Race Reports

In the News

  • February 8, 2012 – The Boise Weekly shows a little love for the Idaho Trail Ultra Series and Wilson Creek.
  • January 25, 2012 – The Owyhee Avalanche runs a great picture and some results for Wilson Creek.
  • December 22, 2011 – Desert Racing for the Daring – Idaho Statesman’s Article about the Wilson Creek Frozen 50k; race registration fills this day.

Race reports

Joelle Vaught’s 2012 50k Race Report

We had been having a very dry winter until the Wednesday before the Wilson Creek Frozen 50K.  The previously dry and packed trails were suddenly covered in several inches of snow followed by a few days of heavy rain making some serious slush and mud.  I had never run the trails where the race was taking place, a little over an hour from Boise in the Owyhee mountains, but I had heard that we could be dealing with some serious mud now that the weather had turned wet.

The morning of the race was warm here in Boise, about 48 degrees but the weather prediction for the day included rain and wind.  As the race started, the weather seemed mild, but I was warned of the headwinds I would encounter in certain areas of the course.  We began in the dark with our headlamps and were quickly on singletrack that was a bit slick with mud but nothing serious.  About 5 guys started very quickly and my legs were feeling a bit heavy so I just settled into my pace and watched their headlights out in front of me.

I fell once on a muddly sideslope, covering my hands in mud but was able to quickly get up and move on.  At the bottom of a descent I couldn’t find the trail marker and waited for the runner behind me who I knew was familiar with the course.  He got me going in the right direction and we began to ascend and muddly hill.  As I climbed I realized there were only 2 sets of tracks ahead of me so a few guys must have taken a wrong turn.  I had one more fall in the mud before the 1st aid at mile 7 where we turned onto a once dirt road that was now deep, sticky mud.

The mud was extremely difficult to run in and continued to collect on your shoes with every step, soon making it look like you were running in snow shoes.  I knew I just had to keep running even though it was slow and arduous.  This mud finally ended about 2 long miles later where we hit the out and back to the summit.  It was a rocky climb up to some towers where there were gale force winds. It was fun because I could see the 4 guys who were ahead of me at this point and then several who were behind me.

Next was a long, steep, muddy descent where it was difficult to stay upright because you were sliding so much.  There was off and on mud, but things became much more runnable through mile 20, which was also the [eventual] finish line. A number of 50K runners stopped at 20 miles – the mud had worn on them too much.  The next 4 or 5 miles wer again very muddy and the running became a bit frustrating because I was slipping so much – I just wanted to run!

The best part of the race turned out to be the last 6 miles where we ran in a beautiful canyon next to a creek, where the trail was perfect.  The scenery was gorgeous and the trail was runnable, it was a great way to end the 50K.  I ended up as the 3rd 50K finisher as 2 of the guys in front of me stopped at 20 miles and was the 1st woman.  The race this day was certainly not as much of a test of speed as it was a test of perserverence in difficult conditions.

Emily and Davina, the race directors, and all of the volunteers did an amazing job under tough circumstances.  The course was well marked and, in better conditions, it would have been awesome high desert running.  There were 4 wheelers out in the mud making their way to aid stations and to take pictures.  I was amazed also that nearly all those entered showed up on race day knowing how poor the weather had been and how bad the trail conditions probably were. It is a great group of runners!  I am excited to do the race next year and will be praying that it really is the Wilson Creek “Frozen” 50; but as for this year, it was a great adventure and all the runners have great stories to tell!

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