TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30 Hour Race Report – Bucky Love

Race: TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30 Hour

Runner: Bucky Love

Race Date: 02/05/2022

Location: Hale Reservation, Westwood MA

Results: 80 miles; 2nd overall in distance achieved in the 30 hours.

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6642329796

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

My favorite aspects of the race were the the race directors, and volunteers at the aid station. They all were an A+. They went out of their way in subzero temps to ensure runners had what they needed in water, hot drinks, hot food, warming up shoes (more like thawing frozen shoes). Even at 2 AM with only 3 runners still on the course they stayed strong and planned for your arrival after your 5 mile loops. They even went out of their way at 3 am to make me different hot foods without meat (grilled cheese and pickle sandwich at 3 AM, after running 60 miles, yes please!!). To top off their performance at the aid station the volunteer course clearers/sweepers waited for me to complete one of my loops before shutting it down and sweeping because they knew it was my favorite of the 3 different loops we were doing. You could really tell that everyone there really cared about this race and the runners.

The other aspects that deserve top marks is the course markings, particularly at night, I didn’t get lost once despite lots of twists and turns and the overall energy of the event was inspiring.

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

Anything I didn’t care for about the race is outside of the race directors or event sites control. For example, the wind was unnecessary at 4 AM.

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

It is a 30 hour race in the middle of winter in New England, the whole event is probably pretty weird. Let me go run for 30 hours on the same (3) five mile snow and ice covered single track trail loops over and over until I run out of time or quit.

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

I really nailed my gear, hydration, nutrition. I was one of the few not having to complain about my feet and wearing traction. My shoes didn’t freeze up and my feet stayed warm and I stayed up right, SPIKECROSS 5 GORE-TEX for the win. I did not change cloths once which I am pretty proud of. Everything felt comfortable and no chafing. This was a big gear win day for me.

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

Have the right winter gear and proper layers. Have the right shoes. In the cold winter in the Northeast it is extra important to know your gear and be prepared with extras should something not be working that day.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I set up a tent, sleeping pad, and subzero sleeping bag. Just in case I wanted a short nap. I think this was a mistake as it allowed my normal 24 hour plus event 30 min nap to turn into a 4-hour nap. There is certainly an argument to be made that I did what my body needed in that moment, but it did prevent me from getting a 100 miles in which was a loose goal. Next time if I really want to chase a 100 down under these wintery conditions then no tent.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

That it is new England in winter. Come prepared for any kind of weather, temperatures, and trail conditions.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It is mostly single track through the woods. The area is pretty and enjoyable. The ice on the trees was stunning when the sun was shining and the moon setting was awesome.

There is definitely beauty to be seen all over the 15 miles.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I would say it is a sneaky tough course. I got almost 10,000 ft. of elevation in the 80 miles. Where that is necessarily a lot, the hills are rolling and each loop had their one little climbs that add up over time. It also depends if there is snow pack or bare ground? No roots or rocks to deal with this year with all the snow from the storm the weekend before, but it could get tricky footing if there was no snow.

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

Well -oiled machine. They know what they are doing and how to do it. Usually the can host inside a heated lodge, but due to covid everything had to be outside this year and they handled it nearly seamlessly despite the sub-zero temps and finding creative ways to keep food and drinks from becoming blocks of ice.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I would say not really. No real elite runners or ringers. You have to be a pretty strong athlete to go all the way and most of the field stopped at 50 or less miles. The only really competition is the clock and yourself in what you have for personal aspirations.

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 is an easy race to get into and plenty of local hotels. No special logistics needed.

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

One central aid station that you pass by every 5ish miles. Great variety of foods from sweet to savory. Good hydration options. They had everything that a standard athlete could need.

Weather and typical race conditions

Cold, snow, and ice. Be ready for a New England Winter event.

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

If you have to ask what gear you need for a New England Winter event then you probably shouldn’t be running a New England winter event. Come with layers and changes of everything just in case. I personally recommend have the spikes built into your shoes like the Spikecross I mentioned earlier.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It would be very friendly if they had allowed spectators, crews, or pacers but they did not due to covid. Typically they do and you would be able to see your friends or family every 5 miles and they would never have to move.

How’s the Swag?

Standard travel coffee mug and yeti cookie for all runners finishing the minimum 30 miles for an official recorded finish. All kinds of yeti swag for runners going the distance, so to speak. If you spend nearly all of your 30 hours out there they hook you up. I received a back pack, a dry bag, a zippered hoodie sweat shirt, sweat pants, a yeti exceptional stuffed animal, a fleece throw blanket, and a long sleeve shirt. I am not even sure if that was because I got 2nd overall, but I think it was because I really embraced the yeti and stayed out in the subzero cold temps doing lap after lap and not quitting even when I wanted to.

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

5 stars for a winter event. Anyone wanting to challenge their winter running abilities and push how far you can go then this is a great event for you.

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