You don’t always get to race wherever you want. And for trail runners, this leads to what I call “runderlust” … the longing you feel when you learn about a beautiful singletrack but for whatever reason you can’t run there. Maybe it’s private property or just too risky to run it since you don’t know the area well enough to go it alone. So you keep your eyes open for chances to run there. This, my friends, is one of those chances.
Run under a specially-granted permit, the McKenzie River Trail Run uses some of the amazing trails in the Willamette National Forest. Now, before I build this race up too much only to dash your hopes, you need to know that registration for the 2016 race is closed (this race fills every year). But if a 50k through beautiful Oregon forest sounds like your idea of a good time, head to the woods as a volunteer and then be prepared to register when the 2017 race opens up.
The course has a total of five aid stations. In true ultra fashion, they will be spaced out approximately every five miles (give or take a mile). And they will offer Gu Brew and water, as well as typical ultra aid station food. And they’ll need volunteers to man those aid stations! To sign up, contact race director Mark Humphreys at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him how you can help.
And if you do want to sign up for the 2017 race, volunteering will help you mentally prepare. The aid station cut-off times are roughly aligned with a 15:20-15:30 per mile pace, which may or may not be hard for you depending on how this specific trail treats you. You’ll be able to cheer on this year’s participants and get to know what draws people to this event year after year.
Learn more about the event at its website here and engage with the race and its participants on its active facebook page here. This is also a great way to get notified when you can sign up for next year so you can jump on it, since the race is capped at 200 participants. The 2016 registration was only $70 – very reasonable for an ultra – so you can expect next year’s cost to be close to that as well.