Overall Rating
Overall Rating (6 Reviews)
5
(6 Ratings)(6 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
4.8
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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Recent reviews

    aprasuhn FIRST-TIMER '18

    I loved the Way Too Cool 50k. Despite the rain, hail (small!), and cold temperatures, there were tons of volunteers and race organizers out there all day with us providing … MORE

    I loved the Way Too Cool 50k. Despite the rain, hail (small!), and cold temperatures, there were tons of volunteers and race organizers out there all day with us providing encouragement and support. The spacing of the aid stations was nice (around miles 8, 13, 20, 26, and 30), and they had everything I wanted and needed. The course was BEAUTIFUL–mostly winding singletrack through misty and mossy forests with great views of the American River and lovely little waterfalls. The dozens of stream crossings, some deep due to the rain, meant that feet were nearly always wet and cold, but that wasn’t an issue with the right socks and shoes. The course was muddy but not bad enough to slow us down too much. And even though there were over 600 runners, I didn’t ever feel like the race was crowded–in fact, I ran alone quit a bit at the end. Great race, I’ll be back someday!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    RacerKN FIRST-TIMER '18

    Just completed Way Too Cool 50K which was only my second 50K and it was way fun. The forecast was rain all day but the race gods must have been … MORE

    Just completed Way Too Cool 50K which was only my second 50K and it was way fun. The forecast was rain all day but the race gods must have been smiling on us because we have sunshine at the start (the rain and other inclement weather came later).
    I had been briefed by a number of people about the course. First 8 mile loop, pretty easy. Some hills but nothing too challenging. First river crossing was about 1.5 miles in. I never did a race with river crossings before and I had psyched myself into thinking that it was the worst thing that could happen, but it’s not all that bad. Yes, your feet get wet. Yes, you need to watch your step as you cross because of slippery rocks. No, you’re not going to get blisters or leaches (that’s a joke). It actually turns out to be fun.
    At the end of the first 8 mile loop, you end up back at the start line which gives you a chance to hit the porta potties or your car if you park in the lot. After that, you are in the wilds along and above the American River. Goat Hill at mile 26 had me worried, as I had heard from people running this and other races that it is hard. Yes, it’s hard, yes it’s steep. Yes, your calves and quads are gonna hurt. But at the top is the second to last aid station and they have lovely hot broth!
    The one hill I wasn’t ready for was at mile 30. Yup, right before the end. There’s an aid station as you recross Hwy 49. Stop and take a breather because you’re going to need it. Once you’re up the hill, it’s a smooth ride to the finish.
    Aid stations are well run and very fun, helpful volunteers. I even had a volunteer at the 20 mile aid station help retie my shoe lace as I was too stiff to touch my toes (thanks Fleet Feet Folsom!).
    Finish line area has good beer, tasty sandwiches and, of course, the famous frog cupcakes. That poor froggie never had a chance, I bit him in half in one bite.
    If you’re looking for your first ever 50K, I would recommend this race. Just prepare for wet conditions, lots of mud and the time of your life.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    mikebeckwith Mar 05, 2018 at 2:57pm

    Great review, Kim! Thanks for this. This race deserves a ton of reviews. Great seeing you out there, and glad you enjoyed it so much. Oh, and also, sorry for… MORE

    Great review, Kim! Thanks for this. This race deserves a ton of reviews. Great seeing you out there, and glad you enjoyed it so much. Oh, and also, sorry for the extra jacket... lol. But if the weather forecast was right, you would've been thanking me. LESS

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    RacerKN Mar 05, 2018 at 5:24pm

    Luckily the jacket was pretty lightweight, and I would have regretted not having it if it had hailed any more than it did. Great job on Saturday.

    Luckily the jacket was pretty lightweight, and I would have regretted not having it if it had hailed any more than it did. Great job on Saturday.

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    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '18

    What to say about this run? Where to start. This was my fourth year running it, and it never disappoints. This year I had the awesome honor of helping to … MORE

    What to say about this run? Where to start. This was my fourth year running it, and it never disappoints. This year I had the awesome honor of helping to pace my friend’s daughter (13 years old) for her first Ultra Marathon. (yeah, let that sink in. What were you doing at 13?)
    Anyway, here we go…
    Leading up to race day, the forecast was showing rain all day, and some snow, yes, SNOW! Luckily that never happened, but the temps were certainly cold. It was very nice for the start and didn’t actually rain all that much. About an hour total off and on (with a couple small hail episodes #whatthehail). I think we started at about 36° and got up to low 40°. There are quite a few stream crossings some as deep as about 12-15″ and as wide as maybe 20 feet. But trust me when I say this water feels great and wakes you right up. Later in the race, it helps cool down your tired feet. 🙂
    The race starts out by heading down the paved St. Florian Court. Just a mile or so, then you have your first creek crossing as you cross the Knickerbocker Creek, this is the only part where there might be a small bottleneck. Just go through it. Trust me. 🙂 You’ll run on the Olmstead Loop Trail and the Rim Trail, until you cross Knickerbocker Creek again, at about mile 7. Then one more mile and you’re right back to where you started, and your first Aid Station. Here, you’ll cut around what will be the finish area, and get on the Wendell T Robie Trail. This section is pretty fun. Then in the 11th mile, you’ll cross over Highway 49 (Highway Patrol and volunteers out there stopping traffic and encouraging runners). Here you’ll enter on the Quarry Trail, and run until the American Canyon Trail. This entire time, you’ll have the American River (rather, a fork of it). There is an AS at the bottom of the American Canyon Trail, and they have HOT CHICKEN BROTH… which is to die for after you’ve made it this far (about 20 miles). Leaving this AS, you jump back on the WTR trail. This will take you up Goat Hill (at about mile 26). After this, it’s smooth sailing down to the finish. (Well, aside from that small little climb with 1.4 miles to go.)
    TIPS:
    Get their early. If you think you’re getting their early. Get there even earlier. 🙂 I got there at about 5:15 am and got an amazing parking spot in the first lot. Then I left the heater on in my car and took an awesome nap. The race starts at 8. I think I crawled out of my car at 7, to go see and mingle with some friends. If you have to park down the road, it’ll suck after the race.
    Bring dry clothes (and shoes) to change in to afterwards. There will likely always be water crossings, and lots of mud. Bring flip flops. This way after the race, you can go over to the hose and wash your feet/legs off, and then walk back to your car and put your dry socks and shoes on (boots are even better).

    This is definitely one of my favorite races. And I am so happy to have been able to help pace Frida to her first ultra marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_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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    greeneyegirl9 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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