Race: Southern Tour Ultra
Runner: Coach Cassie Nevins
Race Date: 01/21/2023
Location: Hamstead, NC
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8433214633
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- This race is a ten mile loop course. You can stage gear at the start and they have a runners village where you can access your tent or camper on each lap if you chose to stay overnight.
- The energy is so high at this race. There is a live band and music the entire time and because the have multiple events you are never alone on the course.
- The course is a cross country style course, but the trail is wide enough to fit several runners. You don’t really deal with congestion at the start of this race.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
There was one aid station about half way through the loop around mile 5. Unfortunately, it was unmanned and my second two loops the water was empty. I was using a hydration vest with bottles due to the description of the race informing us that there would be water halfway through. I would suggest using a bladder and refilling at the end of each 10 mile lap.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
There is a relay going on as well as a last mind standing. It was wild to be close to mile thirty getting passed by someone running a six minute pace as well as seeing someone who had been awake for over 24 hours hobbling through all in the same event.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
This was my first ultra race post partum. I did a good job bringing enough calories and managing my nutrition as well as building up safely over several months to get my first post partum 50k under my belt.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
There is not a lot of aid. Be prepared to bring the nutrition and supplies that you enjoy and enough water to stage to refill your bottles or bladder.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
There are some fast sections on this course. I could have paced myself better on the first lap. There is also a lot of sand on this course so there was some muscle fatigue due to running on sand and an uneven surface that I had not trained for.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
There are multiple events going on. The course was well marked, but I could see if you are fatigued where you could accidentally make a turn and complete the five mile loop that is for relay runners and last man standing runners instead of continuing onto the ten mile loop. Make sure you stay alert of the course markings.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
This course is close to Wilmington, NC and has waterfront views at two points. There is a lot of shade cover in several sections and wildlife in the area.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
For a coastal race, I was still able to gain 922 feet of vertical gain during the 50k event. Overall, it is a beginner friendly race and a great trail 50K if you are looking for a personal best.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
I have done a few of the Without Limits races. I keep coming back because the make the events fun, care about runner safety, and provide really awesome swag and post race festivities.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
I would say that most of the competition is local. There were some fast runners in all the events, but this is a great race to really test yourself and your personal limits.
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.
If you are local to the area it is a great event to fit into your schedule. You could stay in Wilmington and only have a 20 minute drive to get the to start. The cost of this event is relatively low.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
There was a water only aid station at mile 5. They do allow you to put a drop bag there, if you need to, but it is unmanned. There is a full aid station at the start/finish line at mile 10. They had gels, waffles, water, and gatorade.
Weather and typical race conditions
The weather was perfect. It was about 40 degrees at the start, but warmed to about 60 by the end.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
I actually did this race in my hoka rincons and was perfectly fine. You could use trail shoes, but it wouldn’t be necessary if you prefer a pair of road shoes.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
This course is perfect to bring family and friends. There is a camping village that you run through each lap. I would say the finish line party and camping is really where all the fun happens. They had a live band and it was packed with spectators.
How’s the Swag?
The swag is perfect for this race. You get a rather large finisher medals and extremely soft t-shirt.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
4.9- I loved this event, I just wish the water stop had water. I spent the last two laps running out about a mile to the 10 mile aid stop.
Cassie Nevins is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, check out her coach profile.