Volcanic 50k Race Report – Nate Orf

Race: Volcanic 50k

Runner: Nate Orf

Race Date: 08/06/2022

Location: Mt. St. Helens, WA

Results: https://ultrasignup.com/m_results_event.aspx?did=88715#id2013626

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/dref5oFcvsb

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

Well organized, great volunteers, and incredible scenery

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

Some light rappelling and lots of bouldering over lava fields, plus an aid station where all of the water is straight out of a glacier fed spring staffed by astronauts (a play on the moonscape of the blast zone you’re running through at the time)

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

Great first 20 miles, but made a hydration mistake (skimped on electrolytes) and had to fend off some fairly bad muscle cramping for the last 12+ miles.

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

Time on course beforehand is helpful to practice orienteering over sections where you navigate through boulder fields with no trail.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Switching to 100% electrolyte hydration, especially on hotter days

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

There is no good place to drop given remote location, which is good and bad.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Awe inspiring.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes. It has a prerequisite of a prior 50k or previously having run the 25k.

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

GoBeyond is fantastic and did a great job—well organized.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes, field is fairly deep considering smaller size (200ish runners, necessitated by USFS permit requirements)

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.

No special handshake, but options for hotels are limited near race. Drivable morning of from Portland area. Also regularly sells out, so always good to get in early (February), though waitlist is also usually an option.

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

They have to hike everything in for 5 miles to each aid station, but considering, good standard ultra fare (if no frills). Gu gels and drinks, plus pickles, chips, pb&j, etc.

Weather and typical race conditions

Wide variety—everything from mid 80s like this year to snow and cold, and sometimes both.

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

There are minim gear requirements (jacket, emergency blanket, whistle, and ability to carry water). Beyond that, if particular on nutrition plan on carrying it with you as there aren’t really any good places for crew to meet.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really.

How’s the Swag?

Minimal included in registration, but nice Nike and Territory Run swag available.

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

It kicked my butt and think that’s a pretty common sentiment (though was also my first ultra). Not another course like it and definitely an experience. 4.5/5 stars.

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