Well, we’re coming down to it now. Things are quickly falling into place here in Sturgis and we’re looking forward to a great event next weekend. Thanks to everyone for choosing to come join us! We have a record number of registrants this year, just over 200 total for the three events combined. Of course, being our second year, registration records are fairly easy to break, but we’re excited nonetheless. Before everyone starts making their trek to the Black Hills, we wanted to take this one last opportunity to highlight some important bits of information.
First, and perhaps most important of all, anyone who is registered for the 100 mile should have received an email last week detailing the changes we made to the 100M course. These changes do not impact the 100K or 50M; those courses are identical to last year. If you did not receive the message, or are one of the handful that registered after the message was sent out, be sure to check out the website for details. Everything on the website detailing the course, from the race packets to to the aid station list to the maps to the elevation profile to the crew driving directions, has been updated with the new information.
We’ve had another change to the event happen that just occurred recently (yesterday, to be exact). Originally, our pre-race dinner was scheduled to take place at the Holiday Inn Express convention center. Due to a scheduling conflict, we have relocated the dinner to the Sturgis Community Center, which is the same location where you will pick up your packet and is also where the pre-race meeting will occur. In the end, this consolidates the pre-race activities into one location and gives us a bit more space for the dinner, so while it was an unexpected last minute change, it’s perhaps a change for the best. The meal itself will be the same as previously advertised; a pasta dinner with vegetarian options. The meal is included with your registration fee. Tickets for any guests are $10 each and will be sold at packet pickup if you did not buy them when you registered.
Speaking of the pre-race meeting, it will begin at approximately 4:00 PM on Friday in the community center auditorium. We’ll have a briefing on the course markings, updated course conditions and answer any questions you may have. Maybe a song and dance routine too. If you’re lucky. Or, more accurately, if you’re extremely unlucky.
You will be able to pick up your race packet, which includes your bib number, at the community center on Thursday afternoon from 2:00 until 6:00 and on Friday from 8:00 AM until 3:30 PM. If you are in the 100M, you will receive a pacer bib in addition to your own bib. We ask that anyone who is pacing you wear the bib and that if you have more than one pacer that they transfer the bib when you switch out pacers. This allows our aid station personnel to better keep track of who is on the course. Bib numbers have been assigned and are attached to this email (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free to download from the Adobe site, to view the pdf file). You can also view the bib number assignments on Ultrasignup.
Drop bags can be dropped off at the community center either Thursday afternoon or on Friday by 5:00 PM. If you are running the 100M, you can have three drop bags: Elk Creek, Dalton Lake and Silver City. For the 100K, you can have drop bags at Elk Creek and Dalton Lake. For the 50M, there is just one drop bag location, which is Elk Creek. We will have signs posted in the community center gym for each of the drop bag locations. Be sure to mark your bag with your bib number and the aid station it’s going to and leave it in the appropriate pile. We will have someone retrieve the 50M and 100K drop bags from Elk Creek and Dalton Lake sometime on Saturday evening and they will be returned to the start/finish area at Woodle Field. The 100M drop bags from all three locations will be returned to Woodle on Sunday morning.
We will have some limited last minute supplies and merchandise on sale at packet pickup on Thursday and Friday. Of course, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that if there is something you absolutely, positively can’t live without, it would be in your best interest to bring it along because we can’t guarantee we’ll have whatever that magic item is in stock. The nearest running store, The Runner’s Shop, is located in Rapid City, about 25 miles from Sturgis, but there is also no guarantee that they will have what you need.
Race morning check in will take place from 5:00 until 5:45. It is critical that you check in at Woodle Field before the race starts on Saturday morning. We need to be absolutely sure of who is on the course so we know if we need to look for you should you go missing (of course, the trail will be impeccably marked, so the potential for getting lost is extremely remote).
Energy products on the course are provided by Hammer Nutrition and will include Hammer Gel, Heed, and Endurolytes. Please keep in mind that we have a somewhat limited supply of the Hammer Gel packets at each aid station. We ask that you not take several each time through. If you depend heavily on gels for nutrition, we would encourage you to bring an ample supply along and stash some in your drop bags or with your crew…the stock at the aid stations is more of an emergency supply than anything else. Each aid station will also be stocked with an ample supply of water, Coke, Mountain Dew, soup, chips, sandwiches, bananas, candy, cookies, potatoes….basically the standard ultra buffet fare. A few of our aid station captains have also taken it upon themselves to offer something a little extra, so you may come across things such as grilled cheese sandwiches or cheeseburgers along the way.
Speaking of aid stations, please, as you’re making your way through the aid stations during the race, take a second or two to thank our volunteers. We’ve had an incredible response from the local communities and without the volunteers’ help, there is absolutely no way we could pull this thing off. Or at least not in a fashion that would prompt any of you to come back next year.
If you have a crew with you, be aware that six of our eight aid stations are crew accessible. Bulldog (mile 10 outbound) and Crooked Tree (mile 22.5 outbound) are located on extremely rugged, narrow, two-track roads and therefore are not accessible by crews, only by aid station personnel. Also, there is somewhat limited parking at the Elk Creek aid station. Most crew vehicles will have to park along the road, which causes some fairly significant congestion. So, we ask that all crew vehicles park along the road beyond the aid station and walk back to the trailhead itself. This will help keep the road leading into the aid station clear.
Also, please be sure pack out any trash you pack in (gel packets are the big culprit). We operate under special use permit with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, both of whom have been very helpful and easy to work with thus far. We’d like it to remain that way.
Weather-wise, be prepared for anything. The weather is the one thing we have no control over, although we would so very much like to! If you ran with us last year, you know what we’re talking about. Typical late June days around here are warm (highs in the 80s) and relatively dry with occasional evening thunderstorms. Sometimes, these thunderstorms are a little more intense than others (again, if you were with us last year, you know this). It can get fairly chilly, possibly down into the 40s overnight in the hills, so plan accordingly when packing your drop bags.
We do not have chip timing, still doing it the old fashioned way, so we also do not have any way to offer real-time updates to friends or family members. We will be monitoring each of runner’s progress from aid station to aid station (on that note, be certain to check in to each aid station as you pass through). A list of who is still on the course and their approximate location will be maintained at Woodle Field. Cell phone coverage is hit or miss along the course and somewhat dependent on which carrier you use, so we will also have radio contact with those aid stations that lack any phone coverage. Final results should be available fairly quickly, within a day or two, on Ultrasignup.
Awards will be presented to the top 3 male and female finishers in each distance as well as the top 3 in each age group (in the standard 10 year increments). We don’t double-dip on the awards, so the top 3 overall finishers will be ineligible for age groups awards. We plan on having two separate awards ceremonies. Exact times are yet to be determined (we’ll announce the times at the pre-race meeting), but the first will be for the 50M and 100K awards on Saturday evening and the second will be for 100M awards on Sunday morning. Both awards ceremonies will be at Woodle Field.
Feels kind of like we’re randomly rambling here….there’s just so much to talk about! If we missed anything that you were specifically wondering about, feel free to email us or ask us at the pre-race meeting.
Safe travels if you’re coming from out of state or out of country! We look forward to meeting everyone in Sturgis next weekend!
Ryan and Chris