Monday, April 29, 2013

Leatherwood Mountains Ultra Thoughts

First off, I did not race.  I am simply a friend of the RDs and many of the runners who took part in this inaugural running of a race, which I ended up feeling I should have went ahead and signed up for.  Below are just some of my thoughts from a spectator, volunteer, crewing, and pacing stand point.

Having never been to Leatherwood Mountains Resort, and knowing that it was mainly horse trails, I had my reservations.  This combined with a fee deterred me from signing up, (not that the fee was outrageous, I just don't like to pay to run most of the time) I decided to head out and volunteer instead.  I headed up to the resort after work on Friday to grab a camp site and partake in the pre-race dinner that included a guest speaker that happened to be a friend of mine.  The dinner was an excellent spread and the community gathered was great.  I was having trouble catching up with all the people I knew who attended.  After the dinner, I just walked a few hundred feet over to the bar and had a few with some friends before retiring to my tent only a couple hundred yards away.  How neat is that!  Plus, my campsite was right beside Elk Creek, which meant I had a nice sound machine going all night.  I slept like a baby.

The run consisted of 3 runs, a 50m, 50k, and a 10m.  There were 3 loops that the course followed and each loop had a different color to follow.  On top of that, the RDs made sure that each time you changed a loop, you would have a wrist band that corresponded with the flagging.  Of the 23 miles of the course I ran that day, I thought that the course was extremely well marked, even if some of the loops overlapped.  I would almost say that the course was too well marked.  Meaning, that you pretty much could always see a flag ahead from the one you were currently beside.  This is nice, but also makes you worry on the rare case you didn't see a flag for a tenth of a mile.

I did like that they allowed pacers for the final 10 mile loop of the 50 miler.  I know that it really isn't needed, but I had a great time pacing Brew in and catching up with Doug while out on the loop.  I'm sure Brew appreciated my presence as well...I guess so?

After the run, there was live music, some more delicious food, and plenty of friends to hang out with.  I would highly recommend this run for folks, and I might even be running it myself next year if the calendar aligns.  You can't beat a beautiful course, thoughtful RDS, a great finishing location, and a lot of friends.

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