Race Preview: Kanawha Trace 50k

August 5th marks the 8th anniversary of the Kanawha Trace 50k, a point to point ultra with an overall elevation gain of over 5,000 feet. In this race you’re either climbing or descending so the quads are going to be wrecked.


We will need to be shuttled to the race start from the finish line. Shuttles will leave at 6:15 am so and the race is over 3 hours from my house so I’ll be driving down and camping out the night before. I’ve camped out before for a race once before and it can be a little nerve-racking. You worry about forgetting to pack something, having your phone charged and the alarm going off, getting enough sleep, etc. Hopefully I’ll be alright for this one.

The race has awards for the top 5 finishers. This will be my goal. The course record is 4:23:55 set in 2017. I’m hoping for a 5:20:00 or better. I’ve ran one 50k in the past in 5:31:00 so I think I can do that, which should put me anywhere between 2nd and 7th place based on the past three years of results. Needless to say, this is going to be a grind if I want that award.

Nothing new on race day for preparation. I plan on bringing tailwind and water in my two soft flasks, some gels, and some salt pills. I’ll use the aid stations for the rest of my nutrition. For breakfast I like oatmeal with peanut butter and coffee early to get the bowel plumbing going.

Plan for the race is to get into a solid groove and pace the uphills, crash down the downhills. The course is technical so I’ll need to watch my footing. I want to make sure I’m alert so a rogue rock or tree root doesn’t take me out. There’s two big climbs right before the finish so I’ll have to make sure I save myself for those. Hopefully I can gain some ground or even catch up to people ahead of me on those two climbs.

Weather should be in the mid-80s with abundant humidity so I need to be aware of my electrolyte intake. Other than that I think I’m pretty well set for this race. Still injury-free this far through the season and feeling fast. Hopefully I can snag an award at the end!


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