August 24-25, 2019 Easton, Washington
Thank you for joining us for the 21th edition of Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run!! Cascade Crest has a deserved reputation as tough and scenic 100-miler. Race founder Randy Gehrke set up an excellent course and established the Cascade’s low-key friendly atmosphere during his seven years at the helm. Charlie Crissman, RD from 2007-2012, maintained that Cascade charm and further developed the race into the Pacific Northwest Classic it is today.
Cascade Crest is non-profit and seeks to offer an awesome 100 mile experience while also supporting the Easton Volunteer Fire Department and other worthy service organizations. We also promote our trail community by supporting trail improvement organizations like the Washington Trails Association. Requiring all runners to complete a day of trail work is one way we welcome you to the Cascade Crest community. The race remains an all-volunteer effort with help from across the Northwest running community and from our friends in the town of Easton. The community of Easton has supported the event since its inception and we are happy to continue a strong partnership with the community and the Volunteer Fire Department.
This year, we again utilized a lottery system that resulted in 175 lucky runners and a waitlist of over 260 hopefuls. It is gratifying to have such strong interest in the event and we will do our very best to make sure you have a positive and memorable experience on race weekend.
GU Energy Labs
Green Layer Sports
Black Diamond Equipment
Josie and the Rhino Ultra Running Gear
Squirrel’s Nut Butter
Please support these companies throughout the year so they can continue to support smaller events like Cascade Crest.
General Event Principles
We prefer to keep race rules to a minimum. You, your crew, and your pacers can help Cascade Crest stay informal by practicing a few basic principles while you are on the course.
1. Retain your sense of humor. Remember that you paid to do this. This event can be difficult, painful, emotional and frustrating at times. Don't forget that it is also voluntary. If you are miserable out there (and most of us are at some point) slow down and eat. That will probably fix your attitude. If it doesn’t, get stoic and force a smile on your face or else call it a day. Treat volunteers, crew, pacers, friends and family with thanks and respect no matter how tired, sore, and grumpy you might be. If you use crew support, please remember that there is no such thing as a crew mistake, only bad instructions from you the runner ☺ If you get frustrated with your crew we suggest you take some stress out of your life (and theirs) and run solo.
2. Don't litter on the course!! That means any trash in your hand should go into a trash bag. If you are 10 feet out of an aid station either turn around and put your empty wrapper or cup in a trash bag or carry it with you to the next station. Do not leave trash on the ground. Trash has never been a problem at Cascade Crest. Please, please keep it that way. Trash karma is a real phenomenon. The only runner known to have fallen into Kachess Lake off of the Trail From Hell dropped a GU packet on the ground just before plummeting into the water. Don’t let this happen to you.
3. Be aware of course markings. We spend a lot of time marking the course but it is not a yellow brick road and we have had issues in the past with flagging and glow sticks being moved or torn down. Part of the challenge (and fun) of 100-milers is navigation. While we don’t expect you to know every twist and turn on the course, we do expect you to have a good general sense for major landmarks and turns. We’ve got a dedicated crew of race veterans marking and remarking the course this year headed up by Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs. On the Pacific Crest Trail we mark very few places and only for the benefit of those covering that section at night. Pay attention at intersections, keep an eye out for those PCT trail signs and you should have no trouble. We'll be out remarking sections while you run. If you think you are off track wait for another runner or retrace your steps until you are oriented. If you feel lost, remember principle #1 ☺ We will again be using reflectors and reflective tape instead of a lot of the glow sticks used in past years. These have proven to be very visible at night in the glow of a flashlight or headlamp and are much more environmentally friendly than glow sticks and are reusasble, helping to keep costs and waste down.
4. Prepare for the weather. Cascade Crest can be hot, even though it is not considered a “hot weather” race. In 2006 the temps were in the 90's on Sunday and it topped 100 at the last aid station. Come prepared for tough, energy sapping heat. It can also be wet and cold, as the 2007 and 2015 participants can attest to. If it is a drizzly or even just a cloudy day you will get much colder than you expect on some of the higher sections. The weather in Easton (the eastern-most part of the course) is always drier and warmer than the weather on Snoqualmie Pass (the western-most part of the course). Just because it is hot and sunny when you start at 10AM does not mean you won’t be shivering and wet by 4PM. Use your Stampede Pass drop bag to stash suitable wet weather clothes unless the forecast is for unequivocally hot temps all weekend. We have EMTs and search and rescue staff on our radio network if something goes wrong but we really expect you to be prepared for weather. Check the local weather before race day; carry the right clothes, gloves, hats etc. and run a sensible race.
5. Do not go home without telling us. We want you to leave from the fire station on Sunday with a buckle in your pocket. If you end up dropping out, you must let an aid station captain know. Get to an aid station, ask specifically for the aid station captain and make sure that he or she knows that you are dropping. Please do this yourself if at all possible and don’t rely on your crew to go and find the right person.
6. Make sure you are checked in at each aid station. We spend a great deal of time and energy trying to keep track of everyone as you all come through the aid stations. Help the volunteers by making sure that your numbers are visible. If you come in with a pack of runners, take a couple of seconds to be sure you are logged in. Your cooperation will really help the volunteers and will assist those at home tracking your progress.
7. Know your limits. All 100s are tough and this one lands towards the tougher end of the scale. Pay close attention to how you feel as the event progresses and don’t let your watch get you into trouble. Pace yourself by effort, not by time and if you are pushing too hard, slow down. The second half of the course will chew you up if you do not pace appropriately. Be realistic with time goals. This event offers little fame for the finishers and absolutely no shame for those who leave the course early. Whether you end up running 100 miles or 20, our objective is to give you a fun weekend on some beautiful trails, with good food and camaraderie. The top priority is to get everyone home safe and sound.
8. Beware of Bees, hornets, and wasps. Be prepared for bee stings and do not run if you have concerns about an adverse reaction. Bee stings are always a possibility in August in the Cascades and the first 30 miles of Cascade Crest tend to have a few angry bees each year. Nests of ground wasps have been a noticeable problem in recent years. If you have any concerns about how your body will react to stings, talk to your doctor and carry medications to deal with an adverse reaction. Medications are not dispensed at aid stations and advanced medical care is a long ways off.
9. Be unfailingly polite to other trail users. Most of the people you encounter on the trail will be on the PCT on Saturday afternoon. Do not expect them to yield the trail to you. They came out for a relaxing hike. Stepping off the trail for 100+ runners is not what they had in mind. Please use good manners and common sense to find your way around hikers without causing them any inconvenience. We have a great track record of positive encounters between hikers and runners and we obviously want that to continue. Also be aware that the PCT allows horses so it is possible that you will run into people on horseback. If you do, please politely announce your approach, especially if from behind, and ask the rider what will work best for them. Nobody wins if the horse you are right next to is spooked.
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There are TOPO maps posted to the website along with elevation profiles. There is a link on the website to order the Green Trails maps that cover the course (#207, 208, 239, 240). If you are unfamiliar with the course we recommend reading through this description with the maps and elevation charts handy.
Start to Tacoma Pass: This section has some steep, hot climbs and is underestimated every year. Don’t use up too much energy too early.
You will leave the fire station and make your way along part of the John Wayne Trail before cutting through a private residential neighborhood to a series of foothills and dirt roads that lead to the start of some tight switchbacks up to Goat Peak. After a short while, you will hit the first aid station in a clearcut that is the result of some recent logging activity a little over 4 miles. For veterans, this is where the aid station has been since 2012, not the old location on the road at the base of the trail. We are moving this aid station to where it was last year to shorten the distance to the Cole Butte aid station to around 6 miles. Remember to thank Ken Greenway and his team before you head up the hill. There may be dirt bikes on this section. If so, please be patient and courteous. Beware of bees as there is often a beehive shortly after leaving the road. The climb from the Start up to Goat Peak is not trifling. To put it in perspective, it is essentially the same elevation gain and mileage as the climb up to the Escarpment at the start of Western States but with tougher footing and you'll do it in the heat of mid-morning. Do not take Goat Peak lightly. Many CCC DNFs start on this climb. If you have aspirations of course record glory, by all means, take off. For the rest of you, settle in, downshift a gear and drink on the climb.
As you pass by the rock outcropping on Goat Peak, you can basically see the entire course to the North and West. Pause to soak in the view. The next section along the ridgeline to Cole Butte has some nice rolling single track with good views into the peaks to the south. The trail can be brushy in some sections and cants heavily to the left at times so take it easy. It is too early to roll off the side of a hill. Eventually the singletrack trail will spit you out onto an old logging road. This is the location of the Cole Butte Aid Station, at almost 10 miles. Due to poor road conditions, the Cole Butte aid station will be minimally stocked, but there will at least be water and some minimal calories. Please thank Dorte and Mike Mahaney for making the trek out here to get water to you!! At the top of this road there is a nice view of Mt. Rainier. After you leave here you’ll cruise along the old logging road and wind down about 1,500’, across another logging road and then back up about 1,500’ to the third station at Blowout Mt. (15m), ably captained by Jason Reathaford. The road gets pretty rough before the Blowout Mtn aid station. Depending on how badly the winter snow moved the rocks around the aid station may be a bit lower down. The road is not kind to low clearance vehicles. Don’t linger for too long as the PCT awaits in another few miles. You will spend the next mile climbing up (yes, up) from Blowout Mt. towards the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail. Just before the intersection with the PCT, you will see a sign pointing towards Manashtash Ridge. Turn left here. Follow this to the actual Blowout Mountain before joining the PCT a couple miles south of where you turned left (you were just a few feet from the PCT when you headed towards Manashtash Ridge) When you get to the PCT, be sure to take a right here. If you miss this turn and cross the Columbia River into Oregon, you’ve gone too far.
You will spend the next ~32 miles on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Make sure you understand what the PCT trail markers look like. We generally do not mark the PCT except for some key intersections. It is pretty easy to follow as long as you are paying attention. When you get to about where you turned left towards Manashtash Ridge, there will be a light aid station at about 19 miles, run by Killer Deese from San Diego Ultra Running Friends. Please show your gratitude as Killer and crew had to pack this all in for you.
Then, after a really nice and generally downhill section you will pop out at the Tacoma Pass aid station (25.4m), which is also the first crew access point. If you are feeling the heat of the afternoon this is a good spot to take a minute and make sure you are getting enough fluids and calories. Eric Sach and crew will get your fed, fueled, and on your way.
Tacoma Pass to Hyak: Almost all on the PCT. A drop down the famous roped section to the John Wayne Trail and through the tunnel to Hyak. Most of you will see half of this section in the dark. The PCT is not a difficult trail but it is not fast. Don’t panic if you are moving at 3.5 - 4 mph.
Be sure to leave Tacoma Pass with full water bottles. The next section to Snowshoe Butte is long (about 7 miles) and you’ll be in the hottest part of the day and some of the climb out of Tacoma Pass is in logged huckleberry meadows (full sun, ripe berries!!). The terrain has moderate ups and downs all the way to Stampede Pass.
Snowshoe Butte Aid Station (32m) is accessed via a ¾ mile bushwack hike carrying all of the water and supplies, so be sure to thank Jeff Hashimoto (2014’s Second Place Finisher) and the Ellensburg cross-country team!! They will have fluids and a few light snacks for you.
If you expect to be at the back of the pack, We suggest carrying a small light from Tacoma Pass which may mean sticking it in your pack from the start. You will have about 10.5 hrs to get to Stampede Pass before it’s dark and if hot weather might slow you down consider bringing a light in case you need it for the last couple of miles. Remember, if it rains (which happens on occasion in WA), it will get dark earlier.
Once you leave Jeff and his crew at Snowshoe Butte you are only about 3+ miles from Stampede Pass and your drop bag (if you are using one). About 1.5 miles from Stampede Pass you will start to pass under a series of power lines. There are three sets of power lines and the last one is the widest. You'll know it because in the middle of the clearing the trail does a sharp turn to the right and then back to the left. When you hit the trees after that clearing you've got 0.3 miles to the aid station. Stampede Pass (36m) is being run this year by Jessie McClurg. There is a cutoff at Stampede Pass at 8:30 PM. You MUST leave here with lights for night running. Even if you are one of the leaders, you must still have a light for the tunnel!! In 2018 there is a new moon on August 30, so don’t expect much moonlight.
From Stampede Pass you've got approximately 14 miles on the PCT to Olallie Meadows with the Meadow Mountain Aid Station about halfway along. These are longish sections (about 7 miles between stations) but the trail is moderate with decent footing and some nice older growth sections. After climbing up out of Stampede you'll pass through rolling trail and at 5 miles out you cross a forest service road just after passing over Stirrup Creek. The PCT signs / blazes are easy to follow, just keep an eye out and don't turn off on any dirt roads. The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) has done a LOT of work on this section of the trail over the last few years and expects to have a crew out on race day, either before or after Stampede Pass. Please remember to give them a shout and thank them profusely for the work that they've done to make your race more pleasant! Meadow Mt. station at 43 miles (approx.) is at a forest service road crossing. The aid station is just beyond the road. Have some soup, raviolis, and/or a quesadilla and consider the adventure ahead in the night to come. Meadow Mountain is ably captained by Herb Reeves, (one of the bunch running the Capitol Peak Ultras). There is no crew access at Meadow Mtn AS.
Leaving Meadow Mt. you make a gradual climb up and over a ridge and past a sign saying that you are leaving the national forest and entering the Cedar River watershed. At this point the trail leaves the trees and you are in
an old clear cut. You will drop downhill from the ridge to Yakima Pass. There is quite a bit of brush through the section and if it is damp out your legs will be soaked most of the time, as will your feet. As you come down into the saddle of Yakima Pass you will cross a few old logging roads and you will pass a pond on your right (Twilight Lake) with a trail sign marking Yakima Pass. The PCTA has done a lot of work on this section of the course this year and you should feel appropriately grateful as you run through the improvements in this area.
From the Yakima Pass sign the trail switchbacks up to Mirror Lake. There are some creek crossings that should be an easy hop at the end of August. Just before reaching Mirror Lake you leave the clear cut and reenter the trees. There will be almost certainly be hikers camping at the south end of Mirror Lake. They are there to enjoy the weekend in the wilderness and did not expect a steady stream of runners to roll through all evening. Try to be quiet as you pass through, especially if passing through after dark. This is not an aid station. Keep on truckin'; you've got 5 miles to go. Savor the pretty run along Mirror Lake. It is one of many reasons why we really like the Cascades. It is about ½ mile around the east (right) side of the lake and shortly after leaving the lake you'll hit a trail intersection. Stay to the left (do not go right). You'll climb from the lake up about 500 ft on gradual switchbacks. At the top of this climb pay attention and again, stay to the left. A trail to Twin Lakes goes to the right and downhill and the PCT goes to the left. The mileage sign is old and illegible so trust me, just stay to the left. The next 2.5 miles or so to the Olallie Meadows aid station (49m) are very pretty. The trail is rolling and generally downhill. If you are fast enough you can enjoy the views before the sun sets. This is a good section to regroup, shake off the heat and get an appetite so you can enjoy the pirogues. As in years past, Scott McCoubrey and company will take good care of you here.
Leaving Olallie Meadows you will stay on the PCT for about a mile before leaving the trail to the left for a steep downhill on a rough gravel road. After approx. ½ mile of steep downhill on the road you will plunge into the woods on the right and bushwack your way down the hillside to the John Wayne Trail through the Snoqualmie Tunnel. There will be fixed ropes to get you down a couple of tricky sections. It is steep and can be slippery here so please use the ropes and take your time. Most of you will do this in the dark. Be patient and careful please! You’ll come down to the John Wayne trail and head to the right towards the railroad tunnel. This bears repeating: when you finish the rope section and hit the John Wayne Trail (an old railroad bed) GO TO THE RIGHT, gently up hill. Note that this is the same John Wayne Trail that you began the race on 22 miles further east and ~50 miles earlier!
The tunnel is one of the unique features of Cascade Crest. It is cool and damp inside and about 2.3 miles long. Make sure your flashlights are working well! Exiting the tunnel you’ll follow the old railroad bed trail for less than ½ mile until you hit a parking lot. Similar to the last two years, the Hyak aid will be in the large parking lot beyond the end of the tunnel!! Pacers and crew are NOT allowed to run into the tunnel to meet their runners; This is a requirement of our permit to use this trail! Also, crew vehicles at this aid station must display a Washington State Discover Pass, which can be purchased on site next to the bathrooms.
Remember that once you get to Hyak you have a long paved and dirt road uphill climb where you can let your quads recover. The Hyak station is managed by Jenny Appel and the Puyallup Y Run Club. They have a fondness for Christmas which may be evident as you collect yourself for the second half of the run. Fuel up and make sure you have the right clothes and lights for the rest of your night running. Cut-off here: 3:00 AM.
Hyak to Mineral Creek: A relaxing starry night climb up and over Keechelus Ridge with a chance for some good fast downhill running before the trials and tribulations of the Lake Kachess Trail, aka the “Evil Forest” or the “Trail from Hell”. If it's not cloudy, there should be a bit of moonlight late at night, but don’t count on this.
You will leave Hyak by going TO THE LEFT and keep taking lefts until you button hook around and are
running up the access road with I-90 on your right. Then cut under the freeway toward the old aid station location at the Gold Creek Sno-park lot. This area will be marked heavily but pay attention. Those parking lots can get confusing after a full day in the woods… Do not turn left onto the I-90 off ramp (although you would not be the first), take the next road to your right, the paved access road just to the north of I-90. You’ll be on pavement for just under 2.5 miles and then the road will turn to dirt and begin to climb away from the freeway. While there are a number of spur roads that branch off there is only one legitimate intersection between the change from pavement to dirt and the time you get to the Keechelus Ridge aid station. The intersection is 1.5 miles after you go from pavement to dirt and it is 4.8 miles from the Hyak aid station. The road will fork in a Y and you will go LEFT and uphill. Other than that fork in the road (the one where you turn LEFT) there are no other turns of consequence. You should always feel like you are on the primary dirt road and do not get pulled off onto any narrower, less-maintained spur roads. It is 8 miles from Hyak to Keechelus Ridge aid station and it can feel longer than that. You are basically climbing the entire time once you transition from pavement to dirt on NF-4832. This is a good section of the course to recoup and look up and enjoy the stars if they are out. Adam Stritzel is heading up the Keechelus Ridge station again this year. When you leave the aid station, there is another major intersection about ¼ mile up the road. You will go LEFT and UPHILL at the intersection. Another ¼ mile after that intersection you will crest out at the top of Keechelus Ridge and the road will bend sharply to the left and begin to descend. From this point on there are no major intersections until the turn just before the Lake Kachess aid station. Just keep trucking and stay on what is clearly the most well maintained road. The downhill section into Lake Kachess aid station is one of the fastest sections of the course if you want to make up some time. It is a long section so prepare both your quads and your mind. It will probably take longer than you think it should. Just before the aid station you need to turn left at a road intersection so be aware and looking for the turn. The aid station is not in the Lake Kachess campground. There is a cutoff here at 8:00 AM.
Lake Kachess aid station (69m) is another good place to size things up as it is easy to get back to Easton from here. Once you leave Lake Kachess you’re going to have a long journey to the finish one way or the other as there are not any close and easy places to drop out the rest of the way. If you drop after Lake Kachess you will need to wait at the aid station until it is packed up. If you are right on the cutoff at Lake Kachess you need to really feel good to get to the finish. This is a good place to be realistic about your prospects. Jeff Wright is captain of Lake Kachess, which is a drop bag station and also a good place to pick up a grilled cheese sandwich.
Leaving Lake Kachess aid station we will send you on a bushwhack trail that cuts up and over a ridge and then down to the start of the trail along the West edge of Lake Kachess, often referred to as the ‘Trail from Hell”. This section of trail is a lot less of a bushwhack than it once was and you can thank the runners of years past for making your way a good deal easier! There was a large bridge at the very beginning of the Trail from Hell that was damaged by winter storms and dismantled by the forest service. You will need to log hop across the creek and scramble up the other side - you will find out how agile you feel at this point in the race, whether you use the logs or just get wet. The trail follows the lake shore although you are generally up and away from the lake a bit. There are a couple of washout sections where the footing is quite precarious. One of these was repaired by a trail work group organized by CC100 veteran Arthur Martineau a couple years ago after it had completely washed out over the winter. Please move carefully through this section. After 4 miles along the lake trail you’ll pass the north end of the lake. This is a clue to be paying close attention and looking hard for a right turn. At the 4.6 mile mark (from the time you initially joined the lake trail) you will take a sharp right turn from trail #1312 to trail #1331. Pay attention for this turn. It is really easy to miss. We always mark it heavily but we’ve had people step over ribbons blocking the incorrect trail completely and keep going. The best thing you can do to avoid getting off course here is to remind yourself that as soon as the lake is not visible off to your right, start looking for the right hand turn that will take your around the lake’s northern end.
Once you take the right turn onto trail #1331 it is about 1/3-mile to Mineral Creek. You will cross the creek to access the aid station and you may get your feet wet (but probably not this time of year).
The total section from Lake Kachess aid station to Mineral Creek aid station is just under 6 miles long and looks quite benign on the elevation chart. At night on tired legs it can wear you out. It is rocky, root-strewn and rolling with dozens of short, steep gullies. Take your time and be careful. I encourage you to look at the split times for this section from previous years so you can get some perspective (the fastest known race-day split is by Gary Robbins in 2014 at 1 hour 19 minutes for these 6 miles!!). There are tricky sections of trail in here that require prudent, cautious navigation. Worry about speed on the other 95 miles of the course. Terry Sentinella and Delores Feyer-Sentinella and Northwest Endurance Events will again be taking great care of you here.
Mineral Creek to the Finish: A long uphill dirt road with great views followed by single track with even better views and steep, short climbs, followed by an epic downhill single track interrupted by the results of an epic avalanche. A bit of log climbing before arriving at the Silver Creek aid station. Then ~4 miles of re-entry to civilization on Jeep trails, dirt roads and pavement back to Easton.
You will leave the crew at Mineral Creek and embark on a long gradual climb up a well maintained dirt road. It is a total of almost 7 miles and almost 3,000 ft of gain by the time you hit the next aid station at No Name Ridge. About 2 miles out of the Mineral Creek aid station you will come to the crew access point at a road junction. There is also an unmanned water drop another mile or so up the road. There are three intersections between Mineral Creek and No Name Ridge. Be sure you are confident about these turns. We will have them marked well and we have never had trouble on this part of the course with people moving makers but be sure to stop and double check your navigation at any intersections if you are not confident about the route. Eventually you will bend around a few final road switchbacks and arrive at the No Name Ridge aid station (81+m). We are sure there are secret plans in the works for some sort of theme party up here. Betsy Rogers, a veteran No Name volunteer, is in charge at No Name this year. Be happy, you’re now back onto single track for the next 15 miles! The cutoff here is 12:30 PM.
The next section is the prettiest and toughest on the course. We will have it marked with ribbon and there are reflective trail markers on the trees. There are some great views along the way of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the Stuart Range. Don’t forget to pick your head up and enjoy the scenery. The trail is pretty overgrown and faint in some sections. There is not a great deal of foot traffic between No Name Ridge and the next two aid stations, Thorp Mtn, and French Cabin. The short, steep climbs that give this section its name explain why there are not many visitors.
The Cardiac Needles are a series of short but steep climbs between No Name Ridge and just after French Cabin. There are basically 6 climbs (but who’s counting?) including the one up to the Thorp Mt lookout. The first one is the worst of the bunch (you’ll know it when you get there).
4 miles after No Name Ridge you’ll reach the Thorp Mt. aid station (86+m) and make the out and back climb up to the lookout cabin. There is very likely a Ranger living in the lookout tower so, to avoid waking her/him up when the front runners come through, we’ll have you stop a bit short of the very top. You’ll retrieve a marker at the top to verify that you covered the full climb and you’ll turn in your marker to the aid station crew at the bottom of the climb. Thorp Mt. aid station will have limited fluids (plan on 20 oz. per person) and some snacks. This all gets hiked up several miles on the backs of an incredible crew of volunteers led by Eric Purpus. Feel free to heap effusive praise on your aid station hosts if you have any energy left. Also, be sure to top off your fluids before leaving No Name Ridge aid station and ration from Thorp to French Cabin if it is hot and you are running low.
It is 3+ steep and challenging miles from Thorp to French Cabin (89m). The good news is the views can be spectacular. French Cabin aid station (no, there is no cabin here anymore) is in a picturesque saddle and when you leave here you’ll really have just one legitimate climb left in the 11 miles that remain. Pat Ackley will be running French Cabin again this year. Once you grunt up the final steep switchbacks out of the French Cabin basin it is time to shake out your quads and get ready for downhill. Trail #1315 will take you all the way down to the Silver Creek aid station, captained by Jack Wiley. There is a cutoff at Silver Creek of 6:15 PM. There are basically three sections to the Silver Creek trail: steep downhill, moderate downhill, steep downhill. There are several stream crossings in this section as you cross and recross Silver Creek. These will feel great if you are still on course Sunday and it is warm! This section is very runnable and great fun if you have anything left at this point. From Silver Creek to the finish line is 4 rolling and flat miles into and though Easton and back to the fire station. You'll follow a a horse trail until you pop out onto the Easton airstrip. It may be tempting to run across this to the other side, but it is an active airstrip so you must follow the flagging around the east end. You’ll be smelling the barn here...literally and figuratively. You'll join the dirt road that passes the Silver Ridge Ranch and campground there before hitting the last stretch of pavement over the freeway and into town. You’ll be smelling the barn. This year, the finish line will be managed by 10-time finisher Rob Smith.
Aid Station Summary
Minimal aid – difficult access.
Fuel up. Next major aid at Tacoma Pass.
Minimal aid, hike-in station.
Please park past aid station.
Limited supplies: hike-in aid station.
You must leave with lights!!
No crew access.
Recommended that crew skips this aid station. Road is in bad shape.
Ideal crew access point.
NO CREW VEHICLES on the course between Hyak and Lake Kachess!!
PLEASE PARK PAST AID STATION.
Crew must park 2.5 miles up the hill.
No Name Rd
Unmanned water stop.
No Name Ridge
Prepare for The Cardiac Needles!!
Limited supplies: hike-in aid station.
No crew access. Road is in bad shape.
Limited aid – only flat 4 miles to go!!
DONE!! Time to soak your feet ☺
This is a crew-friendly course. There is not a great deal of driving (unless you go to the Mineral Creek Rd.) and there are a lot of access pts. To limit the impact of the race on some of the more remote roads, please limit crew support to one vehicle per runner at each station. Hyak is an exception as there is easy access and adequate parking. Crew vehicles at this aid station must display a Washington State Discover Pass, which can be purchased on site next to the bathrooms. Parking is tight at every other aid station. See if you can carpool with other crews if you know your runners are moving at the same pace. Use the live race coverage (see the race website for raceday coverage URL) to locate your runner. Exit 62 accesses Tacoma Pass and Stampede Pass. This is a great place to park a vehicle and double up. The roads are slow and washed out to Tacoma and Meadow Mt. At all aid stations, park sensibly. Access roads are used by other people on race weekend and we don’t want them inconvenienced by our vehicle traffic.
Crewing is an established practice in 100 milers and an important part of many runner’s race strategy. Keep in mind that some runners do not use crew support. Since 2007 we’ve limited crew access to certain stations to keep vehicles off of the dirt road sections the runners are covering. If you are an old hand at crewing CCC please review this section and respect the changes we've instituted.
* PCT Course Access: Between Tacoma Pass (25m), Stampede Pass (36m), and Olallie Meadows (49) there are 3 available access points within 24 miles. We respectfully request that you refrain from going to every single one of those aid stations. They are all accessed on narrow dirt roads with washboards, mini washouts and a lot of dust if it is hot and dry. The race exists at the whim of the Forest Service and we want to maintain our good relationship. Crew traffic has the biggest impact on the area during race weekend. These 3 aid stations have limited roadside parking. Please consider skipping Olallie Meadows. The road is usually in bad shape.
** Keechelus Ridge: Crew vehicles are not allowed on the paved or dirt roads between Hyak (54m), Keechelus Ridge (62m) and Lake Kachess (69m) aid stations. This is to allow the runners a car-free journey over Keechelus Ridge. Crews, when you leave the Hyak aid station, do not turn left and drive down the access road north of I-90. You must take the highway back to exit 62 to access Lake Kachess aid station.
*** Mineral Creek: Crews must park at the top of the 2.5 mile climb out of the Mineral Creek AS. Crews are not allowed to drive all the way down to Mineral Creek. Do not pass beyond the intersection of NF-46 and NF-4617. You must park before (east of) this intersection. We will have a sign up there to direct you. If you start following course marker ribbons in your vehicle, please return to above the intersection. Let the runners make the climb out of Mineral Creek without having to deal with vehicle dust. You can crew your runner when they come to the road intersection 2.5 miles out of the aid station or you are welcome to walk down the road to the aid station and accompany your runner back up. Don’t park past the road intersection (NF-46 and NF-4617).
**** French Cabin: The road into French Cabin (89m) is always in poor condition. To avoid the risk of cars getting stuck, no crew vehicles are allowed up to French Cabin. You can see your runners 7 miles later.
In all cases, please drive slowly and carefully, especially at night. We worry more about you on the roads more than we do about your runners moseying along the trails. You are welcome to retrieve your runner's drop bag before they arrive, help the aid station staff as other runners come through and politely pester the radio crew if you're wondering how long your runner is taking.
We have 4 drop bag locations. They must be dropped off at the designated spot at the fire station on Saturday morning between 6:15 – 7:45. Please be sure to have your lights for night running ready to go at Stampede Pass. Drop bags will be returned to the fire station for you to retrieve. It is your responsibility to reclaim your gear before you go home. If you are a fast runner and plan to use a Mineral Creek drop bag, they will probably not be back at the fire station until around noon on Sunday. Plan accordingly. If you forget to pick up your drop bag after the race in Easton, we probably will too, and its contents will gladly be used by the local needy.
Pacers are allowed beginning at Hyak (54m). As ultra-running as grown in popularity the importance of pacers has become a bit overblown. It is not necessary to have a pacer in order to finish and finish well at Cascade Crest or any other 100-miler. Darcy Africa, former female course record holder, and Jeff Browning, when he set the male course record, both ran without pacers. We have plenty of first time 100-mile runners each year who do just fine without crew or pacers. We don’t discourage runners from using pacers during the run but we do encourage runners who don’t have pacers lined up ahead of time to enjoy the company of fellow runners and make the journey on their own. Enough with the pre-amble… the remarks that follow provide some guidelines and suggestions for happy pacing.
A pacer’s job is to help their runner accomplish his or her goals, and to display good trail etiquette and uphold the principles of the event.
Pacers can start at Hyak (54m). Normal pacer options are as follows:
- run the whole second half from Hyak (mile 54, 46 miles to finish)
- run from Hyak to Kachess Lake (mile 54-69, ~15 miles)
- run from Kachess Lake to the Finish (mile 69, 31 miles to finish)
Pacers must be on foot (no mountain bikes) except from Silver Creek to the finish line. One pacer per runner except from Silver Creek to the finish line.
Runners with pacers should still carry their own gear (no Leadville muling). Pacers are welcome to graze at aid stations but we expect you to come prepared with the essentials anyone would bring on a long trail run. Please leave the GUs for the runners and bring your own supply if you need them.
Pacers are allowed from Olallie Meadows for runners leaving Olallie after 11:00P however we strongly suggest using pacers starting at Hyak vs. Olallie since the logistics are easier. You cannot park overnight at Olallie Meadows and if you do we will get a scolding from the Forest Service so… don’t do it. If you feel you must pace from Olallie it is up to you to hitch a ride up the hill from Hyak.
Runners over 60 years of age can have a pacer beginning at Stampede Pass.
A couple suggestions for pacers: Know the course distances, split times and elevation profile of the section you will cover. Keep track of your runner's general pace (i.e. carry a watch) and location (use the raceday live tracking, see the website for this year’s URL). Make sure you remember to drink and eat. Take care of yourself as well as your runner. Don't treat the aid stations like a convention buffet but be sure to keep yourself fueled. Pick up any trash you find along the way (hopefully not an issue). Come prepared with some good stories but be ready to run in silence for hours if that is better for your runner. Sometimes quiet company is nice. Always be aware of course markings.
Aid Station Supplies
Things you will encounter at aid stations:
Water (we use fresh, delicious Easton, WA tap water. WA water consistently tests cleaner than any major bottled waters and we don’t like all those plastic bottles.)
Salty junk snacks (chips, Fritos etc.)
Sugary junk snacks (the normal mix)
Fruit: Bananas, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapes
Potatoes with salt
Sandwiches (PB&J, turkey)
Ice (as much as we can get out there if it is really hot)
Soda (Coke, Mountain Dew, Ginger Ale – not until Tacoma Pass)
GU Roctane electrolyte caps (at some stations)
Real Hot Food
We have hot ‘real’ food for you at approximately half of the aid stations. You should expect to encounter: Grilled Cheese, Pirogues, Raviolis, Burritos and potentially some other options at select aid stations. For those of you new to this distance we recommend taking the time to eat real food. There are some very talented 100-mile runners who can make it through these runs on nothing but gels and fluids but most of us can’t. You will need lots of calories to get back to Easton on foot and we do our best to provide enough variety to keep the aid stations interesting. There will be soup at the nighttime aid stations. There will be coffee at a few aid stations. We will do our best to have plenty of ice for you at the major aid stations if it is an ice-worthy day.
Things you may not find at aid stations:
Pain meds. If you want advil etc. plan to carry your own. We recommend against taking anything but minor doses of ibuprofen during the event. Please use common sense and stay well hydrated if you choose to take ibuprofen.
Electrolyte caps. We will have GU Roctane electrolyte caps out on the course but please don’t rely on the aid stations for such a crucial item. All of you should be comfortable using some form of electrolyte replacement - GU, Succeed, eCaps, Nuun, rock salt - your choice, your responsibility. Plan ahead.
Specific footcare products. Many aid stations will have duct tape (which we rank second to water in terms of general life utility). Plan your own foot care if you think you’ll need it.
Gels – We will have GU at some aid stations but not all. Plan to carry what you think you will need. We are grateful to GU for their donations of gels but we don’t have an endless supply and it is out there to supplement what you bring for yourself. Where you do encounter gels, remember the rule that it’s rude to take seconds until everyone has had a chance to eat. In other words, we’ve probably got enough for one per runner when you encounter gels at a station. The runners behind you thank you in advance for your consideration ☺
We expect you to be prepared for medical situations unique to your health history. If you have any special conditions (allergies, asthma etc.) please make us aware when you check in on Saturday morning and be sure to carry any medications or inhalers you might need with you during the run. We do not do weigh-ins before and during the race. Dehydration and over-hydration are possibilities at any 100-mile event. You should have a plan to manage your electrolyte intake and pay close attention to your body and especially to how you are processing fluids. We have EMTs on the course at Stampede Pass, Hyak and at Lake Kachess aid stations. We will have basic first aid supplies at other aid stations.
This is a remote, wilderness event and should be approached with preparation, caution and care. We expect you to be self-sufficient and responsible on race weekend.
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Travel and Accommodations
At this point you’ve either got accommodations or are planning to crash in your car (old school style). Please note that, unlike in years past, it is not acceptable to sleep at the fire station the night before the race. Lake Easton State Park is the nearest place to sleep to the start. If you need info on where to stay or get supplies, check the travel tab of the website. If you are reading this manual I’ll assume you can operate on the internet…
Also check the travel tab on the website for convenient locations for post-race showers.
Driving Directions to the Start / Finish
To get to the fire station take exit #71 off of I-90 and head south (right if coming from Seattle, left if coming from Cle Elum) from the exit and keep going straight, past the post office on your right, over the railroad tracks and up to the fire station which will be on your left. If you can’t find the fire station, you are in for a long weekend…
Last Minute Food and Supplies
If you are not passing through Seattle and heading east on I-90 to the race then Cle Elum is your best bet for last minute items; there is a Safeway on 1st Ave. If you are coming through Seattle and heading out on I-90 here are a few options to grab last minute items as you pass through Issaquah. These stores are all close to the highway.
Issaquah Grocery Stores (exit 15 or 18):
PCC Natural Market - 1810 12th Ave NW - 425-369-1222 exit 15
Trader Joe’s - 975 NW Gilman Blvd - 425-557-6420 exit 15 or 18
QFC - 1540 NW Gilman Blvd - 425-392-7500 exit 15 or 18
Safeway - 735 NW Gilman Blvd - 425-392-0410 exit 15 or 18
REI’s flagship store is on I-5 in downtown Seattle and there is an Issaquah location as well.
REI – Downtown Seattle – take the Olive St. exit off if I-5 and take two lefts
REI - Issaquah, 735 NW Gilman Blvd - 425-313-1660 exit 18, located next to the Issaquah Safeway
We like dogs and trails and especially dogs on trails. Some of you are planning to run with your furry best friends during the race and we would like to continue offering this as an option. If you have your dog on the course you must have crew, you must take very, very good care of your pooch in the heat of the day and please be respectful of other runners. We have never had a problem with a runner's dog and would like to keep it that way, so, if you are not sure your dog can make whatever distance you plan to travel with them or have any concerns about their comfort around other runners, etc. please consider altering your plans. There are absolutely no vets nearby. Dogs who join the beginning or end of the run through Easton must have their runners on a leash and their owners will be responsible for keeping their dogs and leashes out of the way of other runners.
Runners without dogs... we strongly advise you not to run in a mail carrier's uniform.
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Cascade Crest directs a healthy chunk of your race fees to help our friends and hosts at the Easton Volunteer Fire Department. The race is able to make a donation every year to help with the FD Auxiliary Fund that provides support to members of the Easton community and the surrounding area who are in need. Some of their projects include Christmas food baskets and presents for needy families and an Easter Egg Hunt for kids from Easton and Cle Elum. The Fire Department makes the race happen for us and we thank you for allowing us to support them financially.
While you are traveling through the Central Cascades we want to make you aware of two organizations who's work protects the trails, forests and views that you will see during the event.
The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) acts as the primary steward for the famous trail through the Sierras and the Cascades from Mexico to Canada. We are privileged to use a section of the PCT during the race and happy to support the PCTA in the name of Cascade Crest.
Washington Trails Association (WTA) directs most of the trail building and maintenance work taking place throughout the Cascades. Their work across the region deserves the solid support of all local trail runners. Glenn Tachiyama (our official and favorite event photographer) and Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs (chief course marker) organize the design and sale of an annual trail running calendar each December to support WTA. Get yourself a calendar for the upcoming year and send one to everyone you know when they come out. See our Facebook Cascade Crest Endurance Run page for announcements regarding the calendar.
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Race Weekend Schedule
Friday, Aug 23
On Friday night there is an informal dinner at 6PM (or so) at the restaurant by the Summit Lodge at Snoqualmie Pass for anyone who is interested. This is on your own and unplanned. It’s generally pretty easy to spot slightly nervous ultra-runners.
Saturday, Aug 24
6:15 - 8:00AM - Race Check-in. You must check-in at the fire station by 8:00 AM if you plan to run!!
6:15 - 7:45AM - Drop bags dropped off. We'll have drop bag locations staked out by the firehouse by aid station. Send out what you need but please don't pack like you're going on vacation with Imelda Marcos.
6:30 - 8:30AM - Breakfast at the firehouse for runners, volunteers and crew. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR.
7:00AM - Optional early start for runners over 60 years of age. Runners must check in by 6:30AM and check in at finish arch by 6:55AM.
8:00AM - Mandatory race briefing. This is the only time on race weekend when we are all together. We use this time to recognize some of the people who help to make this event happen. Runners, all you need to do is clap enthusiastically when prompted and we’ll have you out of there in no time to hit the porta potties. Crews, we'll cover any last minute course issues, cover general logistics and answer your questions.
8:55AM – Playing of the National Anthem (a CCC tradition)
9:00AM - Start
9:30AM - Crew meeting at Fire Station. This is highly recommended for your crews to get updates and questions answered.
Sunday, Aug 25
7:00PM – Course closes
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For First Time Runners
Many of you have not run Cascade Crest before and some of you are tackling the 100 mile distance for the first time. In either case it is our hope that everyone toeing the line at 9 AM on Saturday morning finishes. We've surveyed a stellar group of Northwest running luminaries and compiled tips and advice on the course and on the distance. These are suggestions, specific and general, that past finishers wish they had known (or listened to a bit more carefully) before tackling CCC.
Phil Shaw – 2006 and 2009 CCC winner
Here's my advice to first-timers regarding the CCC:
1. Hundred milers reward patience.
2. The second half is harder than the first half. Always remember this.
3. There are three fast sections at CC 100: The first, and longest, occurs after turning onto the Pacific Crest Trail and lasts about 30 miles. The second section, from Hyak at mile 53 to Kachess Lake at 68, is a fast gravel road. The long descent is another good opportunity to make up time. Lastly, the final 10 miles of the race are downhill or flat. If you can save your legs for the end, or you’re able to push through your discomfort, you may surprise yourself here.
3. Try to laugh at the infamous "trail by the lake.” It comes between long sections of Forest Service road. Take it slow, be patient, and know that everybody has to slow down substantially on the rocks and roots.
4. The Cardiac Needles (mile 80-90) will be the most challenging part of the race, but showcase the best views on the course. Forget about your time and enjoy the ridge.
5. If you're not from the Northwest, you may be expecting cool weather and lush forest. You may encounter either of these. The CC100 covers some beautiful territory, but it's not protected wilderness (races can't happen there, sorry). Expect many clear-cuts and logging roads during the first 40 miles. The exposed sections can be very hot in August.
7. By the 10 o'clock start, it's hot outside, and the first climb can be a shock. In fact, the first 15 miles can be pretty uncomfortable. Go slow and push the pace once you reach the Pacific Crest Trail.
8. Take a moment on Thorpe Mountain to appreciate just how wonderful and ridiculous this whole adventure is. You’re almost there.
Krissy Moehl – 2016 CCC winner, 2007 Hardrock 100 winner, 2009 UTMB winner, Chuckanut 50k RD
Eat and drink early and often. Take care of yourself before you feel bad. Wait to take caffeine. Avoid Ibuprofen. Practice running at night with your light system... most important... HAVE FUN!
Melissa Berman – 5 time CCC finisher
Figure out ahead of time what would have to happen to make you quit and do not quit unless that thing happens. For some people it might be they are not making some time/distance goal. For me it is I will keep going unless I injure something so badly that I am physically unable to proceed. And I have finished with some very nasty blisters and I have spent 1.5 hours at an aid station (Kachess Lake) where my crew thought I was a goner, but I came back from the dead and finished.
To finish CCC (and maybe any 100 or any ultra for that matter) one must be determined to finish because inevitably something will happen out there and you will have to get past it or give up.
Kendall Kreft – multiple CCC finishes
The #1 bit of advice I would offer, in particular to first time 100 milers is to be patient. It should feel easy at the start. I believe that many first timers start too fast, getting caught up in the excitement of the event and then struggle later on. Don't be afraid to walk early and often. At the same time, don't just stroll along; hike with a purpose and take advantage of the walking breaks to eat and drink. Small amounts of food and drink on a regular basis work better than gorging at aid stations.
If you have a lot of dirt and grit in your shoes early, it may be worth the time to clean your feet and shoes.
Avoiding hot spots will keep your feet happy longer.
The CCC course has some long climbs and some long down hills. I'm not a good climber, so I won't try to offer advice here. However, I do down hills pretty well. Stay relaxed, keep your turn-over up and avoid braking too much. Coast the downs as much as you can. Don't lean back on your heels.
Finally, use the aid stations. People are willing to help you. Let them fill your bottles, but tell them what you prefer. Take care of yourself and then get moving. Eat while you walk. A surprising amount of time can be lost at aid stations. On the other hand, if you need a break, sitting down for a short break can help with some partial recovery. Just don't stay too long.
Jamie Gifford – Two time winner – 15 time finisher
The biggest thing that I would stress is that due to the 10:00 AM start, it can be very warm right away. Therefore, can't stress enough the importance of starting out conservatively (especially given the first climb) and staying very well hydrated. Also, starting out easy will save the body for the second half of the course.....which is very challenging!
Shawna Tomkins - Former women's winner
Cascade Crest will be one of the most rewarding 100 milers you will ever do. In this run you will be tested in all facets of Ultrarunning. When you begin this run, as with many other 100s you will feel like you are leaving the start to head out into Washington's remote wilderness. However, you will get to do it with the best support possible. Cascade Crest support is second to none. The aid station personnel have been manning aid stations for years and they have what you need and are smart. Listen to them. Take nutrition EARLY!
By Goat Peak you should be eating REAL food, with early distances are long between stations. 2 Bottles from 1st Drop Bag on are necessary. Drink up and WALK EARLY-DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE how this section will burn you out.
Tacoma Pass area will feel longer than it is, but look up (Cause I never did-I missed a lot!) it's beautiful there.
Soon you will be heading towards Hyak-Christmas in August! And they mean it. You will find ANYTHING you desire there. Run in, change your shoes, clothes, grab your warm stuff-you will need it. (I always drop bottles here and pack it for the night section to the finish. Hands and arms are tired of carrying bottles by now.)
Be ready for miles of gravel, but again, look up-it's beautiful here too! Have a pacer here that KNOWS HOW TO WALK with purpose and has something interesting to say-it will be long without it. TONS of time is made up here-Walk/Run like you mean it. The next section (Trail from Hell) of trail will be either really fun (if you like a challenge) or really frustrating IF YOU LET IT-Don't. It is short and once you finish it you will be greeted by the best aid station EVER. Get what you need there and enjoy their excitement and experience before heading out on the roads. Again, keep moving here, it is the last easy movement you will have until the end.
The last part is challenging and will test you for real. You will utter "Are you Kidding Me?", I promise, when you get to the Cardiac Needles. Most of all, you will love Cascade Crest, and you will know you finished a REAL one when you are done. Finish it, no matter what-IT WILL BE WORTH IT-FOREVER
Rob Smith - 10 time finisher
Rob's words of wisdom, from a back of the pack perspective.
Save yourself for Sunday. Miracles can happen once the sun comes up on Sunday.
Saturday, run within your comfort zone, do not push it.
Survive the night, do not worry about anything other than heading in the right direction.
Sunday, do what you can with what you have left.
Adam Hewey - 3 time top 5 finisher, Master’s Course Record Holder
If you would walk it in the last 30 miles, walk it in the first 30 miles. Eat and drink before you get hungry or thirsty. Be steady and remember we all hurt during a 100 miler but suffering is optional. Enjoy the beauty of the Cascades and the company of your fellow runners.
Kent Holder - How to finish CCC100
Cascade Crest was my 8th different 100 mile race over a span of 21 years of running ultras. I wanted it to be special as it was to be my last 100 miler. I love the distance but at 61 the training had become more of a commitment than I wanted to continue. I picked Cascade Crest to be my last 100 on purpose. You see, it had a reputation for the "magic" of the early years of development of 100 milers. The no nonsense flavor of self reliance and self actualization obtained competence. Traits somewhat diminishing in the “Ironman glow" dominating some of the popular big name 100s. I had heard that CCC100 was in many ways like the early days of Western States & Leadville & others like Angeles Crest, Wasatch and Vermont I had run in their beginnings. I was not disappointed & I have come away with a cherished memory still lingering 7 years after my last 100 miler. It was not an accident. Let me explain why.
First I read everything I could find written about the race & talked to as many runners as I could who had done it already. I learned as much as possible & then I went to the venue to learn more. Studying maps is good but running the actual trail prior to the race is the best training possible. There's always the possibility of course marker vandalism. If you ever feel that you're off course, retreat the way you came until you regain the course. This course has the reputation of being adequately marked. I really enjoyed learning the course & pre-running it in segments in the months prior to the race. For those who this is not possible, learn the course from the description & maps as best you can.
Altitude & heat should not present any problems because the Pacific Northwest Cascade mountains are not too high elevation & the weather on race day is usually fine. The steepness of some of the hills is extreme. Some of the miners trails the course follows in some places take the shortest route just like the miners & their burros did… straight up or straight down! Train those climbing & descending muscle groups, you will need them. Don't worry about stuff you can't avoid like the tunnel or the roped descent.....enjoy their uniqueness.
Address problems before they are problems. Simplistic advice but it's true. Take care of all those things you know you have to take care of: like caring for your feet, eating & drinking, preventing rashes & blisters, planning for your drop bags, coordinating your crew if you have one, and all the other stuff you know that you need to do. Think about your race & what you want to take away from it. Then make your plan to execute it.
Patience will reward you in this race. I started dead last on purpose to control my exuberance. My pacing goal was to be able to run at the same effort at the end of the race as in the beginning. I was able to do that & was rewarded with a 7th place OA & I covered the entire 100 miles with the same effort throughout. I never really sped up the entire race and I really didn't have to slow down either. I walked a lot but was never reduced to having to walk. This is not easy to do but it can be done by ordinary ultrarunners like me with course knowledge, proper training, discipline and patience.
This is a Classic 100 mile race. Treat it & yourself with respect by learning about it & training for it adequately. If you do you will finish with a cherished memory.