30k Review, Saturday, September 19, 2015. Sunny 60 degrees. 10 am. Palo, IA
Registration: Starting at the end of August you could register online for $35, as race day approached the fee increased, and the chance of a unisex, soft cotton t-shirt, decreased. Race day registration was available for $50 and no shirt. Included with registration was a bib, (ankle style) timing chip. Registrants capped at 250.
I registered the same week of the race, and was not able to get a t-shirt. I was told I could check after the race about a shirt, I forgot to do this.
Packet Pickup / Expo: There was no race expo, but there was a packet pick up held the Friday before at a local restaurant offering a discount on your meal. You could also pick your bib up the morning before the race, up to a half hour before the race started. A friend could pick up your packet, no identification needed.
Laura’s fiance Tom grabbed our packets for us.
Pre-Race: The race is held at Pleasant Creek State Recreation area, there were signs posted in the park to direct runners to the correct parking lot. There was plenty of parking for everyone. The beach bath house was open for use of the real bathrooms. A small walk to the start/finish area through some grass. Timing chips were distributed at this time, they were an ankle bracelet style. Last minute registration was open. Runners milled about until announcements were made with about 7 minutes until the race started. Most announcements about the course, as it had rained for 2 days before the race. Also a thank you to the DNR for allowing the race. Participants could ask questions if they had concerns. Very easy to talk to the race director and organizers. No National Anthem
The 10 am race start was a struggle for me, I am ready to run by 7 or 8 am.
Race/Course: The race was 2 loops around the lake, first loop – counterclockwise, second loop – clockwise.
- Trail – horse trail ruts, muddy, puddles, sand, grass, uneven terrain, clean from most hazards
- Hilly – not steep, but felt like we were always climbing or descending
- Aid Stations – 3 on each loop, plus the one at the start/finish. Water and Heed in jugs, paper cups available to drink from, or you could fill your own. M & M’s, bananas, gummi bears, fruit snacks, cookies, pretzels. Each station had a sign telling you the mile marker and how far to next stop.
- Photographers – local guy taking photos as well as the spectators, all posted online for free
- Spectators – small race, very few, if any. Only had access to certain spots on course
- Course Markings – there were yellow flags closing off other trail entrances, signs on course with arrows, spray painted arrows on grass. No mile markers – just sign at aid station
- Volunteers – very friendly and attentive, always a smile when you approached an aid station, and happy to answer a question. Only saw volunteers at aid stations.
- Medical – No medical personel anywhere.
- Bathroom – there were port-o-potties on the course, one at an aid station and one in a parking lot we ran through
- Scenery – the trail was out in the woods, and near a lake. Many things to see, we even saw some pigs.
- 5 hour time limit
I ran the race with Laura, at times we would meet up with others and chat with them as we ran. We took our time on the slippery mud, but when we came through on the second loop some spots had started to dry up. There was about every trail surface imaginable. The most difficult was the grass sections, hard to get even footing.
Finish/ Post Race: The timing mat was strewn on half the road, a timing clock and the remaining people cheering you on. A “medal” was handed out along with a bottle of water as your chip was removed from your ankle. The awards were held before I finished the race. All medals and awards were hand made.
Short walk through the grass to the post race grub. Grilled hamburgers, brats and hot dogs; chips, candy, brownies. Pepsi, Mt. Dew, water, Miller Lite, Bud Light & Sam Adams. No chairs. A Chiropractor stayed for a while for post race massage & stretch, but packed up before I finished. The beach bath house bathrooms were locked up and there were no other facilities.
Laura and I plopped down on some cement and enjoyed the post race food and drinks. It was nice to chat with the people still milling about. We were able to cheer on the last finisher before we made our way back to the car.
Overall: For the price, race organization, and unique finisher’s medal, this event is top notch. “A race for runners, put on by runners.” Despite the trail conditions, this is one of the best trail races I have been a part of. I will try to run this again if my schedule allows.
Personal: I was running this race as a “tune up” for the 50k I would be running in 2 weeks. I needed some long trail miles, this was perfect. I felt great afterwards too. I was also able to run with Laura, you never know what will happen once we get together. We have no problems running together, we take turns in the lead, or if one needs to walk a hill, we both walk. It’s nice to have a buddy on the lonely trail too. Laura was also running for redemption, after a bad fall took her out of her first trail race, she wanted to complete this, and with one stumble, she finished this one.
I also ran with my new Garmin Fenix, lots of information at my fingertips as I ran. Most important to me is the battery life, as my older Garmin wouldn’t survive a 50k. Here is the information, as you can see there was rarely an area of flat:
Maybe my great race was due to the perfect weather and hitting my time goal of 4 hours. I finished in 4:04. Official results This also meant I had plenty of time to get to the Hawkeye football game, GO HAWKS!
I also ran with my GoPro, here’s the video https://youtu.be/Q_gtuitgnQg
I will load my review to Bibrave.com to make sure others get to know about this great race.