ultras in the country. Though it often has fast times and fast course records, it’s still a tough course, consisting of relentless hills, though none are extremely steep or long. The course is mostly single track dirt, rocky and tree rooted trail that runs through pinewoods, hardwood forests, and rolling prairie lands.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • It’s a fairly hard cutoff at 12 hours, so be aware of the time limit
  • First 9 mile loop allows for some more “cruising” miles, with fairly wide doubletrack, but still has some inclines throughout
  • Be ready for the weather to change throughout the day, so either have a layer to peel/put on while you run and/or in your drop bag
  • With two out and back sections, and lots of faster runners in the race, there is a lot of 2 way traffic for much of the race, so be ready to share the trail with others going faster/slower the other way
  • The 3rd section of the course, the 18 mile out and back, is the hilliest of all the sections, and you feel it that much more on tired legs, especially on the way back
  • Refrain from pushing too hard on the early hills, even though they’re not particularly long or steep, because they will wear you down before you hit the bigger hills later in the race
  • The relentless rollers make this “fast” 50 miler deceivingly hard; seriously, everyone talks about how this course sneaks up on you and can beat you up!


Total gain/loss: 7454/7488

Ft/mile gain: 149

Total climbs: Relentless, too many to count, none super long or steep, but never-ending

Course Map and Elevation profile

Course Map with Aid Station Chart

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 16

Furthest distance apart: 5.1 miles

Locations: Miles 3.9. 9, 10.5, 13.1, 17.3, 19.1, 21.7, 24.2, 26, 30.2, 32.9, 37.1, 40.2, 43.3, 47.6, 48.5

What’s available: Water, HEED and soda (Coke, Mountain Dew and Ginger Ale), PBJ sandwiches, oranges, bananas, pickles, cookies, chips, pretzels and candies, and a limited number of Hammer Gels.

Crew access

Access Locations: 9, 10.5, 13.1, 17.3, 19.1, 21.7, 24.2, 26, 30.2, 40.2, 48.5

Crew instructions/directions

Race reports

Roey P’s 2018 race report (good pics here too!)

Strava activities and GPX files

Race Website