Summary: A good race for first-timers or those looking for a faster time, the Umstead 100 Ultra is a 100 mile endurance run through the William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh, NC. The course is along a running, biking, and horse trail and the width varies between 8 and 15 feet and the footing is excellent. There is no single track trail on the course. There’s also a 50 mile option, which runs 4 of the 12.5 mile “loops”, whereas the 100 mile race runs 8 loops. Both races happen simultaneously.
- The course is essentially a 12.5-mile lap in Umstead Park that you repeat eight times to reach 100 miles and 4 times to reach 50 miles. In that 12.5 mile lap, there are two spurs and then one bigger loop from miles 3.5-10.5, giving runners a chance to see those ahead and behind them for some of the spur miles.
- The entire course is very runnable. On the vehicle access road portion of the course leading into Camp Lapihio/Race Headquarters (.4 mile), there is larger crushed gravel that is typical for automotive traffic.
- The course is rolling hills with a total of 8,000 feet of climb over the 100 miles (1,000 feet per loop). The entire course is runnable with nicely spaced hills.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- Don’t start out too fast
- Pacers are definitely helpful, and helpful to switch out at each lap
- Lap by lap goals are good
- While crew isn’t necessary, it’s certainly helpful, especially for a mental boost each lap
- The course warms up quickly if it’s a sunny day, as a lot of it is exposed, so enjoy that first cooler lap and be ready to deal with the heat through laps 2-4, at the least.
- Being a lap course, this is a big mental challenge as much as physical
- The park is open to other users, so be aware of other users like runners, walkers, and cyclists while on course
Total gain/loss: 8,000/8,000ft (4,000/4,000 for the 50), which equates to 1,000 feet of gain per lap
Total climbs: Lots of rollers of 50-150 feet
Link to Course Profile: http://www.umstead100.org/profile.html
Link to Course Map: http://www.umstead100.org/course.html#lap
Total aid stations: 6 (2 Full Aid and 7 Water) per loop
Furthest distance apart: ~2 miles
Locations: miles 0 (which is also 12.5, the start/finish) 0.6, 2.1, 3.4, 5.6, 7 (Full), 8.7, 10.6, 11.9, and 12.5 (Full).
What’s available: Typical full aid station fare at start finish and mile 7 of each lap. Water only at all others. The 3.4/10.6 mile point, Water Point #1, will also have Gatorade and a food box with a limited number of items such as cookies, trail mix, candy bars and pretzels.
Crew instructions/directions: Only allowed at Start/Finish (mile 12.5 of each loop)
Drop bags: Drop bags allowed at the Start/Finish and AS#2.
One crew member at a time is allowed on the course to pace their runner either after 6 pm, Saturday, or at the start of lap 5, if started earlier than 6pm, or as expressly permitted by the Race Director or Aid Station Captain.