The Hennepin Hundred is Illinois’ only point-to-point, all-trail ultramarathon, a true Illinois adventure from Sterling, Illinois on the Rock River to Colona, Illinois near the mighty Mississippi, along the historic and beautiful Hennepin Canal. Flat and fast, the 50- and 100-mile courses follow the 104-mile Hennepin Canal State Trail, Illinois’ …
The Hennepin Hundred is Illinois’ only point-to-point, all-trail ultramarathon, a true Illinois adventure from Sterling, Illinois on the Rock River to Colona, Illinois near the mighty Mississippi, along the historic and beautiful Hennepin Canal.
Flat and fast, the 50- and 100-mile courses follow the 104-mile Hennepin Canal State Trail, Illinois’ longest multi-use trail, across historic locks and lift bridges, past the autumn corn, picturesque farms and postcard towns of northwest Illinois. It’s a perfect course for a PR run, a first 50 or 100, or for chasing a world’s fastest time!
The Mule 50k is a point to point night time trail race! No pacers allowed, you will need a headlamp.
It’s a beautiful run, a perfect setting for a PR or first-time finish. Runners are cheered, encouraged and supported by 150 warm-hearted volunteers, many who are ultra runners themselves. At night, the stars above are magnificent.
It’s a race that engages you in something larger. Running the Hennepin Hundred benefits Trails for Illinois, the tiny non-profit that works to improve the Hennepin Canal State Trail and other non-motorized trails statewide. You are running to benefit the Illinois trails we love.
Great for a first ultra
I decided I was crazy enough to try an ultra and at the recommendation of many friends, decided to run the 50 Miler at Hennepin. The course was easy (if … MORE
I decided I was crazy enough to try an ultra and at the recommendation of many friends, decided to run the 50 Miler at Hennepin. The course was easy (if that is possible for 50 miles) … flat and a well-maintained trail along a canal. The scenery was pretty but did get a bit monotonous (we’re talking 50 miles here). The support crews were awesome and enthusiastic throughout, as is their reputation. Race Director did an amazing job. Would definitely do this one again (planning to come back potentially as early as 2020) and a great course for a first ultra.
Flat and fast course
I was actually dreading this run on my drive out to Illinois as it rained most of the day on Friday, and the forecast was for rain off and on … MORE
I was actually dreading this run on my drive out to Illinois as it rained most of the day on Friday, and the forecast was for rain off and on during the race. The weather gods were kind to us though, as the rain held off until about 7 hours into the 50K run. The temperatures were cool and the trail was dry which was about perfect conditions for an endurance run. This race is a point-to-point run along the Hennepin Canal. Because I was by myself, I had to ride the shuttle bus, which left Colona, IL at 2:30 p.m. for the 5:00 p.m. start. I’m not sure why we left so early as we had to stand around for about an hour and a half after I signed a waiver form and picked up my packet. It was kind of nice though to meet some of the other runners and talk about the upcoming race. I quickly spotted Lorelei, another Raceraves Lunatic that Mike Sohaskey asked me to keep an eye out for and say hi. I started out in the back of the pack and had no problem keeping up with the mass of runners ahead of me. I started out taking short walking breaks after about a mile, and continued to do so for the rest of the race. By the time we got to the second of the well-supplied aid stations, it was already starting to get dark, but I delayed putting on my headlamp until it was almost pitch black out. My legs started stiffening up by the third aid station, so I sat down and ate some boiled potatoes for a few minutes, which definitely helped. I then yo-yoed with two different groups of runners until the last 10 miles, then proceeded to catch up to them and finally pass them at the final aid stations. I missed a sub-7 hour finish because of the extended break I took at the third aid station, but still finished with my fastest splits of the second half for the last three miles. The aid stations had water, Tailwind, coffee, and several types of soft drinks. Some of the food items included grilled cheese, broth, gels, cliff bars, pizza, and boiled potatoes. The volunteers were very enthusiastic and didn’t hesitate to offer help with anything the runners needed. The medal was very nice with a glow-in-the -dark keychain that you could remove to use with your keys if you wanted. The shirt was very nicely designed as well. Although the course was somewhat monotonous, the race was well managed with excellent amenities. The one criticism that I heard several times on the course was a scarcity of porta potties at the aid stations, but that wasn’t a problem for me.
A gorgeous point to point ultramarathon
This race has three distance options: 50K, 50M, and 100M. There is also a 100M relay. I ran the 50K. There are a lot of neat things about this race. … MORE
This race has three distance options: 50K, 50M, and 100M. There is also a 100M relay. I ran the 50K.
There are a lot of neat things about this race. First, it is a point to point, rather than a loop. The 50K is entirely along the canal and it starts at 5pm which means this is mostly a night race. This means you have to soak in the visual beauty in the few hours of daylight you have; then you listen to nature’s beauty the rest of the night. The canal is extremely dark. While we had headlamps, you can’t see much outside the boundary of your light. Periodically, I would turn off my lamp and just stare up at the stars. I heard at least two species of owls for many miles. I dodged frogs leaping across the trail. It’s truly a sensory experience unlike any other.
Also, the 50K has an 18 hour cut-off. 18 HOURS!!!!!! Seriously, you can’t not finish this. This makes it great for a first time ultra runner. Speaking of which, they give ultra-virgin shirts to those who finish their first ultra here.
The aid stations are 10K apart, give or take. Though the last is only 5K away from the previous station and 1.7 miles from the finish. Only every 2 or 3 have potties. Every aid station has great, enthusiastic volunteers. Racers can prepare drop bags to be had at specific stations. Very handy so you don’t have to lug all your stuff around. They will then take your bags to the finish line. The selection of food and beverage was amazing and plentiful. There were pizza stations. There was a pancake and sausage station. And a bunch of others….including a Jim Beam station – gasp!
The course itself is crushed limestone which can be tricky to navigate. Beware the black walnut “tennis balls”, acorns and other ankle twisters. Otherwise, it is wide and it was not at all muddy even though it had been flooded the night before.
The swag was tops! The tech shirt was Star Wars inspired. I even got a headsweats hat in my swag bag. What a surprise! A very nice custom water bottle and your choice of stickers. The merch was nice, too. I bought a headsweats tank top. As for awards, 100M finishers get a huge buckle and a plaid button-down finisher shirt. 50M get a smaller buckle. 50K get a keychain. Each distance has its own medal.
There were 400 registered for this race. I thought that was just the right size. I met new friends, including a fellow Raving Lunatic, Tim. A FELLOW RAVING LUNATIC! How great is that?!?! Proof positive that this is a worthy race.
Logistics is easy. There are plenty of hotels. Plenty of parking.