Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
5
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
4
Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run presented by Clif Bar has become the most sought after 50K in the United States for veterans and novices alike. The breathtaking trails, spirited aid stations, amazing views and pure fun, make this an adventure you won’t want to miss. After your run, kick … MORE
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    Profile photo of Mike Sohaskey
    Mike Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '17

    BOTTOM LINE: Way Too Cool earns its name, from the awesome scenery to the race day temperatures to the chilly water that awaits at every stream crossing. As the largest … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Way Too Cool earns its name, from the awesome scenery to the race day temperatures to the chilly water that awaits at every stream crossing. As the largest trail race in the country, it’s a bucket list event for serious dirtbags. And you may never find a more scenic and diverse course than the network of trails you’ll follow on your 30+ mile journey along the Middle Fork of the American River Canyon and through the Auburn State Recreation Area. The North Face Endurance Challenge, my benchmark for trail races in California, is a much different course than WTC—its jaw-dropping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge notwithstanding, the trails and scenery at TNFEC are less varied than at WTC.

    The reasonably challenging course (4,000 ft of elevation gain/loss) is predominantly single-track with no two-way traffic, so slower runners need never worry about the possibility of colliding with speedier oncoming elite and sub-elite runners. There’s even significant overlap (roughly 12 miles) with the iconic Western States 100 Trail. Along the way you’ll have the occasional croaking of the locals (it’s frog mating season in Cool) to relax your mind and remind you that you’re far away from the chaotic hustle and bustle of urbania. Plus, in early March you can be confident of cooler race day temps—the real variable when it comes to the weather is how wet you’ll get.

    The icing on the cake at WTC is… well, the icing on the cake. Cupcake that is, since you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the race’s signature frog cupcakes at the finish line festival. What better way to quickly normalize blood sugar levels?

    PRODUCTION: Smooth sailing with no real complaints. Pre-race packet pickup gave us an opportunity to support the local Auburn Running Company, which feels like a shrine of sorts to the iconic Western States 100 Endurance Run.

    Race day itself flowed seamlessly: the course was well marked with ribbons, leaving no chance for a wrong turn even after my mind switched over to auto-pilot mode in the later miles. And the finish-line festival offered one of the more interesting assortment of vendor tents, with the presenting sponsor Clif Bar joined by GU, Camelbak, Dickey’s BBQ, Red Bull, Sufferfest Brewing, Salomon, Rock Tape, KaiaFit, Squirrel’s Nut Butter (great to prevent chafing!) and Monsters of Massage.

    Aside from the number of stream crossings, the only real issue for most runners will be the sparsity of aid stations, which were few and far between at miles 8, 14, 19, 26 and (I think) 29. Thanks to the cooler temps I didn’t need to carry my own hydration, but I did bring my own baby food pouches just in case I felt my blood sugar dropping.

    *A note about parking: At our pre-race dinner the night before (at La Fornaretta, a comfy Italian restaurant in nearby Newcastle), there was anxious discussion about how early folks—including several WTC veterans—were planning to arrive the next morning to secure a good parking spot. Many folks planned to show up over two hours early and nap in their cars, just so they’d be assured of a parking spot as close to the start line as possible. Not willing to forego that much sleep but wanting to play it safe, Katie and I decided to show up just over an hour before the start (way early for us)—and we ended up parking easily in the empty “overflow” lot of the local Holiday Market, no more than a five-minute walk from the start line. Other cars continued to park near us for the next hour or so as we sat waiting. IN OTHER WORDS, PARKING IS EASY NO MATTER WHAT TIME YOU GET THERE. Cool is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town so there’s no traffic, even on race day. Many runners park directly adjacent to the fire station (start line) on St. Florian Ct, which the race organizers close to traffic an hour or so before the race, But there’s no need to park that close unless maybe you’re expecting heavy rain and want immediate access to your car after the race. And you’ll benefit much more from the two+ hours of extra sleep than from the primo parking spot.

    SWAG: Not much to recommend here. Honestly, the shirt was awful—a thin, poorly fitting Greenlayer tee that went immediately into the donation pile. Luckily the finisher medal was better, small and simply designed with the race name and frog logo (apparently the medal is the same every year, the only difference being ribbon color). The swag was the only aspect of the race that wasn’t way too cool, though trail races get the benefit of the doubt since trail runners tend not to be swagophiles like the typical road runner. If only cupcakes counted as swag…

    Want to know more about the WTC 50K? Check out my race report at http://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2017/04/19/way-too-cool-50k-race-report/

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    Greergal9 FIRST-TIMER '15

    This was my 3rd 50k and I highly recommend it. The course is beautiful with lots of water crossings. It is very runnable except maybe goat hill. The aid stations … MORE

    This was my 3rd 50k and I highly recommend it. The course is beautiful with lots of water crossings. It is very runnable except maybe goat hill. The aid stations had plenty of food and two of them had chicken soup which I say EAT IT UP. It gave me a spring in my step for the last 5 miles. The medal is a little small but still very cute with a little frog on it. The frog is a big theme at this race. You will end with a special frog cupcake. Lots of great vendors at the end of the race. So have money hidden away in your running gear. See you there in 2017!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    chidrarae FIRST-TIMER '16

    As I was running, the one word that went through my head was "EPIC". The scenery was epic; the energy was epic; the course was epic. The course was not … MORE

    As I was running, the one word that went through my head was “EPIC”. The scenery was epic; the energy was epic; the course was epic.
    The course was not easy–there were many high creek crossings and technical trails.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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