My Profile

@bioprofsd

Mitchell, SD Raving since 2014 50 States hopeful/finisher, Marathon Maniacs #7665 active 2 days, 13 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Marathon Maniacs, 50 States Marathon Club, 100 Marathon Club North America

  • Rave race:

    Siskiyou Outback Ultramarathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Across the Years

  • I run because:

    It keeps me healthy and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

50 States Map
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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (18)

Race Distance Location Date Result
# of hrs = your age Manchester, TN Aug 31, 2017 105 mi
72 hr Glendale, AZ Dec 31, 2018 110 mi
55 hr Missouri City, TX Dec 30, 2017 104 mi
48 hr Eagle, ID May 20, 2021 102.86 mi
47 hr Williamson, WV Mar 12, 2021 102.5 mi
35 hr Williamson, WV Mar 10, 2018 39 mi
24 hr Stoddard, WI Sep 24, 2021 56 mi
15 hr Mt Vernon, OH Jun 19, 2021 33 mi
12 hr Manhattan, KS Aug 21, 2021 40 mi
9 hr 11 min Longmont, CO Sep 7, 2019 31 mi
9 hr Victor, NY Jun 12, 2021 30.6 mi
8 hr River Falls, WI Nov 8, 2014 36 mi
40 Miler Idaho Falls, ID Jun 27, 2020 10:22:12
50K Rockford, MN Apr 12, 2014 5:18:10
Marathon Yankton, SD Apr 27, 2013 3:42:50
30K Canton, SD Oct 28, 2017 4:22:29
Half Marathon Keizer, OR May 19, 2013 1:39:21
10K Fargo, ND Nov 23, 2017 54:09

Future Races (3)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
12 hr Palatka, FL Nov 6, 2021
24 hr Dallas, TX Dec 4, 2021
10 hr Greenville, SC Jan 1, 2022

Past Races (167)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Hebron, NE Oct 23, 2021 5:37:47
Marathon Hebron, NE Oct 23, 2021 5:37:47
50K Burns, TN Oct 9, 2021 11:32:11
24 hr Stoddard, WI Sep 24, 2021 56 mi
24 hr Lennox, SD Sep 4, 2021 54 mi
12 hr Manhattan, KS Aug 21, 2021 40 mi
12 hr St. Joseph, MO Jul 24, 2021 35.75 mi
25K Butte, MT Jul 10, 2021 3:51:00
Marathon Portland, OR Jul 4, 2021 5:17:34
15 hr Mt Vernon, OH Jun 19, 2021 33 mi
50K Springfield, VT Jun 14, 2021 8:12:20
9 hr Victor, NY Jun 12, 2021 30.6 mi
Marathon Viborg, SD Jun 6, 2021 6:00:45
48 hr Eagle, ID May 20, 2021 102.86 mi
30 Miler Luverne, MN May 15, 2021 8:30:28
50K Stillwater, OK Apr 10, 2021 8:52:38
50K Brighton, CO Apr 3, 2021 7:20:02
50K Ottawa, KS Mar 27, 2021 6:35:18
47 hr Williamson, WV Mar 12, 2021 102.5 mi
24 hr Moab, UT Oct 31, 2020 35.5 mi
50K Council Bluffs, IA Oct 24, 2020 6:51:17
Marathon Papillion, NE Oct 11, 2020 5:16:32
Marathon Gering, NE Sep 26, 2020 5:46:13
Marathon Brookings, SD Sep 12, 2020 4:57:46
50K Brainard, NE Sep 5, 2020 11:24:18
50K Ida Grove, IA Aug 8, 2020 11:40:01
24 hr Rapid City, SD Jul 17, 2020 34 mi
40 Miler Idaho Falls, ID Jun 27, 2020 10:22:12
24 hr Watford City, ND Jun 20, 2020 52 mi
48 hr Phoenix, AZ Jan 1, 2020
50K Crawfordville, FL Dec 14, 2019 6:54:26
24 hr Benton, AR Nov 29, 2019 40 mi
50K Las Cruces, NM Nov 2, 2019 24:00:00
24 hr Des Moines, IA Oct 26, 2019 49 mi
50K Susanville, CA Oct 13, 2019 6:49:42
12 hr Springstein, Canada Oct 5, 2019 34 mi
24 hr Stoddard, WI Sep 20, 2019 44 mi
9 hr 11 min Longmont, CO Sep 7, 2019 31 mi
12 hr Lennox, SD Sep 1, 2019 37 mi
50K Manchester, NH Jul 23, 2019 7:34:40
50K Woonsocket, RI Jul 21, 2019 8:03:06
50K Coon Rapids, IA Jul 7, 2019 9:38:47
50K Simsbury, CT Jun 24, 2019 7:31:53
50K Birdsboro, PA Jun 20, 2019 8:49:24
50K Bear, DE Jun 18, 2019 8:55:38
24 hr Regina, Canada Jun 1, 2019 47 mi
50K Renton, WA May 26, 2019 8:44:26
12 hr McCall, ID May 18, 2019 33 mi
12 hr Webster, NY May 11, 2019 35 mi
50K Ottawa, KS Mar 30, 2019 6:44:30
50K Ovett, MS Mar 2, 2019 7:51:00
50K Kisatchie National Forest, LA Feb 2, 2019 7:17:00
50K Kapaa, HI Jan 26, 2019 8:08:52
72 hr Glendale, AZ Dec 31, 2018 110 mi
50K Grand County, UT Nov 17, 2018 7:53:56
24 hr Lilington, NC Nov 3, 2018 40 mi
30K Canton, SD Oct 27, 2018 4:24:42
Half Marathon Rutland, IA Oct 20, 2018 2:12:40
Half Marathon Mitchell, SD Oct 14, 2018 2:04:16
50K Sterling, IL Oct 6, 2018 7:21:45
50K Sharpsburg, MD Sep 29, 2018 7:55:41
50K Centrahoma, OK Sep 1, 2018 9:52:57
24 hr Shelbyville, KY Aug 4, 2018 32 mi
12 hr Rochester Hills, MI Jul 28, 2018 32 mi
Marathon Sioux City, IA Jul 11, 2018 7:19:02
50K Breckenridge, MN Jul 8, 2018 9:05:09
50K Holyoke, MA Jun 27, 2018 7:13:38
50K Olympia, WA Jun 16, 2018 6:52:31
12 hr Fairbanks, AK Jun 2, 2018 37 mi
50K New Gloucester, ME May 26, 2018 8:07:54
12 hr Terre Haute, IN May 19, 2018 31 mi
50K Augusta, NJ May 17, 2018 8:14:24
Marathon Ottawa, KS Apr 21, 2018 5:23:35
12 hr Green Bay, VA Mar 31, 2018 34 mi
35 hr Williamson, WV Mar 10, 2018 39 mi
50K Moulton, AL Feb 10, 2018 8:28:51
55 hr Missouri City, TX Dec 30, 2017 104 mi
24 hr Spartanburg, SC Dec 9, 2017 34 mi
10K Fargo, ND Nov 23, 2017 54:09
50K Las Vegas, NV Nov 11, 2017 6:39:39
30K Canton, SD Oct 28, 2017 4:22:29
Marathon Mankato, MN Oct 22, 2017 4:56:25
12 hr Dayton, OH Oct 7, 2017 34 mi
24 hr Stoddard, WI Sep 22, 2017 33 mi
Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Sep 10, 2017 6:21:09
# of hrs = your age Manchester, TN Aug 31, 2017 105 mi
50K Hot Springs, SD Aug 19, 2017 7:20:13
Marathon Hisega, SD Aug 5, 2017 8:06:00
50K Saint Joseph, MO Jul 22, 2017
Marathon South Sioux City, NE Jul 20, 2017
Marathon Baltic, SD Jul 18, 2017
Marathon Frenchtown, MT Jul 9, 2017 5:27:46
Marathon Tigard, OR Jul 3, 2017 6:27:47
Half Marathon Astoria, OR Jul 1, 2017 2:45:53
Marathon Kailua-Kona, HI Jun 25, 2017 6:13:32
50K St. Regis, MT Jun 10, 2017 7:08:57
Marathon Valentine, NE Jun 3, 2017 5:43:36
50K Van Meter, IA May 27, 2017 7:35:39
Marathon Holdingford, MN May 13, 2017 5:20:42
Marathon Yankton, SD Apr 22, 2017 4:57:12
Marathon Abilene, KS Apr 8, 2017 5:12:36
50K Macleod, ND Mar 18, 2017 6:54:00
11 hr Lithia Springs, GA Mar 5, 2017 32 mi
Marathon Piedmont, AL Feb 26, 2017 4:50:55
Marathon Northfield, MN Jan 8, 2017 5:36:21
Marathon Norwalk, WI Nov 6, 2016 5:23:57
Marathon Dover, DE Oct 22, 2016 4:56:44
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 16, 2016 5:26:48
Marathon Schenectady, NY Oct 9, 2016 4:54:14
Marathon Mandan, ND Oct 1, 2016 6:56:17
Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Sep 11, 2016 5:17:52
Marathon Juneau, AK Jul 30, 2016 5:27:36
50K Ashland, OR Jul 23, 2016 9:04:05
Marathon Vernonia, OR Jul 16, 2016 5:24:39
50K Maupin, OR Jul 9, 2016 7:21:08
Marathon Portland, OR Jul 4, 2016 4:53:31
Marathon South Williamson, KY Jun 11, 2016 5:45:56
Marathon Roanoke, VA Jun 5, 2016 6:35:05
Marathon Waterbury, CT May 30, 2016 6:56:23
Marathon Great Barrington, MA May 29, 2016
50K Coventry, RI May 19, 2016 8:13:32
50K Springfield, VT May 17, 2016 8:01:09
Marathon Greenfield, NH May 16, 2016
Marathon Kennebunk, ME May 15, 2016 4:56:31
Marathon Toledo, OH Apr 24, 2016 4:36:25
Marathon Wamego, KS Mar 26, 2016 4:32:45
Marathon Cape May, NJ Mar 20, 2016 4:50:09
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 9, 2016 4:58:06
50K Fountain Hils, AZ Dec 5, 2015 7:59:05
Marathon Seattle, WA Nov 26, 2015 4:38:50
Marathon Tulsa, OK Nov 22, 2015 4:42:30
Marathon Nashville, TN Nov 14, 2015 4:26:41
8 hr River Falls, WI Nov 7, 2015 28 mi
Marathon Raleigh, NC Nov 1, 2015 5:19:51
Marathon Greenville, SC Oct 31, 2015 4:47:02
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 18, 2015 4:49:039
Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 17, 2015 4:58:01
Marathon Roscoe, IL Oct 10, 2015
Marathon Cumberland, MD Sep 27, 2015
Marathon Keyser, WV Sep 26, 2015 4:57:21
Marathon Boulder, CO Sep 19, 2015 4:50:46
12 hr Reading, PA Sep 6, 2015 31 km
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Aug 1, 2015 6:55:18
50K Hot Springs, AR Jul 25, 2015 8:32:10
Marathon Lamoille, NV Jun 20, 2015 4:46:15
Marathon Wallsburg, UT Jun 13, 2015 4:36:06
50K Fish Camp, CA Jun 6, 2015 6:44:46
Marathon Boise, ID May 30, 2015 4:53:43
50K Los Alamos, NM May 23, 2015 11:17:10
Marathon Fargo, ND May 9, 2015 4:260:23
Marathon Brookings, SD May 2, 2015 4:53:54
50K Jacksonville, FL Apr 5, 2015 6:52:30
Marathon Savannah, GA Apr 4, 2015 4:55:49
Marathon Lincoln, NE Mar 14, 2015 5:38:39
Marathon Lafayette, LA Mar 8, 2015 4:47:00
Marathon Beaumont, TX Mar 7, 2015
50K Kansas City, KS Feb 14, 2015 7:56:12
Marathon Northfield, MN Jan 11, 2015
8 hr River Falls, WI Nov 8, 2014 36 mi
Marathon Wakefield, MI Sep 13, 2014 4:37:50
50K Baldwin, CO May 17, 2014 8:24:20
50K Rockford, MN Apr 12, 2014 5:18:10
50K Omaha, NE Oct 27, 2013 6:05:50
50K Sundance, WY Sep 28, 2013 7:57:04
Marathon Deadwood, SD Jun 2, 2013 4:19:50
Half Marathon Keizer, OR May 19, 2013 1:39:21
Marathon Yankton, SD Apr 27, 2013 3:42:50

My Raves

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this race because the race director sent out an apologetic message quite a while before the race and said … MORE

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this race because the race director sent out an apologetic message quite a while before the race and said that her co-director had quit and dropped the ball on setting up this year’s registration page. However, when I arrived the morning of the race, I found plenty of volunteers and organization second to none. The race was at one of the Montgomery State Park group camps, which included a lodge with a kitchen which was used to prepare hot food for the runners. They also had a lot of swag for sale, a tent for lap counting, a table set up with hydration products and snacks, and a timing table. Runners had a choice between running a hilly and rough 3 mile trail or a hilly 1 mile loop on pavement through the group camp. Laps were counted by runners putting clothespins on a horizontal string; plain wooden ones for each trail loop completed and red clothespins for each road loop completed. A volunteer periodically added up the miles and kept track of them. The trail loop started on pavement, but after about a quarter of a mile turned onto a single track dirt trail. Some sections weren’t bad, but others looked like they had been washed out by flash flooding and had a lot of exposed roots, rocks, and small debris on the trail. There was plenty of shade on the trail loop though. The road loop was shaped like a clover leaf, with three side loops that went through different parts of the group camp that had cabins. Quite a few of the runners rented a cabin, so they had a convenient place to stop for a rest right along the course. I would have liked to use a cabin, but because I flew into the race, I didn’t have any bedding available. Each of the “clover leafs” of the road course went downhill and then back up again, so there were few flat stretches. Food was great with hamburgers, bacon, and chicken rice casserole while I was running, along with snack foods. Hydration included a Gaterade-type beverage, Coca-cola, and one or two other soft drinks. 100-mile finishers were given a belt buckle and it appeared that all other finishers received a non-distance specific cowbell on a ribbon. I felt that I got stronger as the day went on, but it may have been because as it got close to dusk, the temperature was cooler. It wasn’t an easy course, but it wasn’t so bad that you wanted to quit halfway through the day. Overall, I was very impressed by the race organization and venue.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

This was my third time running this race which was the 10th anniversary edition. The weather forecast sounded almost perfect the day before the race, but 1.5 hours after the … MORE

This was my third time running this race which was the 10th anniversary edition. The weather forecast sounded almost perfect the day before the race, but 1.5 hours after the start, a line of rainclouds moved through the area and dumped what seemed like 0.25 to 0.5 inch of rain which turned the nice smooth dirt trails to a sloppy mess in a few spots. Fortunately, the rain stopped after about an hour and a half, leaving cool but wet conditions for the rest of the night; basically perfect for running.

This race is a fundraiser for a Local Lupus Alliance, and the community support is phenomenal. The race director’s family cooks a full breakfast of eggs, homestyle hashbrowns, and bacon cooked in maple syrup. They also had two types of homemade soup late at night, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza, along with the usual snack foods. For hydration, they had two different flavors of VFuel hydration mix, coffee, cola, and other sodas.

The course seemed a little wider than I remember from the first two times I ran this race, so it was easy to pass other runners, even when they were running in small groups. The only time it got congested was when we were trying to weave around muddy places in the trail. There were plenty of porta potties, and a lot of room for participants to set up tents and running camps. Laps were counted with a chip timing system for the first time this year, but they still had volunteers counting laps as a backup system.

I ended up with a 24 hour PR of 56 miles after suffering from Achille’s heel problems in my last 24 hour race. It really didn’t bother me much while I was running, but it is pretty sore today. My mind was arguing with me about continuing beyond 31 miles, but fortunately, I didn’t have a tent set up nor reservations in town, so I had no choice but to continue. I ended up finishing 2nd in my age group of 60-69 out of 8 runners, and around 29th out of 145 overall. There were no finisher’s awards, except for the top 3 male and female finishers, but we were given a t-shirt, free craft brews, and a huge number of door prizes for those who stayed for the after-race awards ceremony. They served a taco bar after the race under a huge tent, and presented runners who finished a cumulative number of 100 miles with a sweatshirt and 100 mile patch, no matter how many times they had to run the race to reach this milestone. They also presented patches for 200, 300, 400, or 500 cumulative miles to put on their 100 mile sweatshirt. It’s no wonder that this race fills up within hours after the opening of registration. If you would like to run this race, I’d advise you to be ready on your computer when the clock strikes midnight of the day of registration, because it does fill up quickly. If you miss out, don’t worry, they do have a waitlist and many people who are waitlisted do get in eventually.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

This was the third time that I've run this race, and it keeps getting better and better. This year the course seemed to be much smoother with less holes than … MORE

This was the third time that I’ve run this race, and it keeps getting better and better. This year the course seemed to be much smoother with less holes than in year’s past. I could see where holes had been filled with fine gravel and the parts of the course that went through grass were nicely mowed and manicured. One highlight of the race this year was Pearl. Pearl is a yearling white-tailed doe that the race directors took in after it’s mother was hit by a car. They brought it inside and bottle fed it over the winter, and now runs loose outside on their farm. It has seemed to imprint on humans, so it is friendly as a Labrador Retriever. It ran alongside some of the runners on the course and even started with the 12 hour runners. Besides Pearl, there are also ducks, chickens, pigs, donkeys, and T-bone, a miniature heirloom bull. Part of the course runs along a small creek, and the banks were covered with wild sunflowers. To me, it seemed much more of a magical place than it did in previous years.

Another new addition to the race was a 36-hour division, along with belt buckles for anyone finishing over 100 miles in any of the race lengths. The race directors and volunteers are very nice people, and will give you the shirt off their back if you ask them. This year, instead of cotton shirts, finishers were given a custom hat. I foresee this race getting bigger and better in future years, and should become a must-do race for midwestern ultrarunners,

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

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This inaugural race was held in a city park on a course that was on an approximately 1.25 mile loop of smooth, crushed limestone. Even though it was a small … MORE

This inaugural race was held in a city park on a course that was on an approximately 1.25 mile loop of smooth, crushed limestone. Even though it was a small race and run for the first time, it had a lot of amenities of larger, more established races such as chip timing and a well stocked aid station. We were able to park right along the course on the edge of the park, so there was easy access to anything we needed in our cars. A few people set up tents or shelters along the course, but I just put a chair out next to my car. Even though it was an urban park, there was plenty to see as we ran. On one side of the course there was a native, tallgrass prairie dominated by Big Bluestem. Later in the day, eastern cottontails could be seen along the edge of the prairie.

Swag included a nicely designed t-shirt in a neutral color and a nice medal. Later in the afternoon, the race director cooked hamburgers and made them available to the runners. Overall, the weather was pleasant and a good time was had by all.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Running all night in July in Missouri on a 400 meter track might seem appealing to some, but there are some advantages. The aid station is always available whenever you … MORE

Running all night in July in Missouri on a 400 meter track might seem appealing to some, but there are some advantages. The aid station is always available whenever you need it, and you can always see the location of your competitors. The Realfeel temperature this year was 108 degrees F. at the 6 pm start, but there was a little breeze on one side of the track. There were some scattered clouds, so at least the sun wasn’t bearing down on us before sunset. It seemed like it took quite a while to cool down after sunset, probably because of the humidity.

The timing company for the event was from Show Me Running Company, and they had a monitor at the start/finish that you could check at the end of each lap to see how many laps were completed. There was also a display of Christmas lights at the finish and Christmas music was played throughout the race. The aid station had a good selection of ultra food, but unfortunately, they let people reach in with their hands to take food, which is probably not a good idea during the Covid pandemic. There were relatively few participants, which was a shame considering this was a well-run and well-organized race. Top finishers were given hanging Christmas ornaments and runners were given a running shirt at packet pickup.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3
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I decided to run The Divide 25K, rather than my usual 50K due to the lack of an elevation profile in the race description and the extreme heat that we've … MORE

I decided to run The Divide 25K, rather than my usual 50K due to the lack of an elevation profile in the race description and the extreme heat that we’ve been having lately. The Divide 25K starts in Thompson Park (5725 feet) near Butte, MT, and after a short segment on a rail trail, heads up the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and then back through Thompson Park to the start. We got a respite from the heat, with a high of about 85 degrees when I finished before noon, but the elevation and hills did not disappoint. I started out very conservatively, and walked up a short 50 foot hill leading up to the rail trail at the start, but I still felt like I had sprinted a 400 yard dash when I got to the top. The rail trail was almost flat, but for the first mile, I still couldn’t run slowly for more than a few hundred yards without taking a break. After going through two tunnels and a high railroad trestle, we went onto the CDT and my breathing settled down. The CDT was relatively soft and smooth single track that reached a peak elevation of 6,470 feet. From there, the 25K dropped back down on rolling hills back to Thompson park and Sagebrush Flats where the race started. It was very scenic, but the panoramic views were spoiled by smoke from forest fires in Idaho. The total elevation according to Strava was 2,511 feet for the 25K. The 50K course was the same as the 25K except for a 7.5 mile out and back that led up to the summit of Homestake Pass. There were only two aid stations for the 25K, one about 5 miles from the start and the other about 1 mile from the finish, which left a big gap in between. We were warned beforehand about this and that we should carry plenty of water in a hydration vest or hydration belt. The 50K only had three aid stations, so it was largely self supported. There were no finisher awards unless you finished in first place, so don’t do this race if you get upset about not getting bling. The views alone were worth it though. I may even go back next year to attempt the 50K.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

There is just one hilly section on a short out and back, otherwise this race is flat, flat, flat. The number of runners seemed to be down this year, which … MORE

There is just one hilly section on a short out and back, otherwise this race is flat, flat, flat. The number of runners seemed to be down this year, which was surprising to me given that there still aren’t very many marathons offered after the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. None-the-less, there were plenty of well-supplied aid stations that were adequately staffed, but few spectators. The heat wasn’t too bad this year, and strawberry ice cream sandwiches were substituted for the traditional serving of strawberry shortcake. Otherwise, it was pretty much back to normal. Finishers were given a nice medal and short-sleeved shirts were given out at the packet pickup.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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This event was held at a private farm in a rural part of central Ohio. It was really well organized, but basic. The loop was exactly 1.5 miles, with one … MORE

This event was held at a private farm in a rural part of central Ohio. It was really well organized, but basic. The loop was exactly 1.5 miles, with one aid station at the start/finish. Snack foods and drinks were available, but little in the way of more substantial food for the first 9 hours or so that I was there. The race director said that pizza was going to be delivered, but I left early so did not eat any of it. Wash cloths with the wood splitter logo were given out as swag, and all participants were given a finisher’s award made on a 3D printer. In addition, all runners that achieved at least 50K were given a silver belt buckle. The course started out with just a few hundred yards of pavement going downhill, then a long stretch through the edge of a corn field, then it continued as single track through a shady, wooded stretch. Upon leaving the woods, we went along the other side of the corn field, then through a field along side a couple of small ponds, and then back to the start/finish. There was a good variety of running surfaces and scenery, but the small number of runners meant that it was a little difficult to find someone to run with. Overall, it was well organized, and I hope that this race continues for a long time in the future.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Running a Mainly Marathon race is more like a family reunion than a race. Both the runners and the race directors are very supportive, and it is difficult to walk … MORE

Running a Mainly Marathon race is more like a family reunion than a race. Both the runners and the race directors are very supportive, and it is difficult to walk away from one of these runs without making a friend or two. This course is not the most interesting one in the world, as it is sandwiched between the Black River and state highway 11 in Springfield. The river is scenic with lush green riparian vegetation, but on the other side of the trail you can see and hear traffic, so it isn’t exactly a wilderness experience. Because this is part of a series of 7 or 8 marathons in as many days, many of the participants are walking, so it is tempting to slow down and walk with other runners. Suffice to say it is difficult to get a PR in these races (runs). There are no awards for the fastest runners, but there is an award for the last runner to finish. Some do these races to hammer out a number of states in a short period of time, and others do it to add to their lifetime marathon or half marathon total. Others probably do it to see all of their other friends. In any event, these races are quite popular, so the race directors have definitely found a niche. If you are very competitive, these races are probably not for you, but if you just like to run with other people, you will probably like these races.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

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The 9 Hours for 9 lives ultramarathon was held at the Victor Apple Farm near Victor, NY to raise money for providing local veterinary care for stray cats. The course … MORE

The 9 Hours for 9 lives ultramarathon was held at the Victor Apple Farm near Victor, NY to raise money for providing local veterinary care for stray cats. The course was a 1.7 mile hilly loop around the apple farm and vicinity that seemed more like a 5K loop with the hills. The surface was mainly mowed grass, but it was packed down where the farm machinery drove around the orchard, so it was actually a pretty smooth surface. This was the first year for the race, so there were only 25 runners. The weather was nice, but it did get just a little bit warm in the afternoon, but not excessively hot. My goal was to run 50K, which I thought would be easy with 9 hours to do it in, but the hills said otherwise. I had to do 18+ loops to get to 50K, but with less than an hour to go, I only had 16 loops completed. I picked up the pace a little, and managed to finish 18 loops that totaled 30.6 miles with about 20 minutes to spare. Only completed laps counted, so I wasn’t able to get to 31 miles. So, although I was disappointed not to make my goal, I still managed to finish as the third place male overall. Aid station food was mainly snack food items, but a good selection of liquids were available for hydration. The finisher award was made of wood, but due to the small number of runners, awards were only given to the first place male and female runners. Hourly drawings were also held for door prizes for those that were running on the course. There was one nice view of the hills to the west at the high point of the course, otherwise it was typical farm scenery.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2
My Media

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Upon arrival at the Swan Lake Christian Camp, the site of the start of the Swan Lake Marathon, I was met with a cacophony of sounds of song birds. This … MORE

Upon arrival at the Swan Lake Christian Camp, the site of the start of the Swan Lake Marathon, I was met with a cacophony of sounds of song birds. This is one marathon where you don’t want to wear earbuds. First of all, you want to hear the sounds of the farms and nature, and also for safety as the course is open to vehicle travel, although traffic is very light on a Sunday in this rural area. About half of the course was paved roads and the other half dirt and gravel. Due to the gravel roads, I would recommend wearing a pair of gaiters to keep the dirt and gravel out of your shoes. I didn’t bring mine, but I wished that I had as the dirt mixed with the Trail Toes lube I put on my feet to make an abrasive mixture. The course starts out going around three sides of Swan Lake, and then goes south to the small town of Viborg, turns west for a couple of miles, and then heads back north to the camp for a total of 13.1 miles, so the marathon course this year repeated the loop twice. The scenery is typical southeastern South Dakota with fields of corn, soybeans, Swan Lake, and scattered farmsteads. If you like running in front of big crowds, this race is not for you. There were plenty of volunteers at the aid stations which were spaced about every 2 miles, but not many other spectators. After I finished the first loop and the half marathon runners headed across the finish line, I found myself alone despite being able to see almost a mile in all directions. I thought I could see another runner about a half a mile ahead of me during the last 5 miles, but I might have just imagined it. If you like small marathons and a chance to get a podium age group award, this is a good one to do. The camp does have air conditioned cabins that are available for runners to rent, and the camp staff served runners a delicious lunch after the race consisting of pork loin sandwiches, cheese potatoes, mixed fruit and berry salad, and cookie bars for a free will donation to the camp.

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The Pulse Endurance Run 48-hour race turned out to be a fantastic experience, but I have to confess that I was a little disappointed in the course. Because it was … MORE

The Pulse Endurance Run 48-hour race turned out to be a fantastic experience, but I have to confess that I was a little disappointed in the course. Because it was in a state park, I expected at least some single-track trails and smoother gravel trails. It was very flat and an easy course, but much of the course consisted of what I would call unimproved, single lane, dirt and rock roads. The rock wasn’t your typical crushed gravel either. It was the kind of rocks that you would expect to find along the Boise River which was adjacent to one side of the course. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that bad, but you had to pay attention to the trail or you could trip. There was even a short 100-yard stretch were it looked like someone picked all of the larger rocks out of the dirt road, but didn’t fill in the holes, which made for very uneven footing. There was also about a 1/4 mile stretch through a wet meadow with flooded grass. The trail through this stretch went around the side of the flooded areas, but as more and more runners went through the course , it ended up being quite muddy and wet. One the plus side, I do think it was a fast course that was runnable the whole way.

On the plus side, there was excellent runner support and bling. The one aid station at the start/finish of the 2.78 mile loop was well stocked with tailwind, water, soft drinks, hot water for tea or hot chocolate, and most importantly, coffee throughout the race. They also had typical snack food, PB&J sandwiches, grilled cheese, quesadillas, and at different times, takeout Chinese food, spaghetti, and pizza, just to name a few items. They also had a medic on site (which I didn’t need to use) and free massages from a local school of massage during the end of the last two days of competition.

There was some wildlife to be seen on the course, although I did not see any larger animals like deer or coyotes. One highlight for me was a Osprey that was at its nest on a platform on top of a power pole along the course. I saw it sitting along side of its nest several times, and also saw it disappear into the nest (presumably to lay an egg) during the second morning of the 48 hour race. There were also your typical songbirds along the course like the ubiquitous American Robin and iconic Black-billed Magpies. Interestingly, I didn’t see any Bald Eagles.

At the packet pickup which was one hour before the race start, I was given my bid and timing chip and a long-sleeved technical shirt. After I finished my race, I was given a pint beer glass, large duffle bag with the race name on it, and a large buckle for completing 100 miles. Over all, I have to say that I am very satisfied with completing 102.86 miles over two days and will have fond memories of the experience.

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I ran the inaugural Pound the Mound 30 mile run at Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN mainly as a tune-up for a longer run the following weekend. The … MORE

I ran the inaugural Pound the Mound 30 mile run at Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, MN mainly as a tune-up for a longer run the following weekend. The park is located on top of an escarpment of pink, 1.7 billion year-old, Precambrian Sioux Quartzite rock which appears as a dome along the top of the park. The course was a 10+ mile loop around the perimeter of the park and consisted mainly of wide, smooth, grass-covered trails with a few sections of rocky, technical single-track trails going up and down the escarpment. It was fun listening to the Canada Geese honking along the creek and the songbirds singing along the trail. There were two well-stocked aid stations along the 10-mile loop, so you never had to go more than 4 miles before reaching aid. Among the snack food items, they had delicious home-made breakfast burritos with potatoes, sausage, and egg, and chicken cordon bleu sandwiches at the finish. For hydration, they had water, Tailwind, and Coca cola at one of the aid stations. The low entry fee included a t-shirt and a home-made finisher pendant made out of Sioux Quartzite that can been seen all over the park. The only disappointment was that the buffalo were calving, so were in a different part of the park away from all of the people.

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I'm always skeptical when a race is described as ideal for beginners, as they are often more difficult than what you expect. This course was relatively easy as far as … MORE

I’m always skeptical when a race is described as ideal for beginners, as they are often more difficult than what you expect. This course was relatively easy as far as trail runs are concerned, and it lived up to its description. Yes, there were some roots in places, so like all trail runs, you have to pick up your feet and watch your step, but most of the trail was rather smooth sailing. It was also very scenic, even though most of the deciduous trees had not fully leafed out. There were some redbud trees in bloom, which were very pretty. I would like to see what this course looks like a little later in the year. The course was very well marked on the way out, but there was one spot on the way back where I didn’t realize that I had to go opposite the directions of the arrows to get back to the finish line. I ended up going around the same loop that I had gone before twice before I realized I was running in a circle. Fortunately, another runner came along and we figured out how to get back on the course to the finish. The medal was an amazing work of art, and the food at the finish was like most trail runs pre-covid. All in all it was a very fun race that I would do again if I have the chance.

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Some of you may be wondering, why would someone want to run for 6 or 7 hours around a 1.3 mile loop? Well, some of do it just because we … MORE

Some of you may be wondering, why would someone want to run for 6 or 7 hours around a 1.3 mile loop? Well, some of do it just because we like to run and would do it if we got the chance. The advantage of such runs is that they are usually fairly easy courses, there is access to an aid station every loop, and you get to see the other runners very frequently. Because you either catch up to other runners or they catch up to you fairly often, you get to know the other people you are running with. Thus, it becomes a social or even a family event.

This run is not unlike the Mainly Marathon races that have developed quite a following with a nucleus of the same core runners. They get to know each other very well and think of each other as family. This is the way it is with Runs with Scissors.

The race director is very outgoing and has a good sense of humor. The bling wasn’t much, but that’s not why most of us do these runs. The race course isn’t too far away from lodging and the Denver International Airport, so logistics are easy. I ended up staying in the Super 8 in Brighton, which was just a short drive to the race start. It wasn’t the fanciest hotel, but was okay for the night. The official race hotel was actually a lot further away, so I passed on that option. There were nice views of the snow capped Rockies in the distance, and the course was very flat. If I was able to find a good airfare, I would seriously consider doing it again.

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This is the second time I have run this race. To be honest, the reason that I signed up was the dirt cheap early registration fee. I think it was … MORE

This is the second time I have run this race. To be honest, the reason that I signed up was the dirt cheap early registration fee. I think it was only $45 when I signed up over a year ago. I had to defer to this year though due to the Covid pandemic. We weren’t able to stage inside the Celebration Hall like they usually do, but the weather was nicer this year, and the wait before the start wasn’t bad at all. I was lucky in that the weather was much nicer this year than during the last time I ran in 2019. I started out wearing a light wind jacket, but had to stop and take it off after only a few miles as I was sweating too much. It never really warmed up that much though, as there was a still breeze coming out of the north. I had a good run even though my training wasn’t that great during the prior week, and also having run a 100-mile race just a couple of weeks before. I ended up with the fastest time that I have run in the last several years, even though I didn’t feel like I was racing.

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This might not be the most scenic course, but you won't meet any more hospitable and friendly people anywhere. For such a small race, the aid station food and drink … MORE

This might not be the most scenic course, but you won’t meet any more hospitable and friendly people anywhere. For such a small race, the aid station food and drink were second to none. In the morning, we had freshly cooked pancakes with bacon and sausage. During the day there were hamburgers, pizza, and Mexican food. We weren’t able to go inside the Technical School this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we’re supposed to be outside running anyway, right?

The weather was almost perfect for running this year. The rain stopped just as the race started, and it remained overcast, but dry for the rest of the weekend. Except for just about one stretch, there was enough light to run without a headlamp. The pavement was kind of hard on my feet, but I suppose that is the price I had to pay for not getting in too many long runs in the months leading up to the race. Overall, it was a good weekend in which I made a lot of new running friends.

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I didn't have a lot of expectations for this race going in due to the small size and small-town location, but boy did they ever over-deliver. There were less than … MORE

I didn’t have a lot of expectations for this race going in due to the small size and small-town location, but boy did they ever over-deliver. There were less than 15 starters this year (but over 10 finishers to meet the 50 State Marathon Club requirement) and everyone finished. Race organization and amenities were second to none. They had a packet pickup the day before at the Hebron Community Center and had a complementary spaghetti dinner for participants. There was also an option to pick up your bib and swag at the shuttle pickup the morning of the race. There was a short shuttle ride to the start, which was at a turnaround at a historical marker for the Oregon Trail. We had a shotgun start, and ran around the turnaround before heading east parallel to the actual route of the Oregon Trail. There was a 10-15 mph headwind for the first 9-10 miles, but then we had the wind to our backs for the rest of the race. The route was very well marked with mile markers and signs at the turns, but they still had volunteers at each turn to make sure we stayed on course. Aid stations were every three miles, so if you need a lot of hydration, I’d recommend carrying a bottle, but it wasn’t really necessary with the cool temperatures. There was another short shuttle after the finish back to the Community Center where they had some light snack food and water. Swag consisted of a technical running shirt and a small, but nice medal. I was kind of disappointed with the number of runners, because I felt that the humble and hard working race organizers deserved better.

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When you hear that a course is on jeep roads, you probably think it will be an easy course. This one was far from easy though. After about 1/2 mile … MORE

When you hear that a course is on jeep roads, you probably think it will be an easy course. This one was far from easy though. After about 1/2 mile of downhill from the start of the 7.1 mile loop, we started about a 2 mile steady climb to the edge of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness area. This is where it started to get really scenic, but the trail became more technical with slick rock and rock shelves. After dropping down a steep draw, we then went back up a long hill that seemed to get steeper the further we went. After we got to the top, it started heading downhill until we got to the intermediate aid station, which was generously supplied with all kinds of drink, snack food, and PB sandwiches. The sand and rock road then continued downhill until we got to the road where we drove in and the rest of the course was relatively flat until we got back to the finish. Altogether, there was about 774 feet of elevation gain per 7.1 mile loop. After finishing up my 5th loop in the dark and having a difficult time seeing the course markers, I decided to call it a day and stop early. Both the main aid station at the start/finish and the intermediate one on the course were stocked like I was used to in the pre-covid days with real food as well as a wide range of snacks and energy gels. I still felt safe though, as the volunteers all wore masks and gloves. Bling included a shirt, a custom Boco trucker’s hat, and a small belt buckle on a ribbon. It was really well organized, and I can see myself going back again some day.

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This race's course reminded me a lot of the Prairie Spirit Trail Ultra in Kansas, but only better. The trail was more scenic, a little more rural, and had a … MORE

This race’s course reminded me a lot of the Prairie Spirit Trail Ultra in Kansas, but only better. The trail was more scenic, a little more rural, and had a lot of history. It also had slightly more incline, but only ever so slight. So little in fact, that you hardly knew you were going uphill. The trail this year was rock hard though, even the unpaved portions that were covered with crushed limestone. The limestone seemed to set up like concrete. I wore my trail shoes, but wished I had wore my road shoes. There was absolutely no way you could get lost on this trail. It was just a 15.5 mile out and 15.5 mile back course. The trail was well marked with sign posts every 1/4 mile. The aid stations were great with Honey Stinger products, bottles of Gaterade, water, and much more. We received a long-sleeved technical shirt at the packet pickup, and a wooden finisher’s award, a coffee mug, a 50K car magnet sticker, and a boxed lunch at the finish. The organizers of this race went all out, and I never would have guessed that it was an inaugural race. They started us in three waves, and had us stand on circles at the start to make sure we maintained social distance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The runners also wore masks at the start. My favorite sight on the course was a pair of old rail cars that had derailed into a creek bottom near the small town of Mineola, IA. One rail car had a couple of trees growing through it, but I was never able to find out how long ago the derailment occurred. All in all it was a delightful fall run with black squirrels along the trail, Northern Cardinals, and leaves falling all around.

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The Nebraska Marathon was held in Papillion, NE, a suburb of Omaha. The start was at Papillion-LaVista South High School, and dropped down to Walnut Creek Lake on a concrete … MORE

The Nebraska Marathon was held in Papillion, NE, a suburb of Omaha. The start was at Papillion-LaVista South High School, and dropped down to Walnut Creek Lake on a concrete bike path and then went around the lake. This was actually the best part of the trail and I enjoyed looking at the native prairie grasses that were tall as me along the trail. After we ran around the scenic lake and watched the sunrise, we then did two long out and backs in opposite directions. The concrete bike path went along Papillion Creek, which was more like a ditch than a stream. I was disappointed that there were no trees, so no shade. The trail was flat however, until we got back to the lake and climbed the steep hill back to the high school. The aid stations were 2-3 miles apart, but only had water and flavored water and no food. I forgot to bring my favorite energy gels, but luckily found two of them in my running bag that were left over from my last marathon. I still started hitting the wall in the last 6 miles, which may have been avoided if they had something to drink that had some carbohydrates. I’m not sure why, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they gave us our finisher medals at the packet pickup. It seemed to me that they could have let us pick one up at the finish without putting the volunteers at risk. I hope I’m not being too critical, because it was a good day for a run and I’m appreciative for the opportunity to run a marathon within driving distance from where I live. I hope I get a chance to provide some input to the race organizers, because I think this could be improved from a ho hum marathon to a very nice one. Don’t take my word for it though, give it a chance and give it a try.

I see that in prior years, this race was run through part of the old town in Omaha. I think that I liked the location for this race this year rather than running in old town Omaha.

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The start of this race was on a very fast downhill from the Wildcat Hills Recreation Area down to the valley floor on paved highway. We then turned east for … MORE

The start of this race was on a very fast downhill from the Wildcat Hills Recreation Area down to the valley floor on paved highway. We then turned east for 2 miles, then north for another 2 miles, and then back west again. Around mile 13, we started descending up to the Scottsbluff National Monument along the route of the Oregon Trail. This year, the wind funneled down through the gap in the bluffs and blasted us with 30 to 45 mph gusts. At one point, a tumbleweed even blew down the road right towards me before veering off at the last moment. It was tough going even after we were west of the bluffs on the downhill with the wind in our faces. We then looped around to the east again and turned onto a dusty dirt road which we followed around the north side of the bluffs back into town. The wind picked up the dust at times, making it tough to enjoy the views of the badlands-like terrain. I’m sure that in better weather, this would be a delightful stretch of dirt road. After we returned to town, we then headed south on a paved bike trail most of the way back to the finish. The wind made it difficult to appreciate the views, but they were breathtaking none-the-less. This is definitely the most scenic marathon in Nebraska, or perhaps even the midwest, and is a must-do race for any history buffs as it is steeped in the history of the Oregon Trail and the old West.

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We lucked on the weather for this Covid-19 postponed marathon. It was originally scheduled for May 16, 2020, but was postponed to September 12, 2020. Runners were given a temperature … MORE

We lucked on the weather for this Covid-19 postponed marathon. It was originally scheduled for May 16, 2020, but was postponed to September 12, 2020. Runners were given a temperature check at the packet pickup and had to wear a wrist band to show that they had the check. The 118 runners were divided up into 3 waves at the start to allow for sufficient distancing and were required to wear face coverings at the start. Once the race started, we were allowed to take off our masks. Due to the staggered start and the small field, runners became spaced out very quickly. There were a surprising number of volunteers who were stationed at every turn and at most intersections. Swag included a cow bell, a rather plain, but heavy finisher’s medal, and a zippered long-sleeved shirt. Post-race beef sliders were kindly provided by Nick’s Burgers, but they weren’t served at the finish line. Instead we had to go to their location for take out service. I had forgotten how pretty some of the trails were along the route, but this race is probably not for you if you like lots of spectators. Other than the volunteers, there were few people cheering the runners along the route.

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This was a very laid back, but yet well organized ultra. The race director and volunteers were very helpful and patient. It was a fundraiser for the local cross country … MORE

This was a very laid back, but yet well organized ultra. The race director and volunteers were very helpful and patient. It was a fundraiser for the local cross country teams, and so many of the volunteers were cross country runners, but they were very polite and helpful. You really couldn’t ask for more. With just one exception, the course was very well marked and easy to follow, which is not always the case for a road ultra. The race director was upfront about the course being long, and he was right. It was about 34 miles in length according to my GPS watch. It was a very scenic course that took us through the towns of Brainard, Loma, and Valpraiso, NE, and then back to Loma and Brainard, NE. About 70% of the course was on dirt or crushed gravel roads, 15% on a straight bike path with white crushed gravel, 10% on a cross country course around a lake, and 5% on paved roads. There were a lot of hills, but most were runnable. Swag included a long-sleeved t-shirt and a very nice natural walnut finisher’s award. I survived the heat this year, but just barely.

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Moorehead Pioneer Park, site of the Trail of the Dragon 50K and 50 mile ultramarathon, is a gem in a sea of terraced corn fields. Originally the site of the … MORE

Moorehead Pioneer Park, site of the Trail of the Dragon 50K and 50 mile ultramarathon, is a gem in a sea of terraced corn fields. Originally the site of the town of Ida Grove, the 258 acre park would seem to be too small for the site of an ultramarathon. However, the devious minds of the race organizers have succeeded in making it one of the most difficult challenges in the Midwest.

I did the 50K run, which consisted of a 1/2 mile out and back on a gravel road, followed by three 10 mile loops with a total of over 3,800 feet elevation gain. Just to give you an example of the frustrating nature of the course layout, there were 5 out and backs that consisted of going up a steep hill, followed by a turnaround that sent you straight back down the hill. Near the midpoint of the course, there were three of these out-and-back steep uphills in succession, two of which went up a steep sledding hill complete with a cable lift. Did I mention that they were steep? These out-and-backs were connected with sweet, mostly wooded single-track dirt trails, with the exception of two out-and-backs near the Maple River. One of these ran alongside a cornfield that added to the intense humidity that added to the difficulty of the run.

Even though this was an extreme challenge with the three H’s, heat, humidity and hills, the park was really beautiful. There was a beautiful little lake, in the middle of the “hollow,” complete with a family of endangered Trumpeter Swans, which seemed to be unafraid of the people around the lake. When I was finishing the last of my 3 loops, I was honored by the Trumpeter Swans swimming along beside me as I ran near the shore.

There were also several historical sites along the course, including a stagecoach inn and barn and an old school house. Along the schoolhouse, the race organizers set out school books for course markings. On another stretch of the course near a playground, stuffed animals were placed along the route, and finally, along another shaded stretch, someone had set up a cheering gallery composed of Barbie dolls. The trails that went through the grassy parts of park were very well mowed, and the single track parts of the course were also very well maintained without ruts.

A pasta feed was also provided at the packet pickup, with a choice of pasta with meat and a vegan version, along with a delicious Caesar salad with fresh cucumbers. Food was also provided at the finish inside the air conditioned Conservation Center which doubled at the location for the packet pickup.

Because I am no longer a big fan of ultramarathons with the heat and humidity of August, I doubt that I will be doing this one anytime soon. However, with a little arm twisting, I could be talked into going back again to do the Moorehead Park Mazathon, which is run on the same day as the ultras. The marathon is run on a slightly different course, which hopefully doesn’t have as many of the out-and-back hills.

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The M Hill 24 hour ultra is run on a hilly and rocky 3.8 mile loop that goes around the south side of the M Hill in Rapid City and … MORE

The M Hill 24 hour ultra is run on a hilly and rocky 3.8 mile loop that goes around the south side of the M Hill in Rapid City and climbs steadily along both sides of a long switchback up to the “M” near the summit. The “M” is a giant letter denoting that Rapid City is the home to the South Dakota School of Mines, the main engineering college in the state.

From the top of the ridge, the single track trail heads north and then goes downhill on a series of rocky switchbacks back to the start/finish area across Rapid Creek from Founder’s Park. Each loop has a total of about 525 feet of elevation gain, which makes for a challenging course. Laps were counted manually, but I didn’t hear of any accuracy problems. There was one aid station complete with volunteers, and finishers were given a wooden finisher’s award, along with a nicely designed t shirt with complementary rust brown and turquoise colors.

The 24 hour race started at 6:00 p.m. on Friday which made for a toasty first couple of loops, but the temperatures dropped down to a tolerable level at night. The next morning a cold front moved through which cooled temperatures by about 13 degrees.

The race was well run by the two race directors, and I would sign up for another one of their races if they offered any in the future. I’d have to think seriously about signing up for this again, as it was a very difficult and challenging course, In hindsight, I’m glad I did it once though,

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We were greeted by very pleasant weather for the Badlands 24 hour run. We were given the choice between running a 11.5 mile loop or a shorter, 2.4 mile loop. … MORE

We were greeted by very pleasant weather for the Badlands 24 hour run. We were given the choice between running a 11.5 mile loop or a shorter, 2.4 mile loop. Most of the runners chose to run the longer loop first, just so they could see the whole course. The scenery was great, with spectacular views from the top of the bluff. There were some pretty steep and long hills though, so after the first loop, most runners like me decided to do the shorter loop that had less elevation gain. I’m glad I did the longer loop first because of the scenery and wildflowers, but I could have probably gotten in a few more miles had I just run the shorter loop. The first half of the short loop was relatively flat, but there were a couple of short, steep, dips down into some draws. The second half had some long uphill stretches, but nothing too steep.

The timing system was flawless, the race director and volunteers were very encouraging, but the aid station food was rather limited. There was no hot food, even at night, probably in order to reduce the risk of spread of the
SARS-CoVid-19 virus. Water, Tailwind, bottled gatorade and an assortment of soft drinks in cans were provided for hydration.

The race director reported that there were a record number of runners in the solo division, probably a result of most of the other races being canceled this year. Even with the mountain bikers and relay runners, it was a pretty small race.

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Like most fixed-time races, the best reason to run this, besides getting to run in pleasant weather in winter, is the people you will meet. There are people from all … MORE

Like most fixed-time races, the best reason to run this, besides getting to run in pleasant weather in winter, is the people you will meet. There are people from all over the world, and you will get to see a number of endurance running legends. Most of them are very friendly too, so don’t be afraid to talk to them and say hello.

This year was a decade edition of Across the Years, so they added a 10-day run which is difficult to imagine anyone doing, yet there were many out there running day and night for 10 days. There are also elite athletes trying to break records and first timers just testing their limits. If you are a fan of fixed-time races, this is one to do at least once.

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Yes, 40 miles is a long distance to run, but it's on a road, so how bad could it be? Well, it wasn't that bad, but it was a pretty … MORE

Yes, 40 miles is a long distance to run, but it’s on a road, so how bad could it be? Well, it wasn’t that bad, but it was a pretty hilly course. Between miles 5 and 10, it was almost all uphill at about a 5-6% grade. There was also another long hill on the way back from the out and back course that was about a mile long. Combine this with the heat of late June and a lack of much shade, and it can be a challenge.

There were some nice views of the valley from up on the ridge that we ran over, and some fine looking farmland, but the scenery wasn’t anything to write home about. This is mostly a relay race, so there was mostly just water at the aid stations, except that they did provide some bottled Gaterade for the solo ultrarunners at a few of the aid stations.

When I finished, the race director handed me a nice, heavy, trophy, which was provided to all of the ultrarunners and gave me a whole pizza from Dominos. I was kind of surprised, but it was a nice touch.

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This race started at the historic Wakulla Resort in Wakulla State Park and consisted of five 10K loops for the 50K. After starting in the park, we exited the park … MORE

This race started at the historic Wakulla Resort in Wakulla State Park and consisted of five 10K loops for the 50K. After starting in the park, we exited the park and ran an out and back in opposite directions on a straight stretch of closed road before returning to the start. There wasn’t much to see along the highway except for the runners going in the opposite directions. There was also a ruck division this year, so it was fun to see all of the members of the armed service carrying their packs. There were aid stations spaced about 3 miles which was nice as I didn’t even have to carry a hydration bottle. The highlight of this race for me was walking down to the springs after the race and seeing the manatees as I had never seen them before. The springs were crystal clear and it looked like you could see 20-25 feet down. We were given a nice 3/4 sleeve shirt at the packet pickup and a medal at the finish. I enjoyed the race as it was a unique ecosystem for me, but it would have been nicer if it had been a longer loop or if it had made use of more of the trails in the park.

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I've run quite a few fixed time ultras all over the country this year, and this one was as well organized as any that I've done, and quite the bargain … MORE

I’ve run quite a few fixed time ultras all over the country this year, and this one was as well organized as any that I’ve done, and quite the bargain too. Even though the entry was by volunteer donation, the aid station and amenities were as good as any. It was apparent that the race director and volunteers were familiar with ultras and had a lot of experience, as they didn’t skimp on anything. The course was relatively flat, with just enough undulations to give your muscles some rest on the downhills without having to negotiate any steep uphills. It was also wide enough so that two people could run side by side with still room for faster runners to pass. Laps were counted with chip timing, which is surprising given that the entry was just by free will donation. This was kind of an old school event, which was kind of relaxing without music blaring at all hours of the day. I hope this race continues well into the future, as it appears to have a fairly loyal following.

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I ran the 24 hour option at the Day of the Dead Zombie Ultras managed by Clint Burleson of Deadrunning.net. Clint has extensive experience as a race director as he … MORE

I ran the 24 hour option at the Day of the Dead Zombie Ultras managed by Clint Burleson of Deadrunning.net. Clint has extensive experience as a race director as he was the original founder of Mainly Marathons, so he can run a race in his sleep. I wasn’t expecting much from the course, as it was advertised as a 1.1 miles out and 1.1 mile back on a paved path along the Rio Grande River in Las Cruces, NM. I was a little disappointed though, as there were just a couple of places where you could see the river because of dense shrub-like willow trees along the edge of the river. I was also surprised that there weren’t very many birds along the course, but maybe it was too late in the year. You could see the very stark and rugged Organ Mountains in the distance from the course, but the main attraction were the people that were running. Larry Macon, who holds the record for the most lifetime marathons was there, along with Jim Simpson, Eugene DeFronzo, Eugene Bruckert, and Ila Brandli who have collectively run over a thousand marathons. There was a good assortment of real foods such as sandwiches, and water and a Gatorade-like drink available for hydration. The air was crisp in the morning, but warmed up to nice running temperatures in the afternoon. The medals were very nicely designed and were a plus. All in all, it was a good day’s worth of running.

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This is a small, urban, fixed-time race, yet there are enough finisher's for it to count for the 50 State Marathon Club and Marathon Maniacs. It is a really nice … MORE

This is a small, urban, fixed-time race, yet there are enough finisher’s for it to count for the 50 State Marathon Club and Marathon Maniacs. It is a really nice venue, consisting of an approximately 1.9 mile paved loop around Gray’s Lake in Des Moines, IA. The path is wide with just enough undulations to give yourself a break by going down short hills. Overall I would describe it as a flat course though. There were also at least three bathrooms with indoor plumbing within a short distance from the course. It is in a park-like atmosphere, with some prairie plants along the shoreline and views of the skyline of Des Moines. The course was open during the day, so there were other pedestrians, cyclist, and fisherman on the course, but it was never a problem because of the wide path. The one and only disappointment for me was the aid station. The only liquids available were cola and water, and the food selection was rather limited to cookies, chips and candy. If you like to eat real food like PB&J sandwiches, you would need to bring your own. Bling consisted of a nice pullover sweatshirt that I was given after I finished. Despite the one shortcoming, I will remember the pleasant fall day, and the seemingly never-ending flock of tens of thousands of noisy Common Grackles that flew overhead for a long time. It was a well managed race that I hope to do again sometime.

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This race really exceeded my expectations. There was a farmer's market and chili cookoff at the packet pickup, which created a festive atmosphere. The shuttle bus pickup went off without … MORE

This race really exceeded my expectations. There was a farmer’s market and chili cookoff at the packet pickup, which created a festive atmosphere. The shuttle bus pickup went off without a hitch, but it was below freezing at the start which was at an altitude above 5,000 feet. My breathing was rather heavy right off the bat, but settled down after a couple of miles. It didn’t seem like I was running very fast at first, but in hindsight I should have started out a little slower or taken more frequent walk breaks from the start. The first half of the course was through mainly pine forest, but the vegetation an terrain got better the closer we got to the Susan River. The day before, I saw Scrub Jays, White-crowned Sparrows, Steller’s Jays, and some smaller birds that I couldn’t identify with certainty, but may have been Dark-eyed Juncos. Most of the finishing times were faster than the average trail run, so this would be a good race for a beginner or for someone wanting to PR. There was a good selection of food and drink at the finish, and the 50K finishers were given a ceramic drink coaster and a medal.

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The Beaudry Fall Classic is run on a 3.1 mile loop through riparian woodland along the Assiniboine River just west of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The fall colors were beautiful this year, … MORE

The Beaudry Fall Classic is run on a 3.1 mile loop through riparian woodland along the Assiniboine River just west of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The fall colors were beautiful this year, but the weather didn’t cooperate for us. It started raining the night before the 12 hour run started, and it continued throughout the morning, turning the trail into a wet and slippery mess. It would have been a fast course had it been dry, and I’d like to give it a try again in the hopes that the course was in better condition. The loop was mainly cross country ski trails which were nice and wide, but water pooled in the middle along much of the trail. I only saw two whitetail deer, but there were also a lot of grey squirrels to keep me entertained. The lap counters seemed to do an excellent job, and I didn’t hear of anyone who felt they were short changed. There was a good variety of food items at the aid stations, but they didn’t have any soda, just Nuun drink and water. I guess if you like to drink Coca Cola during an ultra, you would have to bring your own. There were also 6 hour, 24 hour and 48 hour options, but my travel schedule only permitted me to do the 12 hour.

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This was my second time at the Goose Bumps 24 hour run. This time we ran on a shortened 1.85 mile course as a result of high water. The course … MORE

This was my second time at the Goose Bumps 24 hour run. This time we ran on a shortened 1.85 mile course as a result of high water. The course wasn’t as interesting as the longer one that I ran on two years ago, but it was long enough that I didn’t feel like I had to run a zillion laps to hit my mileage goal. I ended up staying for the awards ceremony, which gave me a new perspective on the race. They started out with a door prize drawing, which lasted over an hour. They then presented cumulative mileage awards, which amounted to hoodies for those with over 100 miles cumulative mileage, and patches that could be added to the jacket for 200, 300, and up to 500 miles. They also served a catered taco bar and had a beer pod with four different craft beers (which they ran out of incidentally). The part that I liked the best about this race is all of the families that participated, both running and volunteering. There were people running with dogs, baby strollers, and whole families running together. It was really a refreshing change from the big race scene. If you like laid back races, this one is for you.

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The American Heroes Run is done on a short loop course of 1.05 miles. About half of the course is on smooth, crushed gravel, and the other half is on … MORE

The American Heroes Run is done on a short loop course of 1.05 miles. About half of the course is on smooth, crushed gravel, and the other half is on concrete sidewalk. The course goes around a scenic pond with a lot of Canada Geese, but there was little shade. The aid station was well stocked with a good assortment of food and drink. I was given a beautiful challenge coin for finishing an ultra distance, but there was no medal. The shirt was a cotton shirt that fit with the theme of the race. It was a small field, but there were some impressive performances.

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This was a small race on the Good Earth Farm, near Lennox SD. The trail that we were supposed to run on was a dirt track that was soaked the … MORE

This was a small race on the Good Earth Farm, near Lennox SD. The trail that we were supposed to run on was a dirt track that was soaked the day before with heavy rain, so we ran on a shorter loop that was mostly grass for the first few hours of the run. The race organizers managed to get the dirt path packed down enough that we were able to run the longer loop which was only about 1.35 miles. It was a soft path that was easy on the feet. The aid stations were stocked with the usual ultra fare, including vegan items, and there were plenty of things for families to do and explore on the farm. The owners had miniature donkeys, a miniature Dexter bull, chickens, and a couple of pigs.

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This race was day 3 of the inaugural Northeast Series organized by The Road to 50 Races. The course was another 1.1 mile out and 1.1 mile back course along … MORE

This race was day 3 of the inaugural Northeast Series organized by The Road to 50 Races. The course was another 1.1 mile out and 1.1 mile back course along a relatively straight, paved, and well-shaded bike path. This one had fairly good canopy cover along almost all of the course, but this year, it wasn’t really necessary as it rained for all but the last 5 minutes of my run. The rain was a welcome relief from the heat though, and I ran almost 30 minute faster than I did two days previously. One welcome addition at the aid station was freshly cooked bacon, which gave me heart burn at one other race, but this time I ate it without any problems. This race went off again without a hitch, except George and Kate’s large TV monitor on which they projected the split results got wet and quit working. There were just enough marathon and 50K runners for the race to count for the 50 State Marathon Club, but not enough starters for it to count for leveling up in the Marathon Maniac club. Hopefully, they will be able to grow this race in the future as it is a nice venue for this type of an event.

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This was the first race in the inaugural Northeast Series organized by The Road to 50 Races. They provided water and Gatorade the afternoon before the first race of the … MORE

This was the first race in the inaugural Northeast Series organized by The Road to 50 Races. They provided water and Gatorade the afternoon before the first race of the series at the packet pickup, along with a veggie tray. We were given a cotton t-shirt, a custom bib, and our timing chip. Due to the forecast of a heat advisory, the marathon and 50K runners were given the option of a 4 a.m. start, which was a good idea given the weather. The course was a 1.1 mile out and 1.1 mile back on a concrete bike path. The first 1/3 of the relatively flat course was in the open with few trees, but the rest was well shaded. The course paralleled the Blackstone River, but we did go by a fenced water treatment plant. Considering this was an inaugural series, the race went off without a hitch and the timing system recorded our splits for every out and back. The one draw back is that the timing system used passive integrated transponders, so we had to touch the wrist band onto a touch pad for it to work, so you had to come to a complete stop every 1.1 miles. The medals were customized for each race of the series and consisted of a hollow ring with a solid disk in the middle that indicated which race of the series was run along with the distance. Awards for the top 3 in each distance were given except for the 50K because there weren’t enough starters.

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This race consisted of three loops that all began and ended at a central point that had a well-stocked aid station. The first loop was mostly single track that meandered … MORE

This race consisted of three loops that all began and ended at a central point that had a well-stocked aid station. The first loop was mostly single track that meandered through lush woods. This was probably the hilliest an most difficult section. The second loop traveled through more open country which was more exposed. The third loop also was more exposed and went through the town of Coon Rapids, then a long, long climb over the last three miles which finally dropped down to the finish. This race really wiped me out. I’m not sure if it was the heat or the hills or a combination of both. It was a well organized race though, and the finisher awards were unique plaques made out of weathered barnwood. They also gave out waterproof drop bags and I received one even though I registered at the last minute.

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Although this out and back course was in the middle of town, it was well shaded and lined with plenty of trees which kept the temperatures tolerable. There was only … MORE

Although this out and back course was in the middle of town, it was well shaded and lined with plenty of trees which kept the temperatures tolerable. There was only one sharp turn other than the turnaround, so one could stride out and get some speed. My only criticism was that the cones were laid out in kind of a zig zag near the finish, and I wasn’t sure whether to run on the outside of them or the inside. It might have been helpful to have some arrows.

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Day 3 of the Mainly Marathons Independence series was held on the grounds of the Daniel Boone Homestead Historical site. I think this run was made a lot more meaningful … MORE

Day 3 of the Mainly Marathons Independence series was held on the grounds of the Daniel Boone Homestead Historical site. I think this run was made a lot more meaningful to me because I arrived early the day before and took a guided tour of the home where Daniel Boone was born. The house was modified and added onto significantly by two other subsequent owners, but is still the birthplace of an American frontier explorer. The course itself was mostly paved road, but there was a short segment of gravel that was maybe 0.25 miles long. This gravel segment went by a barn and a building which held a blacksmith shop. There were also sheep that roamed the grounds, and I saw a snapping turtle that crawled out onto the gravel path as well as a fawn just on the other side of a railed fence. This would be a great place for history buffs and was a nice place to run. There was a bit of a parking problem due to heavy rains the day before and on the morning of the race, but the race directors were able to work everything out.

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This was a typical Mainly Marathons run, except there was a little more variety of running surfaces. Like many of their races, the course consisted of a short out and … MORE

This was a typical Mainly Marathons run, except there was a little more variety of running surfaces. Like many of their races, the course consisted of a short out and back. This allows them to run longer races without having a large number of aid stations and a large number of volunteers. It works if you know a lot of the people, but can get boring at times. The course started out by going around 3 sides of a paved parking lot, then across a grassy area, then through a dirt trail, then a paved road that alternated with a couple of gravel sections. The park was nice and green with verdant trails, but with the 16.5 out and backs that I had to do for the 50K, it was a little monotonous. The humidity really sapped my strength, but the race organization can’t do much with the weather. There was a good crowd this year and the aid station food was good.

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This was a really well run event held on the concrete trail around Wascana Lake. It was by far the most enjoyable fixed-time event that I have ever done. I … MORE

This was a really well run event held on the concrete trail around Wascana Lake. It was by far the most enjoyable fixed-time event that I have ever done. I felt really welcomed by all of the participants, volunteers, and race officials. The trail was located in a park around scenic Wascana lake. There were a lot of geese in the park that weren’t afraid of humans, so runners had to weave around them at times, but they were fun to watch, especially the ones with large numbers of goslings. There was also a totem near the course that I took time to photograph, as well as several bronze statues. There were also fountains in the lake, the Beaux-Arts Saskatchewan Legislative building, and the Wascana Center where people were renting rowing boats to take out on the lake. There was a lot going on which made for nice distractions, but on the other hand, near the end of the day the trail got busy with pedestrian and bike traffic. Also, there was a Run for Women that shared the trail during the middle of the morning with hundreds of participants walking 4 or 5 wide on the path. Fortunately, there was room to run around them, but it seemed strange that they would allow such a large race at the same time as an ultramarathon. Despite this downside, it was a very well-run event that I would do again if I have the chance.

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The 50K event involved 3 loops of 9.4 miles plus one short out and back around Youngs Lake, the watershed for Seattle, WA. It was a shame that the whole … MORE

The 50K event involved 3 loops of 9.4 miles plus one short out and back around Youngs Lake, the watershed for Seattle, WA. It was a shame that the whole lake is surrounded by a high chain-link fence with barbed wire over the top. Otherwise, I think it would be a pretty course. As it was, I kind of felt like I was running in a prison. The course was very hilly with long rolling hills. The weather is usually mild in Renton, WA though, and this year was no exception. We lucked out in that it was dry most of the day. Swag included a short-sleeved shirt, a butt, and a medal. It was inspiring to see the runners doing 100 and 200 miles, but this wasn’t one of my favorite races.

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The scenery and wildlife were the best part of this race. It was a tough one though. There were some steep hills, some with switchbacks, but there were some short, … MORE

The scenery and wildlife were the best part of this race. It was a tough one though. There were some steep hills, some with switchbacks, but there were some short, steep climbs too. There were also stretches with nothing but solid golf-ball sized sharp rocks. The worst part of this was that because it was a 4.79 mile loop, you had to run the hills and the technical sections multiple times. The first 1.2 miles of the course were relatively flat and smooth though. It was when we got near the end of the peninsula where things got interesting. This was where the switchbacks started that led up to the overlook, which was a new addition to the course this year. The addition was a short side loop to the top of a rocky knoll overlooking Payette Lake. Even though it was a tough climb, the view was worth it. Even though there weren’t many other runners to keep me entertained, I enjoyed watching all of the wildlife including mule deer, red squirrels, ruffed grouse, sandhill cranes, bufflehead, chipping sparrows, ravens, American robin, and yellow-rumped warblers. The race was very low key, with no bling, but if you like to run by yourself in the great outdoors with spectacular scenery, this is the one for you.

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