Friday, August 27, 2010

HURL 50K- Race Ratings (#37- MT)

Tag line: "Come Enjoy our 31 Mile Mountain Climb!!!"

2010 HURL Elkhorn 50K ~ August 7, 2010
Helena, MT ~ Helena National Park
Year Running: 15th
Registration Fee: $60 ($80 late)
Charity Race? No
Runners:  58 Completed (62 Started),  22 Females
Available Races: 50K, 50 Mile, 23K
Average Finish Time: NA
BQ %: NA

Overall Race Ratings: 3.7/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 3.7/5.0
~ This is a very challenging race with a very organized race director. One of toughest trail ultras around that no amount of hill work can prepare you for. They're well stocked to help out the runners along the way and a tight knit running community makes it fun.
Race Director: Let's play race director...
~  Getting spectators out to these tough points has to be hard, but if there is a way it would definitely be a plus. Long stretches with so few runners makes for a lonely race. That combined with the many challenging climbs is a little defeating. With all the sponsors, give away less random stuff at the pasta dinner and opt for medals... after that mountain climb I felt I deserved at LEAST a medal. That or a shrine in my name :)

Event Organization: 4.5/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~ 15 Miles
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ Being Montana's state Capital, the airport has plenty of hotel options around the airport. There is a 20-30 minute drive from the city out to the park where the race is run, so a rental car would be needed. The website for this site is definitely a little confusing as there are actually 2... each with incomplete information. There is no online registration... mail in only. Getting to the course wasn't too bad. Getting into the park, there were signs leading the way to the starting area.

The spaghetti dinner involved a raffle where they gave away a ton of prizes from their many sponsors. I wasn't able to make the dinner, but I won a water bottle waist pack.

Race Organization: 4.5/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Heed powder, unmixed.
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability: Hammer Gels/Various/All Aid stations.
~ There were plenty of aid stations with great volunteers. Each aid station was fully stocked with candies, cookies, soda, gels, etc. At mile 28, there was a particular aid station that provided a cold coors light! Being in a very hilly (mountains) park, it wasn't possible to put out mile markers, but the actual markers pointing the ways were very good... this was the first trail race I didn't get lost on! There weren't any port-a-johns that I'm aware of, but we were in the woods so that wasn't too much of a problem.

~Post Race Food: .The had a lunch ready for when we got back including make your own sandwiches with cold cuts, cheese, etc. They had all kinds of chips, candies and cookies, and a huge bucket full of any kind of drink you may need from electrolyte drinks to sodas and beer.

Course: 4.7/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating... NA
Garmin Distance: NA
~ Elevation Gain/Loss: 11,460/11,460
This is a VERY challenging course! I was told it was one of the top 5 toughest ultras... but not until I was halfway through (or I may not have taken on this race). There is a series of about 4 mountain passes you go through an extreme elevation gain and loss. The uphills are so steep, they're difficult to run at all and the downhills are mostly rocky switchbacks that are also very steep and difficult to run. The view from the top of the mountains is amazing.... slash combined with the high altitude and lack of oxygen to the brain, may make you feel like you have vertigo. I got very frustrated on the downhills because they were often too rocky to risk running quickly down, rather I was leaping from spot to spot trying not to trip and fall or sprain an ankle.

Spectators: 2.0/5.0
~ The volunteers had a very challenging time getting to us on the course, let alone any spectators. And there were definitely points of long uphill stretch where a spectator would have been nice. The volunteers did try to make up some for the lack of spectators.

Pace Group: NA/5.0
~ NA

Runner/Corrals: 4.0/5.0
~ No Corrals. Runners were very nice. This is a running group (vigilante runners) from the area that puts on these challenging runs year round. There is plenty of comrodery between them all and they're there until the last runner crosses the line. I was able to meet a few 50-staters and maniacs while there, but the bulk of the runners were from the local running group.

Expo: NA/5.0
~ NA
Swag: 2.6/5.0
~T-Shirts: The T-shirt was ok. It's a low key tech T with an elk on the upper left breast. Not the prettiest thing in the world... but honestly I'm surprised they had T-Shirts at all. Most ultras don't, especially these smaller ultras. 2.8
~Medals: No Medal (per normal for ultras) but they did give us nice certificates created by a local artist and had our names and times put on them. -.2
~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bags had a few odds and ends extras... nothing standout.

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time:
Place: Overall- 13/56, Gender- 4/22, A/G ("Open" 0-39)- 4/11


  1. wow. you did awesome! congrats on a crazy hard race!! another amazing race.

  2. omg, that's amazing!! I've done Pikes Peak with 8000' straight up but I don't think I could endure 11,000+. Congrats, girl - you are outstanding!