The Vegan Power 50k was on Saturday. This was my first time running this race, but my friend Laura Kline won last year and highly recommended it (spoiler alert: she won again this year). The race is held in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which is in the Berkshires.
The race was about an hour from where my parents live. I left bright and early on Saturday and enjoyed a fantastic sunrise on the way there.
I managed to find the parking area and I caught a shuttle to the start. I got there around 6:30 for a 7:00 race start – perfect! It was enough time to get ready, but not so much that my nerves would get the best of me. I picked up my race packet and my bib was lucky number 13. I chatted with Laura for a little bit and I met Skott, another member of the Strong Hearts crew. On the starting line, Laura and I were shivering – totally normal for a race on June 20th. I think it was about 50 degrees. A few months ago that would have felt downright balmy!
The race started and we took a short paved section that led to the forest. The course is 6 loops that are 5+ miles each. The elevation profile for the entire race looks like this:
As you can see, there were a few hills on the course but they were fairly modest. The challenges on this course were the roots – so. many. roots – and the sharp turns. It was hard to get any momentum going because there were so many [nearly 180-degree] turns. With that being said, the course was unbelievably well marked. You couldn’t make a wrong turn if you wanted to. Honestly, I’ve been on tracks that weren’t marked as well as this course.
There was an aid station at the halfway mark of the loop. It was operated by the one and only Uptown Vegan. There was also an aid station back at the starting area with lots of good stuff. There was definitely not a shortage of quality, vegan food and drink!
For the first half of the race, I was slowly building a lead. By the halfway mark, I think it was a few minutes. Jared was giving me some great feedback on the course so I knew how much of a cushion I had. I hit 25k in about 2:06.
I slowed down a little bit the second half of the race. I was still a little tired from Cayuga Trails three weeks earlier. I was also trying to preserve my legs for Finger Lakes 50-Miler, which is in less than two weeks! I ran the second half in about 2:13.
My final time was 4:19:41. I missed the course record by a few minutes, but I was okay with that.
Full results of the Vegan Power 50k are available here.
For winning the race, I received an awesome prize pack from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
Ana Wolf, the race director, did an amazing job! It was great to meet her, Michael Menard, Benn Griffin and Jake Dissinger.
I think this race is great for:
- first-time trail runners
- first-time ultra runners
- vegetarians thinking about becoming vegan
- meat-eaters thinking about becoming vegan
- people who enjoy races with a “community” feel
- people who enjoy northeast singletrackThe race is probably not great for:
- people trying to set a PR – the course had a few too many roots and sharp turns
- close-minded people