In less than 5 days, I’ll be running my very first 50 mile race. It’s a distance that has always been in the back of my mind of “is this possible?”

I guess I’m about to find out.

Here are the logistics:

North Face Endurance Challenge: GORE-TEX 50 MileDistance: 50 miles
Elevation gain: 10,059 ft.
Cut-off times: 23 miles (6 hrs. 23 mins.), 37 miles (10 hrs. 15 mins.), Finish Line: 14 hrs.
Start time: 5 a.m.
Must be finished by: 7 p.m.

Here are some things they recommend to bring:

Headlamp or Flashlight
This is required since we start in the dark. We’ll be running on 100% trails, so we need to be able to supply our own light and see where we are going. The tricky part is that we’ll also be ending in the dark (if it takes us longer than 12 hours), so we’ll need to have this with us at all times.

Jacket, pants, gloves, hat, blanket, etc for cold
I start most of my morning trail runs with a beanie, I like the feel of it and it keeps my bald head warm. I’ll also have a hat with me in my pack since once the sun comes out, I’ll need the protection. I’ll also rock gloves because those are one of my favorite accessories to run in. I typically keep them on longer than needed because when I take them off, it gives me an added energy boost of “it’s go time!”

Umbrella or rain jacket
The forecast is predicting rain leading up to and on race day. Boo! I’ll bring a light poncho, I don’t see myself running in a rain jacket. I have a great Asics rain jacket that will keep me 100% dry. It’s magnificent. But 50 miles is a long-time to carry something bulky that I may use on or off. I also dislike running in mud and this does not sound fun. I don’t mind the rain. I can run in rain and enjoy it… but not mud. It’s messy and you slip and you slide and yuck. I like nothing about it. Sooo, this should be a fun 50 miles.

Extra socks
There are drop bag locations at miles 9, 18, 31 and 45. I’ll probably pack a single bag for 31. It will have an entire change of clothes — hoping to just change socks and shirt though. It will also have a pair of shoes, just in case. 31 miles will give me plenty of time to figure out any problems should they arise. It’s also still early enough in the race to make the correction.

Sunscreen and sunglasses
Sunglasses yes, sunscreen… not a fan of. At least not on my face. It runs with the sweat and gets in your eyes and… am I complaining too much? I may throw some on my neck, but I’ll have a hat and hopefully that will be sufficient. I could use a tan anyways.

Anti-Chafe Gel
Yes, and I’ll also have some moleskin with me at all times as a back up. This is excellent should a blister come up at any time. Nip guards will also be with me. Yep, sucks being a dude.

Cash for food and beer
I’m assuming this is for the Finish Line Festival? They’ll have aid stations on course and I can’t imagine beer being served, let alone being charged for it. Hello? If I’m at mile 38 and I’ve been climbing mountains on my way to running for 14 hours, buy me a round.

Ibuprofen or pain reliever
I’ve never taken them during a race, but I’ve never run 50 miles. I won’t have this with me as I am not a fan of taking medication while running. If something hurts bad enough that I need to take something, I should probably stop running. IMO.

Click to Enlarge – view from the course on a training run. Top of the Golden Gate Bridge shown (middle, left).


Let’s make it a party!

You also have the option to have pacers and/or a crew.

A pacer is defined as a “trail companion that may accompany a runner along designated sections of the course.” They are there for moral support and to help keep the runners moving forward towards their goal. We’ll have a couple pacers jump in during the race as well. We can pick up a pacer at mile 28 and/or 45. Currently we have one set up for each. It’s good to have friends that like running.

A crew member is defined as “any individual who provides material support to a runner during the event.” Right now we’ll have a friend (that isn’t pacing) meet us at one of the aid stations and wifey should also be coming out on race day. They’ll have some supplies with them just in case, but we should be okay with drop bags and aid stations. It’s good to have friends and loved ones that support our “crazy.”

Alright, that’s the preview for the race. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my training for the past 4 months. It’s had its ups and downs, literally.

Any tips for running 50 miles?

Have you ever thought of doing an Ultra?