This has to have been one of my favorite all time events. The Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic offers two distances, 50K (31 miles) and 50 miles. Since this was my first event to go further than the 26.2 marathon distance, I opted to go for the 50K. I know many will find this hard to believe but it was 7 hours of fun. I absolutely loved it.
The run was held at the beautiful Wakulla Springs State Park. The course was a 10k loop that I had to do five times. At first I felt this would be difficult, seeing the same thing, knowing how many more times I had to do the loop, etc. I usually do not want to see the finish line until I am finished. But I have to say it made the race all that better.
Each participant could set up their own aid station. So for a good 100 yards you saw areas set up with various supplies. It was so nice not to have to bring everything you need along the way. It was also nice in that you can have extra clothes and shoes ready. By the time I got to the last loop I needed to change shoes. My feet just needed to hit shoes in different areas.
Another participants aid station.
I have to admit it made me feel like I was part of Nascar. Sam set up my aid station in the trunk of his car. So each time I came around he had water bottles filled and food ready. As I stopped to stretch he was changing the supplies out of my belt.
Along with our personal stations the race crew also had two stations set up. Unlike most marathons where you have water, Gatorade and one stop with a gel of some sort, the ultra provided a buffet. At the stations you could find potatoes cut up that you dipped in salt (I have to say this was my favorite, salt never tasted so good), bananas, oranges, m&m’s, chips, cookies, pb&j and so much more. Other than the potatoes I think the Ibuprofen was the best part of the buffet.
Of course every run is about the bling. My friends and I will decide sometimes which race to do based on the bling. Many ultras do not offer bling and many times only the winner gets something and it is usually a belt buckle. I was very happy to know I was getting a finisher award of some kind and I loved it. The race crew had a local pottery studio make medals from ceramic, and we got a long sleeve running shirt.
In other races the spectators often are the ones that help you get through. In the ultra the only spectators were the participants support crews. However, the camaraderie among the runners was amazing. The way the course was set up it allowed runners to pass by each other numerous times, so as we passed each other everyone offered incredible support to one another. One of my favorite parts about the course support were the signs.
Above everything else about the event, the best part were the special people that made donations. I was able to raise over $2500.00 for Farm Sanctuary. Running for a purpose always helps get you through. Thank you so much for those of you who supported me with donations, prayers and encouragement. And you know I have to throw this in, that it is not too late to contribute. Tax deductible donations can be made to Farm Sanctuary through the following link.
The atmosphere of the ultra is totally different from other distances. It is so laid back. The entire experience was great.
Would I do this race again? Absolutely