Pre race comments: I have been interested in this race for at least a couple of years, after hearing a few people talk about how great of a race it is. It has always been hard to get into, before this year, due to prior years being a lottery. I had entered the lottery at least once, but didn’t get in. This year, the registration was first come first serve. I had seen a Facebook post the morning that registration was going to open and knew it would sell out in minutes. I got my phone and credit card ready for 9 am opening, and successfully got in!
They have a 40, 20 and 8 mile option. I decided to do the 20. I could finish the 40 and probably do ok, but I am not trained for that…plus it was too close to the ultra I did in January.
I have had a very successful training year since Fall, so I am more than ready for this race. I did just do an Ultra marathon 3 weeks prior to this race date, a tough 10k the week before that, plus a tough deep snow hike two weeks prior to the race date..so I hope my legs aren’t tired.
Goal: It’s hard to set a goal on a course that you have never done before. I’ll set my aggressive goal for a 10:30 pace, which puts me at a time of 3:30. I’ll be happy with an 11 min pace, as a less aggressive goal. The race starts at 8am, so I should finish between 11:30 and 12 noon
This will be a great experience, since its a new race to me, I have heard a lot of great things about the race and my mom will be there to see me finish. That’s a first and she is excited. It is near Asheboro, NC and near where I grew up…around 3 hours from Roanoke, Va, where I live now. I was always fascinated by the Uwharrie National Forest area.
Here is the race website: http://www.uwharriemountainrun.com
Post race comments:
This was the best race that I have ever done. I don’t mean my performance…I am talking about the race itself. Everything from the way it is was put on, the pre race dinner, the trails, where it is it, etc. The local Mountain Junkie races in Roanoke, Va area are the best as well, but this race was a destination type race.
Where do I start? The pre race dinner was held at The Exchange Friday evening http://theexchangenc.com/?page_id=10, a nice banquet place in downtown Asheboro. The early packet pick up was there, as well. I got there at 5pm and was immediately impressed with everything. I got my bib, which said Uwharrie Mountain Run and 20 mile on it. The shirt was very nice as well. It is a green long sleeve technical shirt.
Altra was one of the sponsors of the race. They brought a ton of shoes, a flag, and small giveaways to the pre race dinner. It was pretty impressive.
The big banquet room was done very nice. They had several round tables with tablecloths and past pottery medals on the table for viewing. The food was the best layout I have seen for a dinner. The food/drinks available was spaghetti, lasagna, salad, bread, steamed vegetables, cheesecake, craft beer from kegs, and wine.
On to race day..The parking is separate from the start, due to limited space. We all parked across the street from the El Dorado Outpost. Here is the sunrise from that morning.
It was crazy cold! I don’t know the temp, but I was surprised how cold it was..and I usually love the cold. We were shuttled to the start of race/trailhead on a bus. The 20 mile race started at 8am. They gave us plastic drop bags that would be left at the end of the 20 mile (and turnaround for the 40 mile racers). This race is an out and back for the 40 milers and a point to point for the 20 mile racers. I did the 20 mile, as you know. The race starts at a small trailhead area. They had a campfire going on this cold day! I had shorts, 3 layers of shirts, a beanie and gloves on. I knew the 3 layers of shirts was too much, but the start was so cold, that I would not pass up the warmth for awhile.
The race started on a road at the trailhead, but we were only on the road for a few yards, before it went straight into single track. This was THE SLOWEST race start I have ever experienced. The single track went straight up rutty technical trail, at the beginning. All of the runners were jammed up big time…so, I was walking immediately. We slowly started running a tenth of a mile in, so I started passing people after that. I really should have started close to the front of the pack. That first mile was well over a 13 minute pace, which I wasn’t counting on having any miles over 13 minutes..ugh!
The course was fantastic! 100% perfect single track through woods, with tons of big creek crossings, lots of downed trees, a little mucky mud, some rocky spots and some technical parts. I assume that they were not allowed to put signs or tape up to make sure we went the right way. There were a couple of tricky parts, in which it was easy to go the wrong way..but you quickly figured out that you missed a turn and had to go back. At one point, it looked like you should cross a creek, which another guy and I did, but we didn’t see a trail or white blazes (which the trail is all white blazes)..so we turned around and found the right way.
I had heard someone say, before the race, that mile 16 was tough. That turned out to be very true. Mile 16 to 18 was pretty darn tough. It had the biggest climbs and most technical, small, twisty trail. You could not get any speed going at all.
I felt great the whole way. I realized quickly that this course was much tougher than I had expected it to be. I also realized that I would not even make my non aggressive goal of an 11 min overall pace. I was totally fine with that, since the course was tougher than I thought. Now I know!
My original aggressive goal finish time was 3:30. I ended up finishing at 3:50, which I am happy with. My pace was around an 11:17 or so min per mile.
When I got to the finish, my mom and her husband were waiting for me. They had been waiting around 1.5 hours. That was the first time she had seen me race. She was pretty excited.
They give you a piece of pottery as a finishers award. This is really nice. On the bottom, it is engraved with the name of the race and 25th anniversary.
I love this race! I hope to be able to do it every year. Everything about it was just awesome.
My Strava readout: https://www.strava.com/activities/487300285
I finished 42nd place out of 195 runners on the 20 mile run…Top 22%! See link: http://www.uwharriemountainrun.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/UWHARRIE-2016-20-RESULTS.pdf
Thanks to the friends and family that cheered and supported me during this race.