I'm not sure if it's too early to start a Stone Cat 50 discussion, but I'm really looking forward to it. It sounds like a lot of the cool runners are going to be there so it should be a blast.
Could anyone offer tips for the first timer (both to the race and the distance)?
Do we need a light for the first loop? Do they allow drop bags? I was thinking that I may like one half way through the loop in case I need gu or something. Will I be able to use my car as an aid staion after each loop?
I'm also a little worried about how easy the course is. I can remember in the VT50k that there was a time when I was praying for an uphill just so I could walk. Any suggestions on dealing with that much running?
I volunteered at the race last year but a few folks I talked to said that the course was surprisingly tough with plenty of sections to walk and a million rocks covered by leaves. Expect the unexpected!
2 years ago they ran the race with a fresh 3-4" of snow on the ground. Last year it was cold but warmed up "enough".. everyone stayed bundled up. Not sure about your car question.. don't see why not.. but be assured that you'll be parking QUITE a ways away from where the Start/finish actually is.. you could waste TONS of time going to your car and back, etc. Forget about it..
Headlamps... First loop I think remembering being at twilight but many runners had lamps... and if you're a back of the packer I'd suggest having it handy. Anyone finishing after 4:30/5pm last year did so in the dark... I think.
No, it's definitely not too early to start talking about this race! I ran Stonecat in '05 as my first 50 and am running it again this year. I also volunteered at an aid station last year. In answer to your questions:
You do not need a light for the start. The race begins as soon as there is enough daylight to run by. You may need a light for the finish though.
I don't believe that drop bags are allowed. However, you can leave a bag at the start/finish area for use after every loop. The start/finish area is not near the parking lot, so using your car for aid is not practical. The aid stations are very well stocked, though, so you may find that you don't need a lot of extra stuff.
I have a pretty vague recollection of the course, but what I remember giving me the most trouble were all the rocks and roots hidden under the leaves. Tripping and falling can be a major hazard, as evidenced by a catastrophic fall taken by the women's leader just before the finish in the '05 race. It becomes even more of an issue if you are running after dark.
The two biggest tips I can give to a first timer are (A) have patience, and (B), don't waste time at aid stations. Fighting back the desperation to be finished was my greatest mental challenge in my first 50. You have to be extremely patient, especially in the 3rd loop which is psychologically the hardest because that is when the fatigue really starts kicking in. In the last loop, you know you are almost done so it's a bit easier. As for the aid stations, just refill your bottle, grab your food and go. Plan to eat while you walk, and don't spend more than 1-2 minutes at each station unless you have an issue to deal with. The temptation to chat and socialize with people will be there, but just try to focus on keeping moving.
Good luck, hope to see you there!
when I did it (the snow year) you could leave a bag in the gym of the school where it starts, so you have access to it after every 12.5 loop...but be warned, once in the warm gym its hard to leave! I took too much time restocking and changing socks, etc.
I attempted it last year and somewhere towards the end of the first loop I missed a turn and got off course. Who knows where and how far. By the time I found my way back to the schooI I was mentally out of it. I told Gil what happened (I wasn't the only one who missed a turn) and he nicely suggested I go do another loop and the small loop around the field and get credit for the marathon and still walk away with a prize and not a DNF which I did. I think I just read on the Stone Cat website the course may be slightly different this year so pay attention to the course markings.
I too will be running this as my first ultra and am pretty excited. Ran a marathon last weekend and have another next weekend targeting 45 sec/mi or so slower than true marathon pace, in addition to one final longer slower trail run 2 weeks beforehand, think that should set me up well.
I know that everyone has differing opinions on this, but if this is mostly double track and not extremely technical can one easily get by in road shoes, or would veterans recommend a trail shoe here?
GAC puts on one grand event over there in Ipswich, MA. Running the SC50 last year was a fun challenge, beeping cars in the woods, cheery volunteers like SJ and plenty of support to the end plus the Stonecat mascot makes an appearance! The course is very scenic mixed single/double track trails on a 12.5 lollipop loop so you can leave a big crate of gear at the start/finish line and runner’s cars are only a few yards away in the school parking lot if you forgot something. I did hear a lot of folks got lost last year but I had no problems on the course, it was well marked to my standards I’m not sure what the issue was? My only advice is to keep your head-up for markings there are a lot of twists and turns in the loop and never trust the runner in front knows where they’re going. I do recall a few small hills and once you run the 1st loop you’ll have a very good idea of what your working with for the day, at this point make some minor adjustments slow down/speed up and start thinking about your fuel strategy according to your body’s needs. I also recommend trail shoes because the trails are covered with leaves/rocks and trail shoes offer greater stability on the uneven terrain but hey toss as many pairs of shoes you need in a bin and leave it at the start. Here is my race report from SC50 ‘06.
I just signed up for Stone Cat. Looking forward to seeing the GAC and to finally see the new course. (I ran it in 2003 when there was next to no single track.) I hope they have some brew available for runners to take. I also hope I have time to stop by Gillies store - it's too cool. Speaking of cool, snow on race day would be awesome.
Anyone know if Walker or Schmidt or Estes plan on signing up? There will be a couple very solid, but unknown runners in the 50.
I'd expect to see all 3 of those dudes there Bryon for a Vermont 50 rematch!
I'll be there looking to run a 50 Mile Pr... god willing. Need a place to crash my man?
I'd love to see a rematch of those guys. Plus, a lesser known guy, Kevin Sullivan, who hung with or near Leigh et al. at the VT 50 until experiencing stomach problems somewhere after mile 30 will also be there.
I do have a place to crash. One of my college teammates will be running SC as his first ultra and has arranged a place to stay with friends near the start. After the race we'll stay there again or head back to his place in Montpelier, VT.
Best of luck in your 50 mile PR attempt! As for me, I'll just try to finish in one piece. ;-)
I just mailed in my entry form for the 50 today! I had been planning to do the marathon, and training to do the marathon, but after a couple of trail runs over 20 miles I said what the f**k, lets do 50, it'll be easier than what Jeff has been through.
See you all there.
Can I ask what happened to the RD? I see the website has well-wishes for him and multiple people do the same...I don't want to be nosy or anything, just curious. See you in a few weeks! kp
I believe he had a severe stroke while running, followed by brain surgery and now physical therapy. It was touch and go for a while, but based on what I've read on the GAC bulletin board he is making slow but steady improvements.
for those of you who have done Bull Run and Stonecat, how would you compare them?
ie. I have heard Stone Cat is much 'easier' than BR....as in not as hilly....if you have done both, what were your times?
I have done 1030 at BR and I am hoping to go under ten at Stonecat.