Teanaway Country 100 Race Report – Keith Laverty

Race: Teanaway Country 100

Runner: Keith Laverty

Race Date: 9/11/2021

Location: Salmon La Sac Sno-Park / Teanaway Mountains in Washington State

Results: 10th OA, 30:30:08

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5955010160

teanaway country 100 keith laverty

3 Bests – What aspects of the Teanaway Country 100 did you like the most?

1. The well-thought out and cared for event by the RD, Brian Morrison and their entire team, including volunteers.
2. The sheer difficulty of the course in terms of the elevation profile, terrain; and so much uncertainty to even completing the race.
3. Grand views and memorable landscape of the Teanaway Mountains nestled in the Cascades.

Not so much – What aspects of the Teanaway Country 100 didn’t work for you?

Two of the aid stations mid-race with very minimal choices and options for food, when I really was just craving much more!

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

I recall seeing some blow up unicorns at one or two of the aid stations. Also, there was a cougar encounter just off the trail on the second morning with two runners (and one pacer) who were well ahead of me but luckily, I didn’t see it when I went through that section or didn’t know about it until after the fact! Nobody was hurt though and they were able to scare it away by yelling and acting big.

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

Both my mental headspace and nutrition/hydration strategy all day, especially given my first 100-miler and first race over 50 miles. I had no expectations yet no limitations either. I had been training all summer for the more runnable (but still difficult) Pine to Palm 100 course but it had been unfortunately cancelled the Monday of race week. Luckily, the RD let me and a few other runners into this event.

So I didn’t put any pressure on myself to perform in an XYZ place or specific time but rather the mindset to above anything else, complete this monster of a challenge! I did so, despite a few biomechanical issues that flared up or felt tight throughout the race but bad enough that I’d think it’d cause a serious injury.

I also climbed pretty well and efficiently with the trekking poles.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Teanaway Country 100 to help the next runner

Certainly pace yourself smart from the start as a lot can happen over the course of the day. Be prepared mentally for a big day in the mountains.

Bring a few changes of gear/clothing such as shirts, shoes and socks during the event. Trekking poles can be a huge advantage on the steep, technical terrain.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I hadn’t trained for this course but if I were to try this or other similar course again, I’d certainly incorporate several more steeper or long runs with trekking poles, as well as a higher vert per mile ratio or one that matches the course profile. I did quite a bit of strength and mobility work throughout the summer but may have backed off too much over the final 3-week taper, potentially resulting in unexpected hip flexor tightness felt in my right leg for most of the race. So making my body, tendons, muscles extra resilient and improving their fatigue resistance. I had spent the majority of the day between 4th and 6th place but then was forced to a slower walk for most of the final 18 miles, so lost a few places over the final stretches.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Teanaway Couuntry 100?

Everything between the Sasse Ridge AS (mile 6) and the Van Epps AS (21), and then again on the return, is quite a brutal section! Even the 4ish mile jeep road section… don’t be lulled into thinking that section is fast and runnable. This includes the Paris Creek Trail and other trails that are actually no longer on many trail maps. The RD even eluded that besides this 100-mile race, it may not get any other foot traffic for the remainder of the year. Then the jeep road is exceptionally rugged with several giant puddles/divots. The final 3-mile descent back to the start/finish may have been the longest stretch ever with more relentless loose rock and seemingly endless switchbacks!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

You know it. Big sweeping views all around during the day. Even the night time was spectacular with the stars shining bright. Lake Ann and Esmerelda Basin were beautiful! Iron Peak / Eldorado Pass, Teanaway Ridge Trail, and Gallagher Head Lake were all memorable too. At one point, you can even clearly see the Enchantments looking toward the next mountain range north of the course.

teanaway country 100 views
Photo: Sozinho Imagery

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Probably a 10 out of 10 as far as 100-mile courses go! This is considered a “graduate level” course and has even been compared to the Hardrock 100 as the “low-altitude Hardrock”. Only a 49% finisher rate this year.

This course packs in 31,000 feet of climbing, many of which are quite steep and rocky. But what makes this course even tougher is the technicality of the trails, where there’s hardly any areas to really open up your stride and requiring more mental focus on the technical rocks/dirt (lots of loose rock), abandoned trail systems, roots.

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

Excellent job here by the RD and race staff. This includes pre-race communications, packet pickups, and overall execution. Race bibs were also much smaller than most races, making it easy to pin to your running shorts.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Strong field up front, many of whom had plenty of experience in extremely long and/or burly endurance events but also a few first-time 100 mile runners too who did an amazing job. Resilient field of athletes across the board!

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 could see this race selling out quicker and quicker in the near future. Plenty of camping options available including free camping at the start/finish, as well as two campgrounds nearby. It sounded like some runners also stayed in AirBNBs in nearby Roslyn (only a 20-minute drive away).

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

Pretty standard for many aid stations such as chips, watermelon, grapes. When the sun started to set, then there seemed to be more solid food options available including hot cup of noodles, tomato soup, veggie broth, bacon, and instant mashed potatoes. I believe the gels options were all GU brand.

Weather and typical race conditions

We truly lucked out with ideal, clear conditions. Started in the high 40s and only a high of low 70s by mid day. It felt a bit warm for a few hours but definitely still easily manageable.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not too bad actually and especially since the course is mostly an out-and-back, plus one 13-mile loop where you return back to the same aid station. Driving between the aid stations for crew/spectators sounded like it wasn’t too complicated or long.

How’s the Swag?

Impressive! Finishers will get a belt buckle with the race logo. And all entrants received a Territory Run Co. T-shirt (with race logo), a stainless steel cup, 2-3 salves from Squirrel’s Nut Butter and a pair of black running socks from Wrightsock.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give the Teanaway Country 100 miler, and do you recommend that others run it?

5 of out 5 stars for a truly memorable experience where it feels like they care about every runner that chooses to embark on this challenge, no matter if they finished or were a DNF.

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

teanaway country 100 mile
Photo: Sozinho Imagery