Lets get the fundamentals out of the way first; this was my first attempt at 100, and I dropped out at 55 miles. However, aside from not finishing, it was a great event and well worth coming back for. The course is described as hilly, but I would call that an understatement – these are small mountains and you are constantly going up – or even worse on the quads – down. I don’t believe there is any flat land in this part of Vermont !
The trail sections were very soggy & muddy due to extremely wet spring and heavy rain two days before the race. The mud was well churned by the couple of dozen horses that run the same course concurrently with the foot face. By miles 2 we were ankle deep in mud and it was a recurring theme as we ran up and down stream-beds, through ponded rainwater, etc. Weather was probably around 90, but the humidity was very high, making for a very muggy day..mitigated most of the afternoon by overcast, which turned into light rain showers by late afternoon. Aid stations (30 of them) were good and major ones had pretty much anything you could wish for in terms of food, drink, or first aid.
The course is stunningly scenic; beautiful farms & pastures, mountain vistas, countless streams and brooks, covered bridges, shady country lanes. The setting couldn’t be more beautiful, and the nearby town of Woodstock Vt, where most folks stayed who weren’t camping in the meadow where the race starts/finishes, is quintessential New England. Picture perfect,
Some highlights: The Dunkin Donuts coffee and pastry before the 4 AM start was a really nice and a much appreciated touch. The aid stations were great, especially notable was "Margarita Ville" – and yes, there were real margaritas to be had (and fresh grilled hamburgers). Winner was Dean Karnazes,who came in around 16:23 or so. As I had already gone back to the finish line by then, I saw him come in..looked like he had just finished a jog around Kapiolani Park ..incredible athlete. Second place was a woman runner, didn’t catch her name – apparently the only time in memory that a woman finished second.
As for me, I had no problems with hydration or energy, simply ran the downs too fast in the first 30 miles and had completely blown my quads by mile 40, at which point I was struggling to get down the hills and didn’t have much left for the flats either. By the time I got to 55, I had been on the course 14 hours (6 PM) and I didn’t think trying to walk the last 45 miles thru the night , in the mud, and maybe still not making the 30 hour cut-off was worth the pain.
However, I learned the course and a lot that will help me on the next attempt.