Race: Wy’east Wonder 50 Mile

Runner: Stephanie Gundel

Race Date: 6/12/2021

Location: Mt. Hood, OR

Results: 9:15, 3rd woman

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5460005972

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

Smooth trails, the course markers were on the ground (aka right where you’re looking) and plentiful, and that it felt like a normal race with a finish line hang out and everything!

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

I wish I could say I was the type of person that loved the snow and found it super fun, but I’m not, and I didn’t. I also wasn’t a fan of the assigned wave starts based on Ultrasignup rankings, which have issues.

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

Maybe not weird – but I was surprised by it being more difficult than I anticipated based on the elevation profile.

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

For my first ultra in 18 months I was very happy with it overall. I felt like I paced fairly well and my body held up, including my stomach for the most part. I was also told I was in 4th at mile 40 and was able to frame that as a fun challenge, which is not always a strength. I was able to catch 3rd place at mile 45 and put a decent gap between us by the finish.

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

The course somehow felt more uphill and more downhill than I was expecting. The last two miles are unlike anything else on the course and steep and rocky.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Sometimes even all my foolproof foods sound terrible! Need to think of more options. Woman cannot exist on Coke alone.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Apparently, the course can be very snowy! The second 10 miles are really fun and fast and downhill, and there’s really not much that’s steep until the last two miles.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes! Some good views of Mt. Hood and lots of PNW forest.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Harder than I thought! I think part of what made it hard was being so runnable. My legs were ready for some hiking breaks. Also, 50 miles is always hard.

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

Very well run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It seemed like it! I felt like the race went out really fast, and stayed that way.

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.

COVID makes everything weird, and hopefully, not applicable for the future.

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

I didn’t see any PB&J, which was weird!

Weather and typical race conditions

It was only the third year of the race and it looks like it’s been rainy, sunny and warm, and this year mostly sunny and perfect.

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

If there was that much snow I’d probably take poles next time, and ditch them at my drop bag.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Lots of spectators lined the trail at Aqueduct aid station which was fun since you go through there twice. No spectators anywhere else.

How’s the Swag?

Nice glass for everyone, good prizes for the top 3.

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

5 and yep!