Vernal Equinox 48 Hour Race Report – Sarah Forman

Race: Vernal Equinox 48 Hour Race

Runner: Coach Sarah Forman

Race Date: 04/01/2022

Location: Batavia, OH

Results: 130 Miles, 6th Overall, 3rd Woman

Strava Activity Link:`

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

  1. The race is held at Majestic Farm which is a horse farm in Batavia, Ohio. Each runner was given access to a cleaned out horse stall. I loved that I could set up my own mini aid station and access it after every loop. My husband and 2 daughters were also there, so seeing them every 2 miles lifted me up when it started to get hard.
  2. There were several distances being run throughout the weekend (48 hour, 24, 12 and 8 hours). Being out there with other runners who were suffering just as much as I was, was an incredible bonding experience. I met some amazing people who got me through some very low points in the race.
  3. This was my first multi day race but after this experience, I’m already planning my next one! I loved having the opportunity to push my limits and find out how my body and mind would respond when pushed to this extreme.

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

Each runner has access to their own cleaned out horse stall for all of their gear. I loved this aspect of the race!

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

  • The highlight for me was getting through the first night on my own. My crew (husband and 2 young kids) had to go back to the hotel, so I was on my own until morning. The temperature dropped to 28 degrees quickly and I couldn’t stop shivering. I was able to problem solve and figure out that I needed to get more food in me to stay warm. I put on every piece of clothing that I brought and kept moving. I experienced hallucinations and fell asleep on my feet a few times but I made up a lot of time by running through the whole night, while many runners napped in their cars. It was one of the hardest parts of the race for me but also the part that really stands out in my mind.
  • Another highlight was coming around to the aid station somewhere around mile 40 and seeing my daughters singing karaoke for the runners. This really took my mind off of the discomfort I was feeling at the time and lifted my spirits!

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

  1. Being very organized can make things easier for you later in the race. I organized medical supplies, electronics, snacks, socks and clothes each in separate plastic bins and labeled everything clearly. This helped out my crew during the day but it also helped me when I was on my own and couldn’t think clearly from the lack of sleep. I also had a foot kit with step by step instructions on how to fix blisters. We put this to good use just after I hit 100 miles!
  2. A 1 hour nap can go a long way to getting through the second half of the race! I laid down in my sleeping bag at 7pm going into night 2. It was very loud but I was still able to get a little sleep which gave me a much needed mental boost.
  3. Early on in the race, I decided to not let myself think about how many hours I had left. I thought only about mileage which I found to be less overwhelming than thinking about total time. It also helped me to stay present throughout the race and enjoy the experience!
  4. Take care of your feet and take care of any chafing early! I changed my socks and covered my feet in Trail Toes multiple times throughout the race. We also took care of several blisters at the 100 mile mark using the method in the book “Fixing Your Feet.”

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I made the mistake of changing into new trail shoes around mile 70. I didn’t have any blisters up to this point but developed several after changing my shoes. If your shoes are working well, it’s always best to not change them. I’ve learned this lesson in other races as well!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It can get very muddy! I started out the race in my road shoes and had to change after the first loop because there was so much mud throughout the day. Also, there are several open areas on the course that get very windy so it will feel colder than expected.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I thought so! The race is held on a horse farm so we ran by the horses every lap, through corn fields, alongside 2 small lakes and through a nice section of trail in the woods.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s a 2 mile loop on trails with rolling hills. It’s a very runnable course but it did get very muddy.

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

This was a very well run race! The race directors are 2 women that are both established ultra runners and know how to handle anything that could come up while running for such a long period of time. They were also incredibly supportive throughout the race. When I hit 100 miles, one of the race directors completed a loop in the opposite direction with me which was fun.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

The field for the 48 Hour was small with only 40 people but the top finisher completed 190 miles!

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 online for the race in October but it didn’t sell out until about 2 weeks before the race was held. We were able to easily find a hotel 15 minutes away about a month before the race.

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

Mainly standard ultra fare at the aid station. They had hot meals for breakfast lunch and dinner and offered Tailwind throughout the race.

Weather and typical race conditions

It was unseasonably cold this year, with snow during the first few loops! During the day, the temperature got up to around 40 but dropped to 28 the first night. There were also high winds on the 2nd night. You never know what you’re going to get with Ohio weather!

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

In a timed race on a loop, you can really bring as much gear as you want. I recommend bringing more than you need! I probably brought way too much food and brought most of it home afterwards, but I did end up using all of the clothing that I brought. I brought several batteries and set up a charging station for my headlamps, earbuds and watch which worked out really well. We also had a portable pop up privacy tent so that I could change in the horse stall.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes! You see your crew every 2 miles at the main aid station. We were also allowed a pacer for the 2nd night starting at 8pm.

How’s the Swag?

We received a long sleeve shirt and will be getting an engraved award with the total number of miles ran. They also had buckles for those that completed 100, 150 or 200 miles.

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

I highly recommend it!

To learn more about Coach Sarah or work with her, check out her coaching page.