Overall Rating
Overall Rating (6 Reviews)
4.7
(6 Ratings)(6 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
2.5
Shadow of the Giants features scenic historic trails through the Sierra National Forest. The 50K run takes you past 3000 year old Giant Sequoias in the famous Nelder Grove. The brand new 20K run course takes you on many of the same trails as the gorgeous 50K course. Elevation is … MORE
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H (°F) 73 76 64 79 87
L (°F) 50 48 47 51 57
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Recent reviews

    CSohaskey FIRST-TIMER '17

    I’ve run a lot of races and this has to be the most beautiful course I have ever run. It was run through the pine forest of Fish Camp right … MORE

    I’ve run a lot of races and this has to be the most beautiful course I have ever run. It was run through the pine forest of Fish Camp right outside of Yosemite. I stayed in the onsite dorm room type lodging in a room full of bunk beds. That had both good and bad points. Snoring was an issue, but I was just meters away from the starting line in a room full of other runners.

    The race features about 5 hills of various lengths but none too long or too steep. The course elevation ranged from the 5,037 ft at the starting line, up to 6,286 at the top of the second hill. There were only a few technical spots on the course; most of it was wide fire road. There was one water crossing which was a lot of fun. It was icy cold water almost up to my shorts which left my feet numb by the time I got the other side.

    After a steep but short rocky single track the course leveled off for a bit. This was one of those magical trails with the smell of pine everywhere and the most amazing sights at every step. Around 15 miles I started seeing the giant redwood trees. I noticed the first one when I went around a corner and a runner that I had been chasing was just standing there staring at it. I had to stop also.

    Finally I got to the Shadow of the Giants 1 mile loop. This goes through Mariposa Grove, the site of many giant sequoia trees. I admit I walked this loop to get a good look at them.

    This could be a fast course but I was continually distracted by the scenery. My fault, but I am not complaining.

    There were not many support stations, but with the weather we had they were more than adequate. And they were well stocked. The race was very well organized. A nice bonus was the onsite showers for after the race.

    The swag was nice. I got a great shirt and a wooden medal. At the finish line they handed out cold towels. Mostly I got amazing memories of a stunning course (also a lot of pictures). I highly recommend this course.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    Profile photo of Julian Cruz
    chef_julian FIRST-TIMER '16

    This was my first Ultra and I couldnt have been happier. This course is beautiful and near an iconic national park. There are hills and downhills that make this race … MORE

    This was my first Ultra and I couldnt have been happier. This course is beautiful and near an iconic national park. There are hills and downhills that make this race beautiful and challenging for novice and experts alike. The aid stations are well stocked and the volunteers rock them with an awesome attitude. Towards the end of the race you will take a small loop that is the highlight of this race and that is experiencing sequoias…these threes are amazing and impressive. There course is in a month that if its overcast the temperatures will be very pleasant through out the day. there is no swag for finishing but who cares, the views and the experience of this race is what matters. The markings on the trail are visible and there is always people around. For sure will do this race again

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 06, 2017 at 12:35pm

    Congrats on conquering your first ultra, Julian! You certainly picked an awesome location to do it. Thanks for taking the time to share your helpful review – keep running strong… MORE

    Congrats on conquering your first ultra, Julian! You certainly picked an awesome location to do it. Thanks for taking the time to share your helpful review – keep running strong and testing those limits! LESS

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    chef_julian Sep 06, 2017 at 4:21pm

    Thanks Mike!, but for some reason I got the review mixed up...this was my second year running it. But it is still my favorite to go Ultra and probably will… MORE

    Thanks Mike!, but for some reason I got the review mixed up...this was my second year running it. But it is still my favorite to go Ultra and probably will make it a tradition to run it every year possible. I love the organization and course. You guys rock!...Baz choose his successor wisely...you guys have kept Shadow of the Giants a run to keep close to your heart and to meet other runners that have the same mentality. See you next year! LESS

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    csaba.toth.us FIRST-TIMER '16

    The scenery is breathtaking. I learned a lot about giant sequoias, I sacrifized a ton of time to read signs on the trail and stop at every giant. The weather … MORE

    The scenery is breathtaking. I learned a lot about giant sequoias, I sacrifized a ton of time to read signs on the trail and stop at every giant. The weather was just perfect, the trails is great. There is a river crossing, next year I’ll cross that bare feet. The organizers are unique, funny characters. It’s very close to Fresno. Will go next year for sure again. My watch measured a little less distance then 30miler.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Baz has finished his last year as Race Director of SOTG. I wasn't really sure if I should do this race, coming off of a surgery, but I didn't want … MORE

    Baz has finished his last year as Race Director of SOTG. I wasn’t really sure if I should do this race, coming off of a surgery, but I didn’t want to miss Baz and his shenanigans, and last hurrah!

    SOTG starts at Fish Camp, 5,000 ft of elevation. It is close to Yosemite and the scenery is gorgeous. This year I decided to get the full experience and stay at the dorms instead of a hotel. The dorm was $20 a night, and very comfortable. The roommates in my dorm had some issues. Anger issues to be exact. It was kind of crazy, but we all ended up starting and finishing the race. I don’t think this is the norm, but if figures my dorm would have the issue. I would probably stay in the dorms again, but there is something to be said for having your own privacy at a hotel. There were a few people who camped out or car camped. So, that is an option too. The ladies bathroom and showers are not close to the dorms, so it is important to bring a headlamp or flashlight with you. Mosquitoes were really bad this year, so be prepared for that too! Friday night dinner is always nice. I think it is worth the money, and not having to worry about where to eat the night before the race, is a plus. I like getting up there the night before, but I did have a friend show up the morning of! Pre-race instructions are given the night before. Baz is a riot, and you never know what is going to come out of his mouth next. I have no idea what the new RD will be like, but Nathan was there, and Baz has high hopes for his taking over the race next year.

    Okay, about the race. It is VERY low-key. If you are expecting a lot of fanfare and extravagance, this is not going to be the race for you. You do get a shirt and bib (I was lucky to get mine autographed by Baz) no medals. The post race awards, they give out glasses and prizes. They also have a 20k “fun run”, no bibs were given, as they were not timed. I opted for the early start because I really wasn’t sure what to expect with my time this year. There were quite a few of us this year, starting early at 6am. Last year it was a lot warmer out. This year was perfect weather. The only downside to the cooler weather is that the mosquitoes were bad. Really bad. I am so glad I thought to bring repellent with me this year. The race course is a variation of fire road, gravel, pavement, lovely single-track, river crossing, and technical/rocky terrain. You also get amazing views and the course runs through the Shadow of the Giants. 3,000 year old, gorgeous Sequoias! Baz is known for changing up the course a bit every year, but you always go through SOTG.

    The Aid Stations are spread out nicely, there is one area that is a bit of a stretch, but Baz warns you about that in the pre-race information so you are prepared for that. We did have a surprise this year. There was an “unofficial” AS located about mile 20. They had everything out there for us, I mean everything. :0) I didn’t partake in some of the more popular drinks, but the music and energy from that AS was fantastic. It was fun.

    One thing I really like about this course is the last couple of miles are single-track with really nice, soft trails. You can hear the people at the finish, and it just has such a nice gradual descent to the finish area, that it makes it an easy finish (for me). There is always one or two trees you have to climb over before the finish and that makes for some funny photos if you can catch someone trying to get over the trees on tired legs.

    I like using this race as training run, it is the perfect elevation to help kick start my ultra season. If you have not done this race, you should at least try it once. I don’t think there is another race out there like it, or at least that I am aware of. I am planning on going next year, mainly to see what the changes will be with the regime change. I sure hope Baz is there, he really is a legend.

    I ended up finish about 20 minutes slower than last year. I was happy with a finish, and will maybe try for a PR next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2
    My Media

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    Tessa FIRST-TIMER '15

    I signed up for this race as a training run for my first 50 miler. I live 4+ hours away, so I had to take Friday off in order to … MORE

    I signed up for this race as a training run for my first 50 miler. I live 4+ hours away, so I had to take Friday off in order to make the pre-race spaghetti feed. It was well worth the drive, but this year I am planning on staying in the dorms to prevent having to drive back and forth from a hotel. The race organizer is a TRIP. Truly Ridiculous In Person, and much loved. He is an icon, and people go back year after year, just to experience Baz! He mentioned that he was not organizing the race after 2015, so I’m not sure what role, if at all, he is playing this year. I sure hope he remains a part of the race. Again, this race is very low key. They offer an early start, which I took full advantage of because I was worried about cutoffs (as I usually am). The course markings were good, “interesting” markings, as shown in photos, but we had plenty of light at the start. I spent a lot of time by myself during this race. This is not uncommon once the front runners pass me up. The views when you get to Nelder Grove is breathtaking, I wish I had taken more photos. There was one river crossing that was pretty fun too! There are plenty of trees to jump/climp/crawl over/under, and parts that are very technical. This was my 2nd time to…yes, I kissed the trail. It happened pretty early in the race between miles 13-14. I’m really surprised I didn’t knock myself out, I definitely saw stars. There wasn’t anybody around, so I had to scrape myself off of the trail and trudge on. I knew I had about 6 miles to the next AS, so I decided I would make a decision once I got there, if I should continue on. I saw one runner during this time and she just looked at my face, winced, and kept running. Later, she came up to me and apologized for not realizing how badly I was hurt. Well, I did eventually get to the AS. They took great care of me, and I decided that although it hurt to run (bouncing hurt), I could power-hike and shuffle without too many grunts and groans. I ended up finishing the race, and made the cutoffs. So, I would say that they have very generous cutoffs (especially using the early start). The AS are very remote, I would suggest carrying what you can as far as items you like to eat. They had plenty to eat, just not a lot of variety. I tend to carry a lot on my own, so this wasn’t an issue for me. The food post-race is really good though 🙂 As you get close to the final stretch of the race, they warn you about the fallen trees, and how hard it is to climb them when your legs are tired. No joke! I swear I needed a ladder for the last one (photo attached). I enjoyed seeing people come in after I finished. The way the race is setup, they have benches aligned with the finish area, so you can sit and watch people come in. At the same time, they are announcing the winners. The atmosphere at the finish is like a party/picnic. I’m looking forward to this race in 2016! Oh, one last thing. I ended up taking a trip into Yosemite after the race on Sunday. This gave me an opportunity to shake out my legs. So, if you have friends or family with you, you can do the race on Saturday, and enjoy a fun day of hiking on Sunday. Perfect weekend, even though I was solo for this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
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    bioprofsd FIRST-TIMER '15

    The race director is somewhat eccentric, but what a wonderful place to have an ultramarathon! This is a must-do race for those who like to do 50Ks. MORE

    The race director is somewhat eccentric, but what a wonderful place to have an ultramarathon! This is a must-do race for those who like to do 50Ks.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1
    My Media

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