Race: Umstead 50
Runner: Emily M
Location: Raleigh, NC
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- It was a 12.5mi looped course
- The volunteers were outstanding!
- Mainly gravel path
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this race. The weather wasn’t the greatest (rained the entire time and got pretty cold), but that’s my type of weather compared to heat!
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
I’ve never done an ultra before so it was all kind of weird to me! But in a good way! I couldn’t get over the guys wearing sandals or no shirts in that type of weather, though
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I went in knowing it would be a mental game. Physically I thought I could gut it out but I have a tendency to get into my own head. I’d only done marathon distance before and not much access to hills, so I knew it’d be a challenge. I took the first loop a little faster and just tried to make mental notes. I broke it down into sections and tried to go a little faster in the first half, knowing the steeper hills were in the last section. Everyone out there was amazing! I met so many new people, both runners and volunteers, and having my family there to crew just topped it off! I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about having my brother out there lapping me, but it turned out to be just what I needed to keep me going. Most of all, I just smiled and embraced the experience. Once I hit that 3rd lap, I was closing in on “ultra status” and there was no way I was not going to finish!
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Be prepared for any type of weather! April in NC is unpredictable! They said this was the worst weather conditions in 24 years. We drove so I brought pretty much anything I could possibly need, which helped because I started in a running skirt and long sleeves but had to change clothes and bundle up for the 4th lap.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I’ve never done an ultra so I learned a lot in general. My fueling was completely different than a road marathon. I learned how to prioritize my belongings so my crew could access them quickly. Best of all, I learned to stop doubting myself and to just enjoy the race. I was so happy and calm, I enjoyed my surroundings and just took it all in.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The first 6.85 miles are hilly but not nearly as steep as the last half. The aid stations are well stocked! The volunteers were ready every time I came in so it was almost like I didn’t have to think. The gravel path is great! Sections were a little muddy towards the end but not technical at all. Great race for a first-time ultra!
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
I thought so
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
For me it was tough because of the hills…about 1,000 ft gain per lap….so for this Delaware girl, that was a lot! Otherwise it wasn’t difficult
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Absolutely well-oiled machine
Competition – Is there a strong field?
I’m not on the fast side so I’m not sure, but I know there were a few!!
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.
You have to be on your computer ready to hit submit on the specific date and time they give you. I got in right away but it sells out within minutes. We stayed at the Embassy Suites which is affiliated with the race. Great rooms, awesome staff, 5 minutes from the park, and great price! They even left a goody bag in the rooms for the runners which was a nice touch. Very close to the airport (has a shuttle to the hotel) but we drove. The race price was a little expensive but totally worth it for the experience that I had.
Plenty! Full aid at the start/finish, AS2 (full) at 6.85 miles, one unmanned station with water and goodies, and then at least 1-2 more unmanned with water
Weather and typical race conditions
Rain, rain, and more rain! Started in the low 50’s and dropped into the 30’s overnight with snow flurries. That’s not the typical weather from what I understand though. Usually 60-70 degrees.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Bring extra clothes for weather but otherwise I had my hydration vest and other normal gear. Nothing major.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
They can see you at the start/finish but have to drive to AS2 if they want to see you. My family stayed in the same spot.
How’s the Swag?
I got a hat with my name embroidered, socks, and a few random things. You could opt for the hat or shirt. Belt buckle for 100 finishers and acrylic triangle (special ordered, extra cost) for 50 finishers.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
5 Stars all the way! Perfect first ultra experience!
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