My third Huff 50K is in the books! As I mentioned on the TTF Facebook page yesterday, this is a race that just makes me proud to run. Proud of myself for going back to a tough race year after year. Proud of my run friends who brave the elements and trails, when they would rather be pounding pavement. Proud of the other participants who are constantly encouraging and showing the newbies what trail running is all about. Proud of the race organizers for delivering a great race over and over again. The Huff 50K is a class act. Pic below from top is the 2013, 2014 & 2015 belt buckles. Maybe I should buy a belt?
This event is at Chain O Lakes State Park in Albion, IN. It offers a 50K, 50K Relay & a one loop option (10.8 miles). Lots of choices. The trails are well groomed, wider, not single track like many trials. This is a great event for beginner trail runners and a great course to run side by side with a friend/partner. Aid stations are spaced about 4 miles apart and there are bathrooms and/or port-o-potties at 4 of the 5 aid stations. This is huge and not the case with all trail races. I would recommend carrying your own water to manage hydration between aid stations. Trail shoes are recommended by not required. I like to use gaiters over my shoes to keep leaves and debris out of my shoes/socks but these are not a necessity either. This is a very user friendly trail event. No fancy equipment required.
There were a few changes for 2015 both at the organizational level and on the course. I think everything went very smoothly. My brain struggled with the new course, always trying to figure out which way we went last year, but I just followed the pink markers and it went well. No idea if this course was easier than years past but this was our fastest year thus far at Huff (6:50 finish). There were a lot more markers this year and even a few spots where they put up tape so that runners didn’t get off course inadvertently. Nice touches that I really think helped the comfort level of the newer trail runners. I never had an issue before at this event but I’m an “eyes to the ground” trail runner so that I can watch my footing and the trail markers. The new course and markings allowed for more social running without fear of missing a turn off. I think Huff is a social trail race. So many people sign up because their friends are going, even if they have never ran trails before ….. and that’s why its FUN. New course below.
Great aid stations. If you haven’t ran an ultra or trail marathon before, you might want to do so just for the food. There is candy, m&ms, twizzlers, cookies, fig newtons, pb&j quarters, potato chips, pretzels, soups, boiled potatoes with salt, coke, water, gatorade, lemon bars and one spot was even grilling hamburgers. So much food. I didn’t bother carrying any gels and my tummy thanked me for eating real food. Spirits were particularly high on the first loop. Myself, Tamyra & Julie getting ready to tackle the hill in the background. Hills, smillz.
We ran the first loop in 3 hrs 15 minutes, which was my goal. Then I thought we could hit the second loop in 3:30 but I was off a bit, took us 3:35, which is still good in my book. That second loop gets really LONG. It’s almost like you cross the mat at halfway and they add a couple bricks to each leg. The hills suddenly seem steeper and each mile drags on a bit more. But we just kept moving thru each mile (marked signs at EVERY mile!) and toward the next aid station. It worked. We didn’t rush. This isn’t really a race for us but more of an experience. So if someone need to walk or potty, we stopped. We probably spent too much time at a couple aid stations but oh well. Over all, we kept moving! And we tried to keep it fun. When Julie’s hubby started texting her (probably wondering if we were done yet! Ummm, no we were not done!), I insisted we stop and take a selfie to send him. Hi, Joe! I was getting ready to stick out my tongue but we snapped the picture first with my crazy face. That’s about right, I was feeling kinda crazy that far into the race. I think we were probably around mile 28 at this point. The craziness had definitely set in. Tamyra, Me, Julie.
I’m very thankful that Julie came back for her second Huff this year. I know she didn’t love it last year. She doesn’t love trail running at all but we still do a couple trail marathons each year. Totally my fault. It always seems like a good idea at the time. And this was Tamyra’s first ultra. Her third marathon distance event (or longer) since November 7th in Indy when she ran her VERY FIRST marathon. She took a leap of faith and followed us to Tulsa for the Rt 66 Marathon, and then to Huff. 2 marathons and 1 ultra in a 6 week span. She’s definitely a tough chick and I’m proud to call her a friend! Great job,Tamyra!!!
The swag. Huff always provides good stuff. This year we got a cotton tee, a Huff Santa Hat, a portable charger & a key chain with a thermometer. Then here is a close up of the belt buckle that was received at the finish. Most 50Ks don’t offer a belt buckle, but rather a finishers medal. So it’s a nice touch for Huff to give the buckle and that’s probably why this is one of the largest 50Ks in the US.
Huff is a great race. I highly recommend it. Grab some friends and run a loop OR two. Next year, Huff will be on December 17, 2016. Then the 2017 race will be returning to the first Saturday after Christmas.
Side Note: If you’re in the woods, State/National Park or not, DO NOT litter. A general rule of hiking, backpacking and trail running is that if you pack it in, you pack it out. I saw A LOT of litter & debris on the trails this year. Very disappointing. Someone has to clean that up or Huff could get fined, get belittled by other races or worse yet, lose their permit to run at Chain O Lakes. Please respect your environment. Don’t drop GU packs, kleenex, hand warmers, cups of noodles, or your SWEATSHIRT on the trail cuz you are tired of carrying it. The aid stations are close enough together that it isn’t a stretch to hold onto your trash for a little bit longer and dispose of it property. Please. Respect your trails or they will be gone. Help protect the trails for all of us, our kids, and our grandkids to come. Thank you!
2013 Huff Race Report, must have neglected to write one for 2014. Ooops.
** Happy Trails ** Amanda – TooTallFritz