Bowerman 5k Race Report – Coach Brian Comer

Race: Bowerman 5K

Runner: Coach Brian Comer

Race Date: 08/05/2023

Location: Nike WHQ Beaverton, Oregon

Results: https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/149666/#resultSetId-396125;perpage:100

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

  1. The race takes place on the Nike WHQ campus. Seeing the various features of the campus, from athlete statues to the track lined with trees, is always cool and exciting.
  2. Competition and course are both fast. Definitely a race where you can run a PR. For the kids, there is also an elementary 1K that’s free and run prior to the 5k.
  3. The post-race party is pretty good and features a free raffle. There’s also a pop up shop where you can buy merch.

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

Not too much to speak on here but note that they don’t offer a bag check so unless you have a car, prepare to stash belongings in the courtyard by the start/finish.

Photo: Maggie Troxell @magz.memz

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

Not weird but definitely something cool and unique is the fact that Evan Jager acted as the starter for the race.

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

It wasn’t necessarily hot but it was humid and muggy so I was able to adapt my warmup accordingly where I wasn’t doing too much but also still did enough to feel warm and ready once the gun went off given the shorter race distance. Race got out fast (coming through the mile in 4:40 and 2 mile in 9:36 while not even being in the lead pack) but I was able to mentally stay in it and compete with the people around me. Despite the incline of the 2nd mile, effort was maintained and I was able to finish strong, clocking a new PR in the process. Seeing all the buildings, Nike Woods/Hollister Trail, banners featuring athletes, basketball and sand volleyball courts was cool of course as aforementioned.

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

There is plenty of competition but like any distance race, do your best not to go out too fast. No matter your pace, there’s plenty of people to run with but once you get past the chaotic start, it’s easy to carve out your own space and settle in.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

While there was an incline the 2nd mile, it wasn’t necessarily steep. However, it was still enough of one that it psyched myself and a few others out. In hindsight, I would have pushed it more there knowing that the last mile would take care of itself.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course changed a little compared to last year and previous years. Given the high frequency of course changes and variability this could change but the course lends itself to being able to run tangents smoothly with the gradual nature of turns. There was only one hairpin turn just after the 2nd mile serving as a turnaround as you make your way back to the finish but there is plenty of room so your not stopping on a dime, going around a single cone, and turning around.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Despite how urban the area is, there is definitely plenty to see and look at so I’d say it’s scenic.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Not really, the aforementioned 2nd mile climb was the only one but given the turnaround, it lends itself to a fast finish. Course is otherwise pretty flat and given it’s on the roads, there is sure footing throughout.

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

Yes it was super organized and well run. In the past, there have been timing mishaps but that didn’t happen this year.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes absolutely, probably the fastest road 5k around, at least in the PNW. Winner ran 14:11 and I ran 15:06 for 9th place overall.

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.

Nothing too specific but like all races, registration fees go up the closer it is to race day. You’ll be sent an email with race details and a QR code to scan at check in to get your bib, timing chips are attached to the bib.

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

Pretty standard, had a couple tents with tables set up with water.

Weather and typical race conditions

Usually warm, rarely wet. Cloud cover this year made it so the weather was particularly muggy.

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

Just yourself, your watch, and a pair of fast road racing flats.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Overall pretty spectator friendly. With some fast walking or jogging you can see the start along with earlier portions of the race. The latter half went by the finish so for those looking to stay in one place, if you went by the finish, you could see runners 3 different times without moving or with minimal movement.

How’s the Swag?

Pretty good, all registered get a race shirt and they have past race shirts for sale at the pop up merch tent along with some other nice Nike/Bowerman gear.

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

5 stars, definitely would recommend this race to others.

Brian Comer is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.

Photo: Maggie Troxell @magz.memz

Mt. Hood 50k Race Report – Ron Kelly

Race: Mt Hood 50K

Runner: Ron Kelly

Race Date: 07/16/2023

Location: Mt. Hood, Oregon

Results: 15th overall, 2nd age group

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/9464620804/export_gpx

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

Great trail culture vibes, stunning views, and runnable single track trails

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

No weird factor! But you could run the 50M on Saturday and the 50K on Sunday. One person tackled the challenge.

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

I was able to run the entire course with fairly even pacing throughout. 50K PR given runnable trails without a ton of vert

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

Get there early! Parking is limited. No crewing allowed so be prepared with hydration/nutrition though aid stations well stock with your basic needs.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

It’s a fast course with some climbing but the entire race is on runnable single track. Even pacing is ideal for this course.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

I ran it sight unseen. The kind of race you can do well at without seeing it first. Great trails!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Absolutely beautiful race course on clear day. Mt. Hood is stunning. Lots of mountain, forest and lake view along the entire route.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

All single track but very runnable throughout. Less than 3K of total vert and runnable trails makes for the opportunity for a fast race and PR.

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

GoBeyond Racing does a tremendous job. Super well organized and post race party vibes. Definitely experience the trail culture of an iconic PNW trail race in a beautiful area.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Strong local runners from Oregon/Washington.

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.

Tons of camping nearby and hotels/Airbnb’s in the Mt. Hood vicinity. I was on the waitlist and eventually got it. 50M race on Saturday is lottery and the 50K is sign up with waitlist.

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

Aid stations and the volunteers were tremendous!

Weather and typical race conditions

The trail is primarily shaded throughout so makes for ideal conditions though it can be extremely hot in this part of Oregon in mid July.

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

No crew allowed so carry what you need.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

No crew support allowed or needed but able to spectate and see runners at several of the aid stations.

How’s the Swag?

T-shirts, stickers, beer mugs. Full age group awards

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

4 and half stars. Highly recommend for a local trail race in a beautiful area

Wy’east Wonder 50k Race Report – Simon Pollock

Race: Wy’east Wonder 50k

Runner: Simon Pollock

Race Date: 06/24/2023

Location: Parkdale, Oregon

Results

Finished! (8:55, but the course ran 1.5 miles longer than advertised)

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

  1. Location, location, location. Wy’east Wonder is a point-to-point course that basically runs south to north just east of Wy’east (aka Mt. Hood) on a ridge line between 4,000-6,000 ft above sea level. On good or better weather days, the mountain views are stupendous.
  2. It’s a very runnable course. Multiple people recommended this as a first ultra, part of why I picked it. Everything other than the precipitous descent over the last 2.5 miles was either double-track fire road or mostly well-packed single-track. Although speed demons may not love that many of the descents have lots of turns.

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

Prepare well for long gaps between aid stations, and honestly, the course needs at least one more. The gap between the first and second aid stations ran 1.5+ miles longer than listed due to some last-minute construction on a nearby forest road, and while the race organizers announced at the start line that the cutoff at the second aid station was extended, they did not really mention the mileage. I was told at the second aid station that many runners were coming in much later than expected because of this shift.

Plot the course on Footpath, or Gaia, or whichever reliable GPS service you use offline. Don’t just rely on GoBeyond Racing’s .gpx file. There are some easy-to-make wrong turns. GoBeyond did an okay job marking turns, but they need more proper “RACERS + [ARROW]” signs. Make sure you keep an eye out for those orange agility cones.

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

Prepare for the shuttles. Because this is a point-to-point, know that you’ll be bussed from race central to the start (25ish minutes), and that there is a shuttle from the finish line back to race central (short ride, about 7 minutes). If you don’t have crew, make sure to drop finish line change of clothes and anything else you want on the tarp, as directed at the start.

Plan for a net downhill course and save your quads for the end. You will make a techy, switchback-y 2000-foot descent in the last 2.5 miles.

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

This course is an excellent adventure. My primary goal was to finish, and I was well-coached and well prepared to ignore my HR/pace/cadence data, run by feel, meet people and take tons of pictures. I had a great time.

I had a particular focus on making sure I carried all my own gels and portioned electrolyte mix, plus full restocks of everything in my crew bag for the 22-mile mark. Can’t emphasize this enough: know how you sweat and what you need for hydration. Aid stations are staffed by amazing volunteers, but they’re far apart and it’s worth making sure you have what you need for nutrition and hydration (plus a little extra just in case) in your vest/belt.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Already mentioned this and, worth emphasizing:

  • Know your body and plan for that gnarly descent at the end.
  • Plan for the second section to run long

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

1000% yes.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I was told that it was a good choice for first-time ultrarunners like myself, and I’d mostly agree. Very runnable up until about 29.5 when you make your final turn and start the descent. About two-thirds of the descent is totally runnable, but it’s all switchbacks, so don’t expect to be able to set it in down-hill gear and charge it.

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

I give GoBeyond a B+. They had to extend the cutoff twice, once right before we started +15 min, and again once they realized how much longer the course was running into the second aid station. I’m both grateful for that and got briefly worried that I’d made a wrong turn when the aid station didn’t show up within a half mile of what I was expecting.

Also, as mentioned above: needs more signage. A few more direction signs in the ground would go a long way from keeping runners off of nearby fire roads.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Wasn’t my focus.

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! Just keep an eye on GoBeyond’s registration dates and plan ahead.

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

Know how you sweat. Bring your own electrolyte mix. Plan for the long gaps.

Weather and typical race conditions

Late June is a terrific time to be around Mt. Hood.

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

Nope!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really, but there’s lots of hiking to do and beautiful orchards to explore while they wait.

How’s the Swag?

Totally fine. Provided by Territory Run Co.

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

3.5 stars! I had an absolute blast. Easiest way to bump up to 4 or 4.5 is to improve signage and pre-race comms about course changes. This race would definitely be a 5-star race for me with another aid station.

Sisters Skyline 50k Race Report – Jason Bremer

Race: Sisters Skyline 50k

Runner: Jason Bremer

Race Date: 09/24/2022

Location: Sisters , OR

Results: 14th of 224, 11th male

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7861405136/overview

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

This is a well-run race, in an absolutely beautiful setting, almost entirely on great single-track trails.

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

I’m not a big fan of courses that require a shuttle to the start, but not a big deal.

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

I wish there was something weird about this race. –Can’t think of anything.

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

The first two-thirds of the race is up high near The Sisters and Broken Top. They’re great trails and I felt like I was in the flow for big parts of this. Interesting that almost all of the vertical gain is in the first 10 miles. Makes for an interesting course profile which I thought was fun.

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

The 10-mile climb to start is pretty mellow, but make sure you don’t go out too fast. The trails aren’t too technical–makes for a potentially fast course when you consider the profile as well.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Is it possible I need to hold back more for the end of the race?! Yes.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course profile is interesting in that almost all the gains happen in the first ten miles, followed by 22 miles of descending/flat. That sounds like a lot of descending but it’s pretty mellow so not something to watch out for. In fact, the last 12 miles are quite flat.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The first two-thirds of the course is incredible. But the race needs to end in Sisters and for that reason the low-lands finish to the course isn’t nearly as beautiful as the first 20 miles. Definitely, in total, it’s a beautiful location worth doing for that reason.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s relatively easy as far as 50k races go.

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

Race organizers had their act together! No complaints.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There were some strong runner, but I wouldn’t say it was intensely competitive.

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.

There’s a ton of accommodations in Bend, which is 30 minutes away. There’s some but less up in Sisters. Given the early start, and the need to make the shuttle on time, it would definitely be preferable to stay the night in Sisters the night of the race.

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

Standard fare.

Weather and typical race conditions

September in Sisters is about as good as it gets, though it got pretty hot by mid-day.

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

Consider how you’re carrying your liquids, given 10 miles between the first couple aid stations.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The course is almost impossible for spectators. Probably best to plan on seeing your crew at the finish only.

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

Great race and I recommend it, 8/10.

Looking to get into ultras? Check out our 7 steps to get started.

Oregon Cascades 100 Race Report – Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott

Race: Oregon Cascades 100

Runner: Coach Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott

Race Date: 08/27/2022

Location: Bend, OR

Results: 30:24:42

Photo Credit: James Holk & Alpine Running

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

  • This race was mostly on single track! Plus, the sections of blacktop and dirt road were strategically thought out. The first two miles of the race are on blacktop which allows the racers to spread out and find their ideal place in the pack. This is followed by several miles of dirt road which allows the field to further disperse. By the time we reached single track there is enough space to avoid crowding and constant passing.
  • Camaraderie! It was a truly diverse field of experience levels and we all supported each other out on the course. I enjoying chatting with the other racers and offering cheer to those having a rough moment. Admittedly, I was too exhausted to come up with new jokes or words of encouragement during the second half so I kept recycling the same phrases!
  • Running the course (mostly) without support! I completed this race in 2021 with crew and pacers. This year I decided to attempt the distance without a dedicated team. Admittedly, this was partly due to both of my pacers deciding to run the race this year! However, I did purposefully choose to not seek alternate assistance as I wanted to challenge myself to run a 100 miler without crew/pacers. Full disclaimer, my friend/former pacer’s crew did fill my water bottles and retrieve my drop bags at aid stations. This was circumstantial though and I never counted on them to be at the aid stations upon my arrival. Being dominantly self-reliant during the 2022 edition of the Oregon Cascade 100 was a great learning opportunity and created a very different race experience than last year

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

  • If I’m being petty maybe a few more sweeping vistas? At the same time, I enjoyed the protection of the trees when the sun was beaming high overhead.
  • I also felt a great deal of loneliness during the race. I ran about 70% of the course alone including the entire portion after dark which was especially taxing

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

I can’t think of anything weird. It was coincidental that so many Team RunRun folks were on the course this year though!

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

I was very happy with my self-motivation and mental acuity during this race. From miles 1-20 I felt absolutely excellent. After mile 20 I lived in the pain cave. My hamstrings and hip abductors ached and eventually my quads and right calf joined the party. Soon I also had a problem sucking down my gels and tailwind because my body decided that it didn’t like sweet things anymore. I did have ritz crackers for a salty option, but my stomach really craved savory which I did not have. Luckily, I could manage to get down my undesirable nutrition without throwing it up. I just felt a bit nauseous for about three minutes after consumption. I also began to feel some hints of self-doubt as the miles wore on. My race the previous year had gone near perfect. How come I was having so many problems on my second run when I was more experienced as a runner and on the course? Then, to top all of that off I found myself mostly running alone with only my thoughts for company after the 50k mark. However, despite so many things going wrong I always believed that it was temporary and I would come out of it. I thought that if I just kept moving forward things would eventually turn around and get better. They did! Around mile 80, when the sun began to rise on the second day of the race, I came out of my sixty-mile low point and felt mentally and physically strong all the way to the finish line.

Additionally, prior to the race I was most concerned about the night. I don’t historically have issues with sleep deprivation so long as I take caffeine. However, I was definitely in a bad mood throughout the night last year (just ask my pacer!). Therefore, I was concerned about maintaining positivity without a pacer to help guide my thoughts. Being alone in a bubble of light for hours on end makes it is easy to fall into a spiral of catastrophic thoughts. I did spend a great deal of time convincing myself prior to the race that the night portion would be a fun and exciting challenge. I also downloaded several episodes of KoopCast. My plan was to not only listen to the episodes after mid-night, but also stay engaged and absorb the information. It seems ridiculous, but these strategies worked! By the time the sun went down I was excited to navigate solo through the darkness and I vividly recall the episodes of KoopCast! I admittedly was still in a low point throughout the night, but I had control over it. I remained alert and engaged and I was able to successfully divert any negative thoughts that crossed my mind. For me it was the most exhilarating part of the race despite the loneliness.

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

The trail is dusty so gaiters and shoes with a tighter weave are welcome. On the elevation topo it appears as though most of the climbing is completed during the first 60 miles, but beware the rolling and sometimes steep ups and downs that follow later in the race. You’ll feel those short hill climbs!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Last year my crew had a cooler of savory options like cold pizza and pasta. I think it was the lack of these options that caused my “sweets” flavor fatigue during this race. Crackers and mini muffins did not fill the void as I had hoped. In the future, when I do 100 milers without crew I will do some nutrition practice with traditional aid station savory options like “cup of noodles” to see if that will be a good option for me.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

  • Many folks classify this race as technical. I found myself longing for more rocks and roots to make things more interesting. The lesson here is that the terrain difficulty is subjective. I think a skyrunner or runner with a mountaineering background would find the terrain tame. Others may not.
  • Wear gaiters for the dust and choose shoes that have a tight weave fabric to prevent sand from leaking through.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

This was a mostly treed course, but that was great due to the copious sunshine. The most scenic section of the course is high ridgeline around mile 80 which is outstanding at sunrise!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

With only 12k of climbing and well-groomed trails, I think is a very runnable course. I believe it is an “easy” 100 miler and good introduction to the distance! However, it is still a 100 miler and those are tough regardless!

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

I ran this race during its inaugural year and if felt like a 20-year-old race. Well-oiled machine then and still was this year!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There were definitely fast times posted, but I don’t think this race has attracted many elites (at least not yet!). Many folks running this race were running their first 100.

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.

As of right now this is a pretty easy race to get into. There are no qualifiers to enter and slots were open when registration closed. This is surprising to me since the race is located in Bend which is known for outdoor adventures and the course is excellent. Additionally, Oregon Cascades 100 is now a Western States qualifier.

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

The aid stations seemed standard to me, though I did not partake in anything except water. Volunteers were always available help with anything and everything!

Weather and typical race conditions

This course could potentially top out with temperatures in the high 90s in late August. The location of Bend and Sisters can also receive high levels of wildfire smoke. We got crazy lucky in 2022! The highs for the race were in the low 80s and there was no smoke whatsoever. Such conditions are not the norm in this region.

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

  • Though it may be warm/hot during the day be prepared for plummeting temperatures after dark! I spent half the night running with my puffy on!
  • Be prepared for dust and wear gaiters as I said above. Also, breathing is dry, dusty air all day can make you lose your voice. Sucking candies are an excellent remedy.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Absolutely! Last year my crew was easily able to access all the aid stations without difficulty. They all commented on how easy it was to support me logically during the race. Additionally, the race ends on a High School Track was is very spectator friendly and reminiscent of Western States!

How’s the Swag?

Standard swag consisting of a shirt, stickers and a shiny belt buckle!

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

I registered for this race twice so yes, I recommend it! Though it’s not a very technical course it is still fun and fast! This is likely a great race to set a 100-mile PR. 10/10

Dandelion is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, check out her coach profile.

Photo: James Holk & Alpine Running

Mt. Hood 25k Race Report – Smantha Giordano

Photo: David Burgess

Race: Mt. Hood 25K

Runner: Samantha Giordano

Race Date: 07/10/2022

Location: Timothy Lake / Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

Results: 3:01:11

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7448530298/overview

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

  1. The Course: it was so beautiful and just the perfect blend of technical and fast. Really beginner-friendly route that ends with a gorgeous loop around a stunning lake!
  2. The volunteers, staff & organizers – it’s very well organized, very well marked, and super high energy. Aid stations (2) are well run, with lots of fuel options at Aid Station # 2. The post-race party is so much fun.
  3. No medals! I loved the commemorative beverage glass instead of the medal! They are handing to you as you cross the finish line filled with cool water (though in my drowsy state, this was quite risky to be handing me a glass, hah!)

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

  1. No cell service – if it’s your first time in the woods racing, if you’re at all concerned about being connected, make sure you download your map and music, and share tracking links or anything else that needs to be shared AHEAD of the race. There is no service at the start or anywhere throughout the course.
  2. Lodging – closest lodging is about 45 mins away in Welches, where I stayed. If you want to be closer, you’ll have to camp. Otherwise, get your morning timing right (fueling, bathroom, etc).
  3. Car parking / bag check – I had a crew so they held my stuff, but if you’re alone, I didn’t really see an option to check a bag or leave personal belonging. Perhaps this is just a city thing, or most people probably leave things in their cars. But car parking is along the road leading up to the start at the Ranger station, so depending on how far you’ve parked, it might be a decent back / forth to go and leave things in the car before the race. Plan ahead.

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

It’s Oregon – weird comes with the territory 🙂

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

I was in a really good groove for the first 5 miles of the race which was where all the incline / vert was. I was really happy with how I managed my start, breathing through the uphills, leaning into the downhills and staying focused to get through the first half before pushing the gas on the back half. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to me, I was racing with COVID, which would show itself at mile 8, the part of the course that flattens out and is mostly a lake-side loop and the part of the course where I had strategically planned to really kick and go for my time goal (originally 2:30-2:40ish). Calf cramps, heavy fatigue, and a massive headache had me thinking I was dehydrated, but it turns out (via a positive test the next day) that I was actually battling the onset of COVID. When I knew the hard running was out of the picture, I reset my expectations of what the race experience meant to me. So when I needed to pause on running and take a walk break, I allowed myself to do that with grace, and I took in the beauty of Mt. Hood, which I possibly would have missed had I been running. Something I’ve discovered about myself since training with Coach Matt for trails is how much I love being in nature, whether I am running or simply walking, and how to give myself grace. I hadn’t expected to be particularly zeroed in on either of those things on race day, but I’m glad I had them in my back pocket!

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

  • Pay attention to course markings! The organizers do a good job of calling this out, but because there is both a Mt Hood 25K and 50K happening at the same time, there are a couple places where the course intersects. Make sure you’re staying on the right course.
    Make sure you know which course markings the organizers are using! Pink ribbons were hanging from branches, but those weren’t for our race!
  • Download the GPX map and upload it to Strava if you’re racing with your phone and want extra security.
  • Bug spray – bring it and use it. You’re in the woods!
  • Total newb / rookie error but I forgot to bring a change of shoes. If you plan on jumping in the lake (and you should!), don’t forget a change of shoes (/clothes).
  • The town of Welches has a good variety of lodging, dining and grocery store options. The Mt Hood Oregon Resort is owned by Best Western and is the most central to that town. There is another Best Western, called the Best Western Mt. Hood Inn, that is about 15 minutes closer to the start than the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, but it’s kind of on its own and it’s still going to be 30+minute drive to the start – I’d recommend staying at the Mt Hood Oregon Resort and reap the benefit of being in a town if access to coffee, dining, and other things are important.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • The biggest red flag for me was that I wasn’t hungry for fuel, and when I forced myself to take in my 1st gel, I could hardly get it down it made me sick. This was unusual because I had practiced – and nailed – fueling the entire training cycle. I should have taken in almost 6-7 gels during that race. That day I only took in 2 because I was so nauseated by them. That convinced me that I needed to reevaluate my race strategy.
  • Trust your body – when you sense that something is off, it probably is.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

First 6 miles has all the incline and is as technical as it’s going to get. Conserve, and then cruise for the remainder of the race!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

There are a few pockets where you get the scenic Mt. Hood view across the lake and that’s really gorgeous, but you have to stop to veer off to the shoreline to see it. The Mt. Hood 50K course runs the Pacific Crest Trail and has ALL the views. The 25K does not run the PCT, so you’re inside the forest and then running a lake / bike trail. It’s beautiful in that nature is beautiful, but it’s not a jaw dropping stunner of a course as some might expect when they think of the Pacific Crest Trail. A couple people I spoke to didn’t realize that the 25K was mostly along the bike trail – I think they had the PCT in their minds as the kind of scenery they’d be exposed to.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No. It’s really manageable for a beginner. I saw a lot of people with road shoes on and they were just fine on the technical parts. Of course that comes with its own set of risks, and a trail shoe is definitely better suited, but for the most part, it’s a really accessible course.

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

It was really well run. You can tell the organizers not only have a lot of knowledge, but also a lot of passion for the community, its safety, and its racing experience.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I think the 50K and 50M have stronger fields. The 25K felt really hyper local and not super competitive.

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 50M is a lottery. The 50K and 25K had a waitlist a few months before the race, so definitely act on it if you’re considering racing! And you can’t change distances once they are sold out. (A friend was supposed to race the 50K, got covid a month out, asked if she could switch to the 25k, and she couldn’t).

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

I’ve never seen an aid station with so many snacks! There are 2 aid stations, Mile 6 which has fluids, and Mile 12 which has fluids, snacks, pickles, etc. Both were well-run and well-staffed.

Weather and typical race conditions

Really beautiful conditions and perfect weather. It was probably just about 50 degrees on race morning, and maybe inching into the 60s as we got started. Sunshine was dappled thanks to shaded routes. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

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

There are no bottles or cups at the aid stations – you must have your own vessel, so definitely recommend a hydration vest or bottle depending on needs.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It’s a very spectator-friendly start but there aren’t many other opportunities for spectating aside from the 2nd aid station and the start/finish.

How’s the Swag?

I was really happy to get a water glass instead of a metal. They have swag for sale as well. It’s bare bones, but the swag isn’t a motivator for me!

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

5 stars out of 5, totally recommend it for others!! I plan to go back next year and get my fair shot at the race I trained for!

Thinking about running your first ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started.

Siskiyou 100k Race Report – Nick Keenan

Race: Siskiyou 100k

Runner: Nick Keenan

Race Date: 07/09/2022

Location: Ashland OR

Results: https://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=89172

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7443595696/overview

Photo: Chelsea Cluff

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

  • Challenging course, with a little of everything, including a really difficult final seven miles — 2800 ft climb and then a 800 ft descent to the finish
  • Well spaced, well stocked, and well executed aid stations (drop bag aid station you go through twice – mile 31 and 50, make for easier planning/packing)
  • Really scenic first half, some really nice views in parts of the second half

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

  • A bit much of forest roads on the route.
  • A long climb on a downhill mountain bike trail — built for bikes, not for ascending runners

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

Four races going on that day, starting line is at the Mt Ashland ski lodge.

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

First part of the course along the PCT was really spectacular. Finisher’s mug and hat were pretty cool.

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

  • Camping the night before can be loud, plan accordingly.
  • The race is at 6k-7k feet for many miles, be aware if you’re coming from sea level and might not be use to the altitude.
  • The pre race and post race food was a little meager in quantity.
  • The race shirt was a bit lame in design.
  • Don’t bother going the day before to get your t-shirt from the local running shop, unless you want to see downtown Ashland. The shop is nice, but not many items stocked, and nothing special for the race.
  • Eat breakfast Sunday at the Breadboard in Ashland – really tasty.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • Either camp further away from everyone else or stay in a motel/hotel/b&b. The number of 50k’ers there with a 7 AM start (vs 5 AM 100k start) were a bit loud.
  • Likely do some altitude exposure beforehand next time, or just plan on taking it slower in the higher up parts of the course.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The temperature can really vary along the course – the lower section which runners go through around mile 36-44 can be quite a little warmer than the rest of the course. The top of Mt Ashland can be windy and colder, especially at dusk – I’m glad I had a light windbreaker I picked up in my drop-bag at mile 50.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Very scenic, PCT and great views of low peaks and Mt Shasta in the distance.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Over 10k feet gained and the same lost over the course. Footing is mostly not technical, but some really long and steady descents can wear you down. Climbing up Time Warp is as difficult as everyone says. I didn’t need much water starting up around 6 PM (took me 2:17), but for some, it can take 3 hours to get from the aid station to the finish – plan accordingly.

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

Extremely well organized. A little late with bib picks at 4 AM (weren’t available until 4:15 AM), but the race started exactly at 5 AM. The course was well marked and easy to follow.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Good variety in the field, many repeat runners.

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.

Paved road to the ski lodge, easy to get to. 15k, 50k and 50M the same day as well for spouses or friends. 100k doesn’t seem to fill up.

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

Standard stuff, including ice to use for cooling.

Weather and typical race conditions

July in Southern Oregon – 2022 was coolish at 85.

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

Wished I had trekking poles for the last climb. Glad I had ~40 oz of water/fluids for some of the sections.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

No.

How’s the Swag?

  • Sweet finisher’s mug.
  • T-shirt wasn’t special.

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

7/10. You can probably find a 100k with less forest roads and better weather.

Looking to run your first ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started.

Wy’East Wonder 50k Race Report – Josh Bergseng

Race: Wy’East Wonder 50k

Runner: Josh Bergseng

Race Date: 06/12/2022

Location: Parkdale, Oregon

Results: 8:39

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7299687069

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

  1. Race Organization – Go Beyond Racing does an outstanding job organizing races.
  2. Course – Great Single track trails with constant views of Mt. Hood and the Hood River valley. Clouds and fog disrupted the views on my race day but the views are typically amazing.
  3. Volunteers – The local volunteers in the greater Portland area put always show up to support local races. Make it fun at every aid station.

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

Due to high snow levels this year our course was changed. The course was supposed to be a net downhill, 4k of gain and 6k of downhill. Our course was changed to 5.8k of gain and descent including a steep 2200ft climb to start the race which was also the muddy descent to the finish. Made for a very tough start and finish to the race. But the views of the valley during this section were amazing along with the wild flowers.

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

Nothing really weird about this one. Interesting fact is that the term Wy’East is what the Native Americans referred to Mt. Hood as.

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

Race nutrition went really well and was mentally strong throughout. Race day was windy and rainy on the upper ridge sections of the course so was happy to stay strong during these sections.

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

This course is usually a point to point run and net downhill. Beautiful single track trails. Be prepared for snow as usually there is some snow in the higher section. Weather can be all over the place. I got a cold, wet, windy day but next year it could be 80 deg and sunny.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I chose to stay in Hood River the night before the race. It was 20 minutes from the start. I would stay there again.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Since my course was different than the usual course, I will just say that the last downhill could be muddy, be prepared with shoes that have some sort of traction. Road shoes not recommended.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, Mt. Hood National Forest never disappoints.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Tougher than anticipated. I didn’t get to do the net downhill course, but even that has some slower sections than would be anticipated from the course profile.

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

Go Beyond Racing is a professional organization, this is not a hobby for them. They care about all the runners and take time to get to know each runner. It feels like a family now that I have done many of their races.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

They get a pretty good field of Portland and Bend speedsters.

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.

Easy race to get into. Everyone can pretty much get in. I signed up 6-7 weeks in advance of race and made it a training run for another race.

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

They carried my gels of choice and many real food options. Tons of volunteers to assist the runners get in and out quickly.

Weather and typical race conditions

It can be sunny, or cold and wet, be prepared for any conditions.

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

I would have a light jacket for the higher sections of the course. Maybe gloves if it is windy.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really, difficult navigating. One aid station is easy to get to and finish line is extremely family friendly. While you run there is plenty of cool things to see for your crew in the area.

How’s the Swag?

They give out finisher glasses for each of their races. They make buying shirt optional which is nice, no one needs more race T-shirts.

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

9 out of 10.

Thinking about running your first ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started.

Wy’East Wonder 50 Mile Race Report – Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott

Race: Wy’East Wonder 50 Miler

Runner: Coach Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott

Race Date: 06/12/2022

Location: Parkdale, OR

Results: Overall: 67, GP: 27

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

  • I oddly enjoyed that there were no vistas during this year’s edition of Wy’East. It allowed me to fully focus on running instead of gawking at views which I am very prone to doing!
  • The community of racers! I met some amazing people out on the course and experienced more camaraderie than I ever have before. A racer and I spent 26 miles together and alternated who was on pacing duty. It became a team sport. She was also kind enough to help me change shirts when my hands lost dexterity due to cold and swelling.
  • I really liked the mantra I developed during my low point at mile 20. It had a different feel than any of the others I’ve used in the past and was inspired by Scott Jurek. I kept chanting “I like to hurt. I like to hurt. I like to hurt” in my head hoping I would start to believe it. I think I convinced myself!

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

The final 2-3 miles of the race was a heinously steep descent and had an incredible amount of slick mud. I’m not sure how I managed to stay upright!

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

It was weird that there was an insane amount of snow on the traditional course! For this reason, the race was re-routed 7 days before we toed the line. Instead of a point to point with a small loop the course became a double loop lollipop with an short out and back. The new route added 2000+ feet of vert to the course with no change in cut-offs increasing the difficulty.

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

I am normally a conservative racer and prefer to take minimal risks out on the course. However, after examining the course changes with particular attention to the additional 2000+ft of vert I decided I had two choices. The first option was to play it safe and run like I normally do which would likely result in flirting with cut-offs. Stressful. The other option was to race out of my comfort-zone and take risks in order to not be against cut-offs while still running smart. Also, stressful! After contemplation I decided to use the re-route as an opportunity to challenge myself to run harder and take more risks than I ever have in a race. Approaching the course with this mindset was the highlight for me.

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

Wearing split shorts on a wind blasted, frigid ridge was not the optimal choice! Otherwise, there is not a lot of flat terrain on the course. You are either going up or down. This includes steep grades, rolling terrain and some long gentle inclines.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I learned how to adapt mentally to course re-routes. When I examined the course changes and discovered that I would almost be running a completely different and much harder race than I’d signed up for I was petrified. I felt under-prepared and under-trained for the event and fixated on that for about 24 hours. However, dwelling on this fact wasn’t helping me, so I decided to focus on the training I did have, my cumulative mountain experience and looking at this race as an opportunity to dig deeper than I ever have. I left the notion of the previous course behind completely and focused on strategizing for the new challenge.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

That descent to the finish is STEEP and it is also on the traditional course. I suggest leaving poles in the final drop bag.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I did get a short glimpse of Mount Hood and I suspect that under clear skies the mountain views are incredible from the ridge. The forest running is lovely this time of year with the vibrant green understory and the open meadow at the beginning/end of the course was freckled with colorful wildflowers.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

The terrain is not technical, except for the mud! However, I would say that this year the course was difficult. The additional vert with no change in cut-offs combined with the adverse weather conditions made this race gnarly in all the best ways.

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

Wy’East Wonder was extremely well organized. This is impressive considering the major re-route that occurred just a week before the start. It is also worth noting that the race directors took the time and effort to re-route the course instead of cancelling it. This was incredibly generous and kind of them!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes! Elite runners competed in this race which was awesome to briefly witness during the out and back.

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.

I signed up right when the registration opened. It didn’t fill overnight, but it didn’t take long to fill (maybe 2 months?). It’s a popular race so the earlier you sign up the better. Campgrounds fill quickly on summer weekends so booking those well in advance in also recommended.

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

The aid station fare seemed standard to me, though I did not partake in anything except water. Volunteers were always available to help with anything and everything. One volunteer was kind enough to pick up the sock I dropped because there was a real danger of me never straightening back out again if I bent over at mile 40!

Weather and typical race conditions

This race is known for being a pleasant late spring race with stunning views of Mt. Hood. This weekend’s race felt was more reminiscent of stormy November. The forecast featured freezing rain, thick mist, blustery wind and cold temperatures. Very different!

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

Poles would have been awesome during the final steep descent to take some pressure off the legs and keep balance in the slippery mud.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It is somewhat spectator friendly. A shuttle needs to be taken to the start/finish. This is true even without the re-route. Spectators/crew can also meet racers at the Aqueduct Aid Station. This year racers passed through three times. On the traditional course runners come through two times.

How’s the Swag?

The swag is a traditional tech t-shirt and they also provided an assortment of stickers. There is no metal for this race. Finishers are given a glass of water with the race name etched in at the finish.

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

I’d give this race a 10/10! Keep in mind I am judging this by the re-route and not the traditional course.

Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with Coach Dandelion, check out her coaching page.

Smith Rock Ascent 50k Race Report – Ron Kelly

Race: Smith Rock Ascent 50K

Runner: Ron Kelly

Race Date: 05/14/2022

Location: Bend, Oregon

Results: 33rd overall, 26th Male, 2nd 50-59 Division

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7143397407

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

  1. The race course and scenery was stunning – Great views of the valley and snow capped mountains (Smith Rock State Park outside of Bend, OR)
  2. Race organization was top notch, volunteers amazing and post party atmosphere a super fun vibe
  3. Trails were in great shape and runnable

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

Only downside of the course is spectators/crew can really only see you and the start/finish. The straight downhill start and uphill finish is a monster after 30 miles (I don’t think Walmsley could run up this to the finish!)

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

Not weird, but you have about 170 feet to descend/ascend from the start/finish before you hit the main trails in maybe a third of a mile. They had a staggered start (runner every 5 seconds) and you must walk solo (safety precaution) across a foot bridge before you reach the main trail.

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

This is only my 3rd race longer than a marathon (one 50K and one 50 miler prior) so still have so much to learn. I felt pretty good heading into race day and was curious to see how it would go. Translating marathon pace/effort to trails continues to be my biggest area of opportunity. I’ve consciously practiced hydration and nutrition and don’t think I could have done much more. I consciously tried to hold back in the early miles and walked many of the uphills in an effort to conserve energy. I ran a good solid pace up until about mile 22 and then just didn’t have any legs. I felt fine and don’t think it was hydration/nutrition related, and though the sun came out and it was warm, it didn’t feel too hot. I just couldn’t get myself to run with much (if any) pace. Wasn’t a total walk but was very very slow! The last 6 miles or so are very runnable with a long descent and mainly flat sections and I lost a whopping 16 places from the last aid station (26.5 mile mark) to the finish. While humbling to be passed by so many people near the end, I did set a 50K PR and was certainly pleased with the day and the overall experience of the race.

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

  • It can get lonely in the middle miles on this course to try and find people to run with nearby if possible.
  • Try and save something for the end. Last aid station is at 26.5 miles and basically flat/downhill from there to the finish.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • Pacing, pacing, pacing. Figure out how to push myself on tired legs while not overdoing training. A hard balance.
  • Appreciate Keith’s help/training and look forward to growing as a trail runner.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The first few miles are super smooth with some gradual uphills so be careful not to go to hard. The last 5 miles starts with a big descent and then basically flat until the uphill finish at the very end. The climbs were tough, but most of the elevation was spread out over say 3 sections with no massive long climbs like you might find in a true mountain race. Given the course is challenging for spectators, you could find yourself all alone in sections. Was nice to find people to run with during the middle part of the course where you are out of Smith Rock State Park and very few people around.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The course is stunning and hard to describe the beautiful landscape. Smith Rock State Park is known as the birthplace of American sport climbing.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

The course is pretty runnable, not overly technical and while ~4,700 of elevation doesn’t sound too daunting, it is a challenging course and given not much tree cover, you are exposed to the sun. Some sections of the trail were a bit sandy but a good mix of terrain from flats to uphills to downhills.

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

My first event with Go Beyond Racing. They certainly know what they are doing. Well organized. Great volunteers, fun atmosphere.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Seemed like it. Bend is a popular place for elite level type runners. Ian Sharman was the overall winner and he’s well known in the Trail running circles.

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 race is popular but I do believe runners were able to sign up in the weeks leading up to race day. The 50K is run on Saturday and on Sunday they had a 15 mile and a 4 mile option. Free kids races were conducted each day as well. Smith Rock State Park is in Terrebonne, Oregon which is about 35 minutes north of Bend. Bend is a popular town but has several hotel and Airbnb type options as well as nearby camping. Great destination race. The park is extremely popular and busy, parking is offsite with a shuttle the last mile or if you have a spectator, you are able to park near the race start for a daily use fee of $5.

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

Volunteers were great. Everything you would want/expect from aid stations to support your hydration and nutritional needs.

Weather and typical race conditions

Turned out to be a nice day post some rain/sprinkles at the start and I even got quite sunburned. In May, in this part of Oregon, be prepared for all types of weather. Rain, sun, cold, heat …all conditions could come into play during the race. Weather changes quickly in Mountain towns this time of year. Most of the course is exposed so not much tree cover/shade at all. If its sunny, you will feel it (I certainly did). The trails were in good condition and not overly technical but did have a few sandy spots to manage through.

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

Nothing special other than to be prepared for various weather conditions throughout the day.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The race course is not friendly for spectators unless they want to run quite a few miles. You do see other park users. The first 5-6 miles and last 4-5 miles are conducted within the State Park.

How’s the Swag?

The logo beer mug at the end was great swag. And nothing like a second beer mug that says 2nd Place 50-59 year old division to make you smile!

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

5 star race. I would highly recommend this race. Bend is a super fun town to spend a few days, Smith Rock State Park and the race course is runnable, with stunning scenery, great organization and volunteers, and a fun after race party vibe. Great destination race.

Thinking about running your first ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started.

Eugene Marathon Race Report – Leah Missik

Race: Eugene Marathon

Runner: Leah Missik

Race Date: 05/01/2022

Location: Eugene, OR

Results: 3:44:19

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7072220608

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

  • The finish at Hayward Field was pretty cool!
  • Overall organization was solid. I felt taken care of and most details seemed to have been well thought out.
  • The course. I never felt too crowded apart from the very start, it was scenic, and there were also a good amount of people cheering along the way.

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

If I HAD to pick something, I would say that I wasn’t blown away by the expo and was a little confused by the additional vendors in the marketplace across the street. It was not clear who was a part of the expo and who was not. But, this didn’t really bother me.

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

Finishing on Hayward Field was really cool. I was drained at that point but hitting the track was a real boost. I also really enjoyed the overall vibe. The whole race was very professionally organized and supportive feeling.

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

Bring a layer for after the race. The Finish Festival is quite nice, so it would be a bummer to leave sooner just due to getting cold. If you’re planning to do gear check, bring a sharpie. They give you a clear bag at the expo, but you’ll need to write your number on it. Unfortunately, they did not have us do that at the expo and the line for bag drop was a tad long pre-race since people had to write on their numbers in the moment. However, picking up my bag after the race was extremely quick.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • Personally, I need to get better at turnover once my legs are heavy and (I suspect like plenty of others) not let enthusiasm take over too much during the beginning and middle of the race! But overall, I’m pleased with my performance because I hit my goal and learned some lessons thanks to another race under my belt.
  • I also affirmed how I can independently can get things done. My partner was planning to come with me to the race to cheer, but last minute he was unable due to a bummer circumstance out of our control. I went to Eugene for the race by myself and despite not having support I was expected, still managed to perform.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Eugene is a flat course overall but there are two noticeable climbs, with the second one being a big steeper (a bit after mile 8). Don’t find yourself surprised!
Also keep mind that you will pass by the starting area around mile 9 where you will see the fast half marathoners finishing. Depending on your mood, it can be fun to cheer for them coming in, or you could feel annoyed you’re not the one finishing! Be mentally prepared.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes. It starts out going through neighborhoods and much of it is along the river.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No. It’s a pretty fast course!

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

The race is very well-run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes. The average pace for this race seems to be higher than others I have run.

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.

It was not terribly difficult for me to find a reasonably-priced hotel within walking distance of the start (1.5 miles) a month and a half ahead of time.

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

They don’t offer gels until about mile 10 so if you’d like to take any earlier, bring your own. Personally, I’m picky about the flavors so I brought my own anyway. Otherwise, the stations are frequent (about every 2 miles) with water and Nuun.

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather was great this year–slightly cloudy, in the high 40s/low 50s. Apparently this is pretty typical.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

  • This is a spectator friendly course. If people plan, it’s possible to catch runners at multiple points on the course.
  • It’s also a good race for people tracking you from afar! People can get alerts at 6 points along the course and there is a livestream of the finish.

How’s the Swag?

  • Pretty good. T-shirt, water bottle, bag.
  • Also, they offer race photos for free download which is nice! There was a photographer at the end attempting to snap post-finish photos of the racers. Since I forgot to take a medal photo of myself, I am glad someone else did!

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

4.5 stars out of 5. I would definitely recommend it.

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Eugene Marathon Race Report – Chanelle Lansley

Race: Eugene Marathon

Runner: Chanelle Lansley

Race Date: 05/01/2022

Location: Eugene, OR

Results: 3:24:26

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

First, the finish at Hayward Field was incredible! Second, the race was very well organized and updates were communicated early and often. Third, the supporters and volunteers were energetic and welcoming (and they had live music at certain points!).

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

Nothing in particular stands out! There were many stretches of the race where there were no spectators (so it was quiet) but it was scenic along the water!

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

I enjoyed the other runners and their encouragement! I wanted to have a fun race and it was helped by friendly runners who were all supporting one another.

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

If you need nutrition (gu) prior to mile 10, bring your own as they didn’t start handing them out until the 10-mile mark.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

When in doubt, follow the pacer!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The last 5-6 miles can feel lonely since it’s along the river in a park. For me, it was even harder mentally to get through these miles given the environment.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Parts of the course are very pretty!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

The elevation wasn’t too tough!

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

VERY well organized! I was super impressed.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, in my opinion.

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.

Hotels definitely went fast new the start/finish line, but there were plenty of options about 5 miles away.

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

Nuun and water at all drink stations. Gu didn’t start until after mile 10.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes!

How’s the Swag?

t-shirt and water bottle.

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

5/5 stars and would definitely recommend it!

Portland Shamrock Run 5k & 8k Race Report – Brian Comer

Race: Portland Shamrock Run 5K & 8K

Runner: Coach Brian Comer

Race Date: 03/13/2022

Location: Portland, Oregon

Results: http://results2.xacte.com/#/e/2421/leaderboard

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

  1. It is a big race with a lot of camaraderie and holiday spirit. With how many people there are (~15,000 in all 4 races combined), it’ll be a challenge to find yourself in that dreaded no man’s land.
  2. The swag is pretty cool, everything from what can be found in the merchandise tent to the finisher medals. Not to mention the nice long sleeve race shirt you get at the expo.
  3. The start/finish area along the waterfront is nice and packed with energy that’ll motivate you to a strong finish. The 5K and 8K courses are relatively flat out and backs while the

15K and half marathon offer some challenging hills. This race really has something for everyone.

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

Honestly not much to report here, could have asked for some better weather but there isn’t much control on that. There was quite a brutal headwind on the way back during the 8K but on the other hand, it was at our backs (much like in a popular Irish blessing) on the way out. In a way, the weather was very much a PNW (or Irish) squall and made the experience all the more authentic.

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

Nothing overly so but being a St. Patty’s race in Portland, your bound to find some people fully decked out in leprechaun costumes and other St. Patrick’s Day festive attire.

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

I decided to give myself an extra challenge by racing both the 5K at 8 AM then coming back to race the 8K 2 hours later. The legs definitely felt cooked by the end of the day likely to being in racing flats for so long and for the first time in awhile, but I wound up placing pretty well in both races (10th overall in the 5K in 16:23 and 13th overall in the 8K in 26:47). I think I came through the 5K split of the 8K around the same time I ran in the 5K a couple hours prior so that was fun and was still able to finish strong despite the challenges brought on by the fierce headwind. All in all, both races were solid efforts and I once again was able to run relatively evenly in both races as well.

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

It can be a bit of a body crunch in terms of the crowd so if your trying to meet up with people on race day at the start/finish, it helps to be specific. Also don’t be afraid to get on the starting line earlier than normal. In the 5K, I had to make my way through the crowd sort of last minute in order to get up to an appropriate start corral and even then still had a fair share of maneuvering to do in the opening strides in order to carve out some space for myself/get into race rhythm. Despite being a “local”, I spent the night before the race at a nearby hotel, which really helped in terms of logistics race morning. I’d start my warmup at the hotel heading in the direction of the start/finish area, do drills and strides along the waterfront, where there’s plenty of space to do so, and even do some stretching and drills undercover in an effort to get a slight break from the rain.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

As mentioned, getting on the start line with plenty of time to spare and the fact that there is no such thing as packing too many warmups. In my case of running multiple races, having dry clothes to put on between races is helpful and it made a trip to the merchandise tent necessary in order to accomplish this. All in all, be prepared for anything that may come your way, especially if you need to factor in multiple warmups and cooldowns or anything else that would make for an extended period of time in the elements. Also another big thing to keep in mind was that the race was held during Daylight Savings. It made for a somewhat brutal awakening as it felt earlier than it really was but in the event of Daylight Savings Time still being around, make sure to factor that into your race morning routine so you don’t miss the start of your race or get thrown off your game otherwise.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Since I raced the 5K and 8K, I’ll try to keep it specific to those races. The 5K going out is hillier than you’d think it is but on the other hand makes for a pretty decent downhill coming back that could make for a fast, strong finish. On the way out, you also get routed off Naito Parkway and make a couple turns downtown in order to get to the 5K distance so in a sense it isn’t a true out-and-back. The finish also comes up before you make it back to the start in the 5K while the 8K, you actually go past the start to the finish. In both races, the turnaround point shouldn’t be taken too sharply, especially when it was wet like it was this year. Running slightly wide but not breaking stride is a better option to taking the turn too tight in hopes of running tangents/shortest distance possible.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I’d say that it is a pretty course. This year, the weather somewhat socked in any views you’d get following the climbs you encounter in the longer races but each race has some variety to keep things interesting.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

In the longer races, yes it is a tough course with an added variable of train crossings. The shorter races are easier in regards to hills by comparison but even still I was somewhat surprised at some of the hills encountered, particularly in the early stages of the 5K on the way out to the turnaround.

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

Absolutely, this was the 44th edition of the race and with all the variables provided with the different races offered, it ran like a well-oiled machine. Despite the over 1,000 day hiatus since the Portland Shamrock Run was last held, it was as if they didn’t lose a beat after all that time. The community was of course much appreciative and excited for the race’s return as well.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Absolutely, each race has a strong field with blistering times up front. It’s also not everyday that you get to line up behind an American Record holder (Alan Webb) like I did in the 8K. Fortunately I was able to keep the fanboying to a minimum (though the photo ops were still plentiful) but as this is a big event in the Portland running community, there is no shortage of local or out-of-town talent to be found regardless of what distance you sign up for.

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.

Nothing overly specific, make sure to visit the Fitness Fair to pick up your race bib (held at the Oregon Convention Center Friday and Saturday prior to the race). I’ll also echo my earlier sentiment on staying at a hotel. It was nice simplifying race morning by doing this despite being a local. Didn’t have to worry about driving to the race start as we were close enough to go by foot (and utilize that for the purpose of warming up). With that said, the hotel I was at wasn’t as full as I expected it to be given the race was going on. Other hotels were likely more full with Shamrock participants but with where I stayed, we lucked out in terms of booking. Having the hotel was also really nice in my case given I ran two races. I was able to get a break from the elements, take off my flats, stretch, get a small bite to eat, and get in warm dry clothes while letting my race gear dry out a little courtesy of the bathroom heat lamp.

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

Pretty standard fare, for the 5K and 8K there really is only one station in each (which you hit twice since the course is out-and-back) but the longer races have more.

Weather and typical race conditions

Be prepared for anything, depending on the year, it can either feel like spring or feel like winter. This year felt more like the latter with the wind and rain.

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

Nothing too out of the ordinary, especially when just doing one race, but if you got inspired to do a Shamrock double like I did this year, then make sure to have plenty of gear if less than ideal weather conditions are expected.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

If the spectator is dedicated, then they can catch you at multiple spots along the out-and-back route or if they prefer to not be as mobile, there’s always great race viewing to be had at the waterfront park despite the large crowd.

How’s the Swag?

Great, there is no shortage of gear available at the fitness fair or merchandise tent from multiple shirts, sweatshirts and quarter zips to stickers, hats, and refrigerator magnets (which were a giveaway the first day of the Fitness Fair until they ran out of stock). The race shirt is also a long sleeve with nice material (which I got two for running two races). The finisher medals are also pretty cool with bottle openers and are appropriately festive for St. Patrick’s Day with a four leaf clover design.

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

5 stars for sure, I’d recommend it to others and I’ll definitely be coming back to this one, maybe I’ll see you there too? Like my previous race so far this year, the Shamrock Run is another hallmark on the running calendar here in Portland that brings out runners of all kinds.

Brian Comer is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Brian, check out his coaching page.

Rogue Gorge Half Marathon Race Report – Renee Gale

Race: Rogue Gorge Half Marathon

Runner: Renee Gale

Race Date: 10/17/2021

Location: Prospect, Oregon

Results: 81 of 103 overall, 49 of 66 gender

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6128527820

Photo: @stevenmortinson | @daybreakracing

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

  1. The river and all the foliage was so beautiful, striking fall colors, the sun hitting the river and the orange, red and yellow trees reflecting on the water, just stunning.
  2. This race was almost all single track and that really appeals to me; when I’m running on single track, I feel so much closer to nature and just think it’s more fun to run than something like wide logging roads.
  3. The morning was cold and I appreciated the warmth of the fire pit they kept feeding.

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

As much as I love single track, I found that in this race it created some issues. At the 7.5 mile mark, the course doubles back so faster runners were running at me and I had to constantly step off the path – the narrowness of the trail and the spongy vegetation on the sides of trail made it very awkward irritating to jump back and forth.

The other issue was at the beginning of the race, I ended up behind a long string of runners as we were funneled into the single track. There was really no way to pass them; I could tell there were faster runners behind me so I just thought I’d be patient and wait for an opening but it was several miles before things opened up, maybe 4 or 5 miles. And this was all downhill which I love running but couldn’t get to the pace I wanted – those of us behind ended up even walking some because of the traffic jam.

Lastly, the last couple of miles of the race, I had a hard time knowing which way to go and made several wrong turns which I quickly realized. In each case, I turned back to the intersection where I went wrong and looked around. It wasn’t that I wasn’t paying attention; I had to do some serious looking around to find the ribbon – it was not obvious which way to go.

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

I loved the downhill after I cleared the traffic jam. The course is basically 7.5 miles downhill and then 6 miles uphill. After about mile 4, I had space to go my own pace; my plan was to keep my HR at an easy/tempo type pace to save gas for the uphill. When I’m not pushing my pace, it’s so much easier for me to look around and enjoy nature and the beautiful scenery.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Since I have fallen before, I always remind myself safety is my top goal because if I get hurt, I can’t run. I know that when I get tired legs, I’m more liable to trip/fall but somehow in this race, I got into some weird auto-pilot running and did not realize how tired my legs were becoming and sure enough, I fell on a rock and today, the day after, I’m limping around with a sore knee. I need some cues to stay aware of where I’m at, to check in with how I’m feeling. This extends to my hydrating and nutrition too. Another thing I zoned out on was using my gels. Today I realized I only consumed two of them in almost three hours, which was not my plan. I had no idea I did this until I was cleaning out my hydration vest.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes – absolutely beautiful, the most attractive feature of the race.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It was tough for me but it’s not a tough course – the 6 mile uphill portion isn’t steep, the elevation gain shows up as 630 ft in my running apps (even thought the website says that there is 900 ft of gain). For me what was tough is that not only is it the second half the race but 6 miles of continuous ascent for this trail novice is still difficult.

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

It was mostly well run. It started on time and picking up my bib was easy. The only thing that disappointed me was that they ran out of soup and coffee. Those were two items I was looking forward to after my run. The only appealing item on the food table for me was a banana. They offered komboucha in place of coffee but that’s not my thing.

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.

There’s a campground right there at the race start where the runners can camp out the night before. Then there is a lodge called “Union Creek Resort” but it’s not a resort, it’s a rustic lodge. I feel that I could get some bad sleep by camping so I chose to room at the lodge. They offer cabins and rooms in the lodge. Not knowing any better, I just got one of the rooms. There are several rooms on the second floor above the registration desk and lodge store and the rooms do not have bathrooms – there are two shared bathrooms for the entire floor. When I was getting food at the cafe across the street, I got talking to another runner and she mentioned that last year, she stayed in one of the cabins (not the lodge rooms) and it was nice. She wanted to do that again this year but didn’t sign up on time so decided to camp in her car rather than in the lodge. When I registered for my room, I saw that there was this cafe across the street and I was hoping to eat there. Due to covid though, the restaurant is to-go only and that’s not what I expected and was disappointed.

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

For the half marathon, there was one aid station at the turn-around point. All they had was gels and liquids which I was already carrying. At the last race I did, I really appreciated that there were orange segments and banana slices available. I think I was hoping for something like that but they had nothing I wanted.

How’s the Swag?

I found the giveaway rather strange. We were given these glass jars with the race name “Rogue Gorge” printed on them. I’m thinking they go with the theme of the Kombucha. I suppose I could use it for brewing tea which I don’t do so I’m probably going to throw it away.

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

Because of the traffic congestion on the single track, the colliding with oncoming runners, and the issue of course markings, I would give this race a 3 out of 5. But the scenery is awesome – this would be a good place to just go on a solo trail run.

Photo: @stevenmortinson | @daybreakracing

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: https://www.strava.com/activities/6055309227

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?

Minimal.

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

Getting ready for a race? Check out our coach-approved race prep checklist!

Portland Half Marathon Race Report – Alex Nydahl

Get runner Alex Nydahl’s take on the Portland Half-Marathon in this race report!

Race: Portland Half Marathon

Runner: Alex Nydahl

Race Date: 10/03/2021

Location: Portland, OR

Results: 1:25:55

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6058650209

3 Bests – What aspects of the Portland Half-Marathon did you like the most?

  1. The conditions! October in Portland can range from squall to sunny and warm. We hit the jackpot with clear skies and a temperature of 47F/8C when the gun went off at sunrise.
  2. Aid stations were every other mile for the first half, and every mile for the second half, with Nuun, water, and bathrooms at all, and PowerBar gels/shots and fruit at about half. For the half, I only took on liquids, but having something available that frequently was great.
  3. The course itself was nice and flat, with a few gradual climbs and one slightly steeper (short) hill at 9 miles. You get a nice sense of the city’s southwest and southeast neighborhoods, and there were friendly neighbors outside cheering the entire way.

Not so much – What aspects of the Portland Half-Marathon didn’t do it for you?

I don’t envy the race photographers, but for a clear, sunny day, I was a bit disappointed by the race photos.

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

Despite nursing some significant Achilles issues for the week before the race, I lined up with my goal pace group (1:30 or 6:51/mi). After about a mile and a half into the race, I was feeling comfortable and smooth at about 6:30, and decided to listen to my legs and not hold back, which worked out great! On the final climb up and across the Burnside bridge, I could feel my form starting to slip, but was able to hold on and finish strong, moving up one spot in my age group in the last half mile.

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

Getting to the starting line via car can be challenging due to street closures and the downtown location. Parking or getting dropped off on the east side of river and walking across the Hawthorne bridge just adds a nice half mile walk or jog and lands you right at the starting line.

Aesthetics – Is the Portland Half-Marathon a pretty course?

Very much so!

Difficulty – Is the Portland Half-Marathon a tough course?

It’s not the absolute flattest or fastest, but there were plenty of PRs!

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

Very well-organized. Plenty of bathrooms at the start, drop bag system worked well, clear pre-race communications.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I mean, no one is breaking 60:00 on this course, but the top 10 ranged from 1:07 to 1:17, so pretty darn quick.

Logistics – Does the Portland Half-Marathon 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.

Easy to register, with a reasonable cancel/defer option.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, absolutely, though the start/finish area is a bit more challenging to get to due to traffic and street closures.

How’s the Swag?

The race shirts are a little chintzy. Would love to see races move to printing on high-quality blanks from respected brands, and away from the plastic-feeling “tech” shirts that seem to be the new norm.

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

5/5

Getting ready for a half-marathon? Check out our coach-approved race prep checklist!

team runrun at a race

Cascade Lakes Relay Race Report

Race: Cascade Lakes Relay

Runner: Brian Comer

Race Date: 7/30/2021

Location: Diamond Lake to Bend, Oregon

Results: https://eclecticedgeracing.overallraceresults.com/pages/event_summary/492/

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

The camaraderie is top notch and really second to none. Something about running through the night while sleep deprived really brings out the spirit amongst teammates and other runners alike. Seeing all the creative costumes, van decorations, and team names is always a sight to behold as well. The team component is unique and gives the feeling of running for something greater, a sensation lost among many once a runner’s competitive scholastic days are over. The times while your van is on break can be both functional and fun. After our first cycle, our van made a side trip to Crater Lake, hiking down and sticking our feet in, which was a lot of fun. The finish in Bend is basically one big party which is always fun and the entire team meets their anchor runner at the end to run across the finish line together, which is pretty cool too. Running in the middle of the night is always a blast and there is picturesque scenery to enjoy throughout the race. I’d say CLR has a leg up here on Hood to Coast both in terms of scenery and in being less commercialized (and in turn, less crowded).

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

This was a unique situation this year due to the Bootleg Fire but the first 14 legs were all relocated to running laps around Diamond Lake, which was a very good and understandable reason to adjust the route but made for a somewhat mundane start that didn’t quite have the same relay feeling as it would have otherwise. Similarly once finishing at Diamond Lake, teams would then have a pause and would have an assigned restart wave at Fort Rock to resume the race. It was nice to enjoy Diamond Lake more than normal and while this wasn’t a problem for our team, other teams didn’t always make it to Fort Rock in time for their restart wave. However major props to the race organizers for closely monitoring the wildfire situation and taking precautions to keep everyone safe while still holding the race in person. Organizing and putting on an overnight relay race is no small task and is quite the feat to pull off in itself never mind factoring in the curveballs that were thrown this year due to the wildfires.

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

Did I mention the fact that you are running through the night? Being an approximately 200 mile event (216.6 in normal years, 191.3 this year following course revisions), your team is typically running a full day if not longer in order to complete the race. Running in the middle of the night isn’t actually as bad as it sounds. It is actually pretty peaceful running in a rural forest area on a clear night. Some teams particularly embrace the weird as this year one van was converted into what resembled a double decker bus complete with lights and music blasting that resembled a dance party. One of the major van exchanges that usually occurs in the night also takes place with a backdrop of flashing lights with strobe lights across the night sky and of course music (this being the midnight rave at the end of leg 18 going into leg 19). Also expect to find other team’s stickers/magnets on your van, some truly outrageous costumes on the costume leg and your fair share of impromptu tunnels being formed to cheer on an incoming runner.

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

Overnight relays are really a delight and a highlight on the yearly running calendar. Even on minimal sleep, you can do some pretty amazing things. I enjoy the unique challenges that are imposed in these types of races. We only had 11 runners on our team instead of a full 12 so myself along with 2 others were given the task of running an extra 4th leg for our team. Even though my training has lacked specificity, I was pleased that I was able to stay at a fairly consistent pace throughout the event regardless of various distances and terrain I encountered on each of my legs (not to mention the altitude we were running at was consistently around 5000 feet give or take a few hundred feet each direction). I was able to stay the course and stay tough even when it got hard towards the end as I knew we were doing really well as a team and I wanted to come through for my team. I also like how while still being competitive, there is a great deal of support around you from your own team and others. The volunteers are also amazing and the race wouldn’t be possible without them.

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

Definitely make sure to have a stash of snacks (both healthy snacks along with other snacks to satisfy hankerings your bound to encounter) and fluids on hand. Hydration is important not just during the event but in the entire week leading up to it. Keeping running clothes in separate Ziploc bags also help keep you organized so you’re not scrambling before your next leg and help mitigate the smell in the van of everyone’s sweaty running clothes. Sleep is hard to come by so get it while you can and also make sure that you are stretching and rolling out regularly. It doesn’t take much for your body to seize up and Charlie-horses to ensue from all the sitting in the van you’ll be doing. Likewise for sleep, take advantage of comfy settings if you have access to them or don’t be afraid to leave the van at designated sleep areas and sprawl out a sleeping bag or blanket to get more comfy. Just make sure you have a way to communicate with teammates or utilize the buddy system so you know when to head back and catch your van when it is time to leave.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

On the first leg, my back started to hurt midway through. I’m certain that this was because when camping the night prior, I was just in a sleeping bag with no sleeping pad underneath. This will help me rethink what I pack and the way I pack. Our team also had the experience this year of locking the keys in the van so make sure to know where “key” belongings are at all times or have someone in the area to ensure things aren’t left unattended. This happened as I was set to run next. Amidst the chaos, I nearly missed the exchange. Fortunately my leg was the last one in the cycle so we had a few hours to work with but a teammate had to get a ride from another team in order to find cell service to call Triple A (this all happened in a rural forest area around 2 AM where cell service was hard to come by). Despite being a Van 1 runner, I was adopted by Van 2 for a few hours in case I was needed to fill in to start the next Van 1 cycle. Fortunately, Triple A arrived and we got the problem resolved before our van was due up to run again. We didn’t get as much sleep on that break as we would have otherwise but it makes for a standout memory and something we can laugh at in hindsight (just not so much in that moment when it was happening). All in all, a memorable way to roll into the infamous rave exchange.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

There are 36 legs and each van takes turns alternating in cycles of 6 legs (like Hood to Coast). Each leg has its own rating based on elevation profile, surface, and distance. Ratings range from easy to WTH (only one such leg this year as the other was scrapped due to the course revisions). There are only two legs in a typical year with the WTH rating. One runs up Mt. Thielsen then flies down the other side while the other climbs up to the west village at Mt. Bachelor. The last 6 legs coming down Bachelor have plenty of downhill coming down into Bend. Surfaces tend to be road, gravel/trail, or a mix. Not so much a problem this year since we had some rain but some of the trail legs can get dusty particularly in the heat.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Absolutely there is lots of scenery to be enjoyed throughout the event as it is a pretty course highlighting some of the finest nature central Oregon has to offer. There is a lot of picturesque mountains in the area while on the other hand there are plenty of lakes to enjoy as well (as suggested in the race name). The rural towns and the forested areas are also a delight to run through as well. Communities along the route really embrace the event and support it whole-heartedly.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Depending on your leg assignments it can be a difficult course but it really varies. Even on some of the legs that have a moderate rating, there can be some deceptive climbs that can surprise those who aren’t prepared for them. I also firmly believe some of the ratings of the legs are given because of where in the race they come up. Towards the end, everybody is tired and that can make every incline seem more steep than it really is.

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

Yes I’d definitely describe CLR as a well-oiled machine as the event is well-organized. This was the 14th year of the race so they have logistics down pretty well and were even able to adjust on the fly when it came to making modifications as a response to the wildfires. During the Diamond Lake section, they had organized shuttles to take runners back and forth between the main start area and the other exchange zone along the lake. Course markings are always clear with signs and flagging, depending on where you are on the course and often have helpful volunteers around as well to offer support.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Competition is usually pretty strong. An average year usually has around 200 teams. There were a little less this year but our team placed 4th overall (and 3rd in the always competitive Open Mixed division)! As a team, we averaged 7:22 pace (which would have met the cutoff of 7:30 pace for consideration in the Elite division). There was only one team in the Elite division and they were well out in front by a substantial margin until it dropped back to the group of three teams (us included) that were all relatively close to each other. Start waves are organized by projected finish time with faster teams starting later and slower teams starting earlier. The top 8 teams were all in the last start wave (which this year was 9:00 AM Friday morning).

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.

There is a cap to the number of teams so it is recommended to register as soon as registration opens (usually October or November of the year prior). The race website does a good job of listing key dates along the way to be mindful of, such as when registration deposit is due, registration balance is due, deadline for timesheets, registering and submitting shirt sizes etc. so it is always good to review that so you aren’t surprised by anything. Most teams (ours included) usually camp at Diamond Lake the night before so reserving a campsite or two with plenty of advance notice is also helpful. Don’t rely on the resort where the start line is as that fills up quicker and has more limited space than the campground.

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

There are no designated aid stations with the exception of certain legs that particularly call for them. Carry water with you if you think you’ll need it or if the leg can be accessed by van, have your team supply you with water, energy chews, or whatever else you might want or need. Our team often asks our runner this question at least once, sometimes more if the leg is particularly demanding. More often than not we stop along the way in order to supply our runner with water or anything else they need.

Weather and typical race conditions

Usually it is pretty sunny and warm. We did encounter some rain this year, which was a welcome sight considering the wildfires in the area. There was even some fair share of overcast particularly in the morning which actually made for some pleasant running conditions. It would usually burn off in the afternoon but the cloud cover also kept in the heat we received in the day, which made for overnight temperatures that weren’t too cold as we were out running in the night.

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

Everyone needs to have a headlamp/flashlight and reflective vest with them in order to participate. They ask for 12 vests and a minimum 2 headlamps or flashlights at team check-in on Thursday night. You may have designated vests with the flashing red lights that people swap around to run in but your personal reflective vest will come in use whenever you’re not running but you step out of the van. Not to mention you’ll run with your personal headlamp or flashlight. Like how it is recommended to have different running clothes for each leg, you may want to bring multiple pairs of running shoes (like a pair of flats or a trail shoe in addition to standard trainers), if not, then a minimum of one pair of running shoes and a pair of sandals for when you aren’t running (which is a good idea regardless of how many pairs of running shoes you bring).

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Actually if you do your homework, this can be considered a spectator friendly race if the spectator is truly dedicated. While the race isn’t typically thought of as spectator friendly, the mother of one of our team members followed along with us this year in her own car and cheered us on. She car camped Thursday at the same place we were camping, then followed along the route meeting us at various exchange zones, then again at the finish. So I learned first hand this year that spectating for an overnight relay can be done with the right preparation.

How’s the Swag?

The swag is great, teams get shirts for every member after finishing along with a results ticket and finisher medal (we got CLR medals this year for 2020 and 2021 as our team was registered for the 2020 race as well). There’s also vendor samples (such as a CBD muscle massage oil this year) along with food and beer (finishers receive one beer token, after which you pay for yourself). Also Thursday night before the race, they have bins full of past year’s shirts that they give away for free. They also sell sweatshirts before and after the event as well.

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

Five stars – I can’t recommend this race enough. While it may seem daunting or intimidating, it can be very achievable with a solid training base under your belt. Crossing the finish line and getting a team photo after any overnight relay is very satisfying and you’re also sure to make memories that will last a lifetime as this is more than just a race, it is an experience.

Brian Comer is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Brian, check out his coaching page.

Photo: Linette Bethurum

Wy’east Howl 100k Race Report – Frank Fisher

Race: Wy’ East Howl 100k

Runner: Frank Fisher

Race Date: 7/31/2021

Location: Mt. Hood, Oregon

Results: 14:51:29, 40th place

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5718982585/overview

Photo: Steven Mortinson (stevenmortinson.com)

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

  1. The course was beautiful!
  2. The aid stations were awesome!
  3. The course was challenging but still runnable.

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

I can’t think of anything, pretty much liked everything about this race. The only thing that kinda bummed me out was not getting a Western States qualifier. This race needed 100 finishers to do that, and only 76 finished.

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

Not weird, but kind of funny to me was running around the finish area for the last 6-7 miles. You could see it down the hill a ways, but you also still have several miles to go before you actually get there. You can hear the excitement of the finish line for most of it. It was like calling the horses to the barn for me personally, but some others out on the course didn’t seem to enjoy it as much. Also funny, we all took the same selfie at the same waterfall.

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

I paced it well from the start being cautious for quite a while since it was my first shot at the distance and I really wanted to finish. I felt like I trained and prepared well for what my scheduled allowed, and my legs were surprisingly strong all the way through the race. I was able to problem solve the few issues I had successfully (missed my crew at the 30 mile aid, and a pre-existing ankle issue), had to improvise nutrition a bit but was on point with it and kept my stomach in check for the most part. Mentally, I kept my mind in a positive space and grew more confident as the race went on. I was able to finish really strong and felt like the last 24 or so miles were the best part of the race for me.

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

Get on your pace early on, and by that I mean know what that long ultra pace feels like because it will pay huge dividends at the end of the day. Practice being patient in your training, get your power hiking strong and know the course and the aid stations. Know your body and be prepared to improvise and problem solve because nothing ever goes totally as planned in these things. Have your mindset right and visualize prior to race day how you want your day to go. I didn’t feel great at the start, it took about 15-20 miles for me to get going, which was kind of worrisome, but once it started clicking I got more and more confident.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

For me personally, every time I felt like stopping I ran instead which made hiking seem like a break. I got really efficient at the aid stations, kept my body fueled, and I’m finally getting good at managing my stomach which has previously held me back performance wise. I also found I can push the downhills harder than I would’ve thought throughout the whole race. I changed some things up in training that also made a big difference for me, kind of went outside the box with that and it paid off.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The first couple miles of this race are steep and slow, take your time. You also need be cognizant of the last climb coming out of the mile 51 aid station. It can be a butt kicker, especially at that point in the race. It’s fairly steep and it goes on for a long time. I’d say most of this race is runnable. Other things to watch out for would be the middle 17-18 miles, there’s only one aid station from mile 21 to mile 39 so make sure you’re topped off and fueled up going out of the mile 21 aid and the mile 30 aid. Also, make sure your crew knows how long it takes to get to the mile 30 aid station. I almost brought a back-up drop just in case I came in fast (which I did), but then decided not to since I figured my crew would be there ( they were not… ). Several crews mentioned it took a lot longer than they thought to get up there, GPS/phone signal not working great in that area either, so just be sure to know the way up.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Oh man, this was one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever done! Views all over the place from Mt. Hood Meadows to the ridges, and even the Forest Service roads. This race should grow in popularity on this factor alone.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes, tough but not brutal. I thought it was a great challenge but didn’t feel like a sufferfest. It does not let up a whole lot though, you gotta work from start to finish on this one. 22 of 98 starters dropped.

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

Daybreak did a fantastic job! I feel like these folks keep getting better at each race. The aid stations were fantastic! They did a great job managing COVID precautions while providing excellent assistance to all the athletes, really engaging fun people at each station too. They certainly made the race more enjoyable. I’m always grateful to the aid station crews at every race, but I thought these were exceptionally done.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yep. Quite a few fast people out there for a small field in the 100k. Local boys held it down hard.

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.

This race did not fill up, very easy to get into. It was only the second running of the 100k, but I think it will get bigger as it’s such a good race. The 50k race had a much bigger field.

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

As mentioned, the aid stations were great. Standard fair though, COVID has certainly changed what we can expect at most races, but I think these guys did a fantastic job. The large field of the 50k went through a bunch of the food and water, so the 100k racers on their way back didn’t have a totally full spread, but it was plenty. A couple of us got some PB&J sandwiches without any PB&J… it was kinda funny.

Weather and typical race conditions

This is probably very subjective, but I thought it was perfect. It was warm in the morning, right around 70 degrees. It rained periodically, which made for a warmer very muggy afternoon. Overall, a cool PNW summer day. It was a great relief from the 90’s that were forecast. Pretty smokey though. Air quality was fine, but it hung pretty heavy throughout the day.

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

Nothing special, but you need your headlamp for the morning. It’s required gear if you’re leaving the mile 51 aid station after 5pm.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Sort of… the start/finish area at the ski resort is very spectator friendly and you can get up to the Timberline aid station if you wanted. There were quite a few people at the Surveyor’s ridge station and Elk Meadows was a good place for family and friends too. My family had a good time out there, and my kids didn’t want to leave the playground after the race.

How’s the Swag?

Everyone got some nice socks, a beer glass, and a post race meal ticket. You could also purchase some other things form Territory Run Co., I got a really nice t-shirt.

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

5 out of 5 stars for sure! I think both the 50k and 100k are cool races, the course is fantastic with tons of views and an excellent challenge. Most everyone I spoke with afterwards loved it.

Frank Fisher is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Frank, check out his coaching page.

Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile Race Report

What is the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile race?

The Wy’east Wonder 50 mile is an annual point-to-point race on Mt. Hood in Oregon. They offer a 50 km race as well as a 50 mile race. Read this review for runner Stephanie Gundel’s experience of the 50 mile race!

What is a race report?

At Team RunRun, we know that working towards a race is a great motivation for running. That said, not all running events are created equal. Our athletes report back on their experiences so that you can figure out which race is right for you. Read on for a breakdown of what you can expect from the Wy’east Wonder 50 mile race!

Wy'East Wonder Race Report - Winner SWAG

Race: Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile

Runner: Stephanie Gundel

Race Date: 6/12/2021

Location: Mt. Hood, OR

Results: 9:15, 3rd woman

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5460005972

3 Bests – What aspects of the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile did you like the most?

Smooth trails, the course markers were on the ground (aka right where you’re looking) and plentiful, and that it felt like a normal race with a finish line hang out and everything!

Not so much – Were there aspects of the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile that didn’t do it for you?

I wish I could say I was the type of person that loved the snow and found it super fun, but I’m not, and I didn’t.  I also wasn’t a fan of the assigned wave starts based on Ultrasignup rankings, which have issues.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile?

Maybe not weird – but I was surprised by it being more difficult than I anticipated based on the elevation profile.

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

For my first ultra in 18 months I was very happy with it overall. I felt like I paced fairly well and my body held up, including my stomach for the most part. I was also told I was in 4th at mile 40 and was able to frame that as a fun challenge, which is not always a strength. At mile 45, I was able to catch 3rd place and put a decent gap between us by the finish.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile to help the next runner

The course somehow felt more uphill and more downhill than I was expecting. The last two miles are unlike anything else on the course and steep and rocky.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Sometimes even all my foolproof foods sound terrible! Need to think of more options. Woman cannot exist on Coke alone.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile

Apparently, the course can be very snowy! The second 10 miles are really fun and fast and downhill, and there’s really not much that’s steep until the last two miles.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes! Some good views of Mt. Hood and lots of PNW forest.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Harder than I thought! I think part of what made it hard was being so runnable. My legs were ready for some hiking breaks. Also, 50 miles is always hard.

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

Very well run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It seemed like it! I felt like the race went out really fast, and stayed that way.

Logistics – Does Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile 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.

COVID makes everything weird, and hopefully, not applicable for the future.

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

I didn’t see any PB&J, which was weird!

Weather and typical race conditions

It was only the third year of the race and it looks like it’s been rainy, sunny and warm, and this year mostly sunny and perfect.

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

If there was that much snow I’d probably take poles next time, and ditch them at my drop bag. (Check out Team RunRun’s recommendations for winter running gear here.)

Spectators – Is the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile a friendly course for your friends?

Lots of spectators lined the trail at Aqueduct aid station which was fun since you go through there twice. No spectators anywhere else.

How’s the Swag?

Nice glass for everyone, good prizes for the top 3.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile and do you recommend that others run it?

5 and yep!

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marys peak 50k race report

Mary’s Peak 50k Race Report – Andrew Kisslo

Summary: Mary’s Peak 50k race report from Team RunRun athlete Andrew Kisslo, from the 2021 race. He shares course specific knowledge, gives advice for other runners, and gives you a great sense for the feel of the race. Read on to learn more and see if this race is for you!

Race: Mary’s Peak 50K

Runner: Andrew Kisslo

Race Date: 5/15/2021

Location: Blodgett, OR

Results: 11th OA; 1st AG – https://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=78134

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5303212746

marys peak 50k race report

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

1. Good long climb from start. All runnable and great to get body moving and ‘just keep swimming…’.
2. Views – Rewarding at top of Mary’s Peak, 360 degrees really great to look coast to the mountains, north & south
3. Free hot food at end, bowls, fresh quesadillas, etc.

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

1. % of logging road on the course. When we were in the forest, single track, it was great. There just wasn’t enough of it.
2. Time Trial – Rolling Start. COVID protocol let you step to the chip start in 30 mins whenever you wanted. So it was a time trial race and you had no idea where you were, which racers you needed to pass/hang with.
3. Lodging – We decided to stay in Newport, OR at the coast. It was 15 degrees colder and fog/overcast. We froze everyday and the town has a few places to eat, good organic food market but not much else.

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

The rolling time trial. This is likely a one off year with COVID protocols to spread runners out. The ‘Castle’ house you pass at mile 31 was a random surprise. There is one portion at miles ~25 where you enter this forest that is so dark, it’s literally dark, very little sun light. Trail is new and not great but it was like being in Hansel Gretel fairytale where a witch and goblins might appear at any minute.

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

I was coming off a multi-month injury with not a lot of running volume under my belt. I did better than my expectations on the climbs. I was faster overall than I expected. I had not run more than 15 miles in 6 months so once I got to miles 22-28, I was feeling the pounding and had to slow down.

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

1. Make time on the first climb to the peak. It is runnable, a mental grind but you will gain time and confidence here, especially when you pass folks here.
2. The downhill off of Mary’s Peak is runnable, so fly, some sections are technical (roots, rocks, small drops) but it’s really runnable.
3. The back half of the course ~15 miles to finish is much harder than the first. The rolling nature and climbs are larger than the course profile leads on. So be prepared for this part with strong climbing, good pacing but run, run, run the last 3 miles all out.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Save yourself for second half. The rolling hills and two climbs are harder than the profile seems to lead you.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I found it an odd course b/c it had no real consistency. There are pretty sections but I would not call this a ‘pretty’ course. There were a lot of visual transitions. Rocky road to the summit, great PNW forest descent, into a different forest of trees that was nothing like the descent, back to rocky roads but now curvy, into a sun exposed road, then into dark forests you can’t even see the sky, etc.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

If you don’t like a long climb, it’s tough. I found the second 16 miles the harder part. I did not find it ‘technical’ in any sections.

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

Yes, it was actually well done from check-in to final tally. Course marked well, aid stations stocked.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

‘ish’ – With Oregon State down the road, felt like there were some speedy younger folks. I did race with women who were top 15 at Western States.

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.

UltraSignup, easy peasy. It does compete with the GoBeyond race at Smith Rock the same weekend.

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

Standard. Given COVID small selections but individual PBJs, water, coke, a few granola bar flavors.

Weather and typical race conditions

It was a glorious day. 50 at the start into full sun and 70 at then end.

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

I did use my poles in sections and found them worth the packing.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes in that the aid stations are accessible, the peak has loads of parking. ‘On’ the course they are public trails so if you want to hike in you can.

How’s the Swag?

Trucker hat and pint finisher’s glass with race logo. Medal for Top 3 age groups. Shirts/hats for sale extra. Goodie bag were samples and coupons.

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

7 of 10 as the rolling start, choppy visual appeal of the course. It’s WORTH doing and a good challenge.

marys peak 50k race report