Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011 Vermont 50 Mile Race Preview

On Sunday I will participate in my 4th Vermont 50 Mile race, an event that was my first 50-miler waaaay back in 2006 in the pouring rain (11:48:46).  I ran it again in the mud in 2009 (11:47:29; see "Race Report - Vermont MUDder Frackin' 50 Mile"), and in 2010, finally, in beautiful weather (9:54:45; see "Race Report - Vermont 50 Mile").  In 2011, we get a course that has been heavily impacted by Irene.
"You've no doubt heard about how Vermont got slammed by Tropical Storm Irene, and, not surprisingly, our course took some hits as well.  The good news is that a tireless crew of folks from STAB (Sport Trails of the Ascutney Basin) have been logging all manner of hours creating reroutes and clearing obstructions in order to ensure that you will be able to safely negotiate the renowned VT-50 network
Under normal conditions runners would not be likely to get their feet soaked in any steam or creek crossings, but currently it can happen.  We have had recent rains, and the forecast calls for more in the next couple of days.  Therefore you CAN expect to encounter muddy sections.  The STAB people have created diverts at many such locations to minimize the amount of mud-trucking you have to do, but count on getting muddy anyway.
Keeping trail course segment measurements exact is always challenging, and with these recent changes, you can expect both the 50K and 50 Mile courses to be a bit longer than what you've seen in print on the website.
As for the course surfaces, the heavy rains a few weeks ago washed away quite a bit of the topsoil, leaving the trails scoured and stony in many locations.  When I'm asked if road shoes can be worn for the event, I normally say that they can work, but now I'd advise participants to consider trail shoes in order to cope with the unevenness."
- From Race Committee Member Zeke Zucker

I will use this race to train for Javelina, and plan on spending plenty of time on the course with Cherie and Emmy.  It should be loads of fun, with gorgeous scenery and plenty of mud.

Below is the Garmin data from last year's event.  The course is slightly different this year, but the challenge remains the same.

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