Race: Vertigo Night Runs 10k
Runner: Renee Gale
Race Date: 08/20/2022
Location: White Tank Mountain Regional Park
Results: 41 of 123 overall, 7 of 54 gender
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7672869333
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
This race had a variety of steep washes, rocky terrain, and nice runnable downhills – it was challenging especially with the rain and lightning that started around mile 3 but just the right amount of difficulty to keep it interesting and fun. For me, the first half was a little harder than the second which I really appreciated as it allowed me to put in a strong finish.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
The trail was supposed to be well marked but a bunch of us ran up a wash when we were supposed to run across it – I ended up running almost an extra half mile around the one-mile mark which made it a mental struggle to not think about for the rest of the race.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Wouldn’t call it weird but crazy! Lots of crazy weather. I have never run in lightning and was quite scared at the start of the race.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
One of my main goals for the race was to stay upright. I fell and broke my forearm at the end of May running down a rocky trail so I have been feeling very cautious and tentative returning to the trails after healing. Even with the mixture of mud, rocks, rain and puddles galore I kept on my feet. I kept bringing my focus back to being safe yet I was able to also dance down confidently through a lot of rocky gullies, crevasses, trenches and slog through so much mud.
Another goal was to finish strong. In the first half of the race I was feeling more tired than I expected and was wondering if I would be able to go stronger in the second half. But I surprised myself! During the last two miles, there was lightning all around us, rain, wind, bigger and bigger puddles and mud, mud, mud. Sometimes, the mud would grab at my feet but I just kept pushing through it steady and strong. I was so surprised to see several male runners walking at this point of the race as it was pretty flat – it felt so powerful to pass them. I felt like the energizer bunny – just kept going and going, I was in the zone.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
My biggest lesson is trust myself. When all the runners were turning left into the wash, I knew it was wrong as I had run the course the week before. However, I thought they must know something I don’t know and followed. I was very upset with myself for going along with the crowd and not trusting what I knew.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
There’s a big climb a little after the 3rd mile – short but steep, maybe a little less than a quarter mile – everyone around me was hiking it. It’s followed by an almost equally short steep descent. The trail is narrow here and I got caught behind a runner who was going slower than I wanted to go. I wasn’t able to pass until we got down near the bottom of this section.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
This race is held at night so one isn’t really seeing any scenery – however, the lightning was better than 4th of July fireworks!
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
The course is very rocky – I would say more than half of it – which makes it tougher to run on than hard-packed dirt. However, the elevation changes are very manageable except for the one steep short climb mentioned earlier.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
It was organized enough. I couldn’t hear everything that was being announced. They mentioned that the race would be paused if there was severe weather but I couldn’t understand how that was going to play out. There were going to be several different distances ran – 6k, 10k, 20k, 31k, 52k. Apparently, the runners in the 20k, 31k, and 52k weren’t able to finish as the race was paused after the first 10k loop and never started back up due to the weather.
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.
The parking lot is very big so no worries there.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
There was an aid station around mile 4 but I didn’t stop to check things out. I noticed that there was a pad on the ground to clock the runners at that milestone. It was very small so I wonder if some runners missed it.
Weather and typical race conditions
August is hot and monsoon season in Arizona. It was 88 degrees and 60% humidity when I started the race. The rain felt really good once it started!
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
Even though it’s a night race, it’s still hot this time of year in the evening. Just make sure you’ve dialed in your hydration.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
There was plenty of room at the race start/finish to hang out but that’s about it.
How’s the Swag?
I like the wooden medallions that were handed out but was disappointed in the t-shirt. There’s an option to opt out of the shirts and get a small discount so next time I will do that.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I personally enjoyed this race but mostly because I met my goals and overcame the challenges I ran into weather wise. I would rate this a 7 out of 10.
Thinking about getting into trail running? Check out our trail running coaches!