Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
5
(1 Ratings)(1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
5
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
3
The Trail of the Dragon will take place along with the Moorehead Park Trail Mazathon. Course will consist of 10 mile loops on single track dirt and mowed meadow through the rolling hills of our beautiful historic park. Participants can expect challenging hills and beautiful scenery while running well-marked and … MORE
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    bioprofsd FIRST-TIMER '20

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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  1. Races
  2. Trail of the Dragon 50K & 50 Mile Run