Deep Woods (about: 2013)|
Rob Klein from Paradise, MI (7/16/13)
50+ previous marathons
| 1 Waugoshance Trail Marathon
This was my first trail marathon, and it was quite an experience. This organization does several events in Northern Michigan, and it was a little over an hour drive for me, so I signed up. They offer no race day check-in, and I simply could not get to Mackinaw City on Friday; it would have been $8.00 more in bridge fares too. They accomodated me, and I got my number at the start-line. Buses picked up some 100 runners at Mackinaw City High School and drove them to the start line. This race was literally in the woods 98% of the course.
We started on a 2-track for the first 1/2 mile, then went on to the North Country Trail - a single track much of the way. It was pretty flat until MM 2, our first aid station. Then the hills started. By MM 4, the hills were significant. At about MM 6, there was another aid station. By then the hills seemed to flatten a bit. Additional aid stations were at or near MM 12, MM 17, & MM 21.
One thing that was truly remarkable was that this was largely a single track course through the woods that crossed and connected with other trails and 2-tracks along the way, and it was remarkable well marked. They used flags and signs to mark the course and turns, and if I was marking the course, I would have got lost just trying to figure out where the signs & flags needed to be placed. They did an outstanding job.
Heat and sun-exposure were not concerns because it never got too hot, and you were almost always in the woods and running in the shade. The bugs (mostly black flies for me) were an annoyance. Still, bug spray was available at the start line, so most runners got sprayed ahead of time. In the last 5 mile stretch there was one section of the trail that was muck. It was nasty, and, for me at least, I had to slow down to tip-toe around it.
Other issues: There were lots of roots and small stumps, and I stumbled too many times to count. I went down twice, and twisted my left ankle twice; no injuries though. There simply were no spectators. Aid station workers were all the encouragement that we had. There were no cups for fluids. You brought your own bottle, and they served water and carb beverages from pitcher - into your bottle (having two bottles would have been a good choice, and I would recommend that). There were Hammer Gels at every aid station. There were no porta-potties!
The finish line was typical: Juice, water, carb drink, bananas, fig newtons, and cereal or grain bar snacks - but they ran out of bananas! Not good. One gal working the finish line gave me one of her bananas, for which I was so grateful