Vulture Bait 50k

This was the weekend that I had been training and preparing for, for the last four months.   I had done some pretty tough races before, but never two races on the same weekend. 

Saturday started off a little easier than most races, since it was only about a 20 minute drive from my house to the race site at the Fanshawe Lake Conservation Area in London.  I had enough time to pick up my race package and mingle with a few other runners I knew from the Ontario Ultra Series as well as a few Running Mania members that I have ran with before.  

If you are a runner in Canada, it is worth checking out Running Mania.  It is the biggest online network of runners in Canada and is a great resource for training tips, race reports and overall support from the other members on the forum.  Ultra-runners also have a very close community of their own, within the larger running circle. 

Both the Vulture Bait 25k and 50k races start at the same time and it is a fairly low-key event, with only a couple hundred people participating.  The course has a range of surfaces including grass, gravel, single-track dirt trails, rocky terrain and a little bit of asphalt.  

The Dirty Girls 30k has been the only other trail race I have done before, so I was actually quite nervous for this one.  I wanted to just run this one slow, enjoy myself and not get hurt.  

I spent most of the first lap (the course is a 25k loop around the lake) running with some other runners that I knew from the other ultra I did earlier this year.  

As always, Ron Gehl was out racing.  He has got to be one of the most experienced ultra-runners in Canadian history and is quite a character at 65 years old.  

I also ran with Laurie McGrath for about 15k, chatting to pass the time.  I spent just over an hour running with Laurie in the Niagara Ultra back in June and she is a true inspiration to me.  She is a teacher and mom, who finds the time to train and compete as a top national level ultra-runner.  She recently represented Canada at the 100k world championships in England, helping her team to a podium finish.  The time just flew by having someone to talk to. 

Just before finishing the first lap, I slipped on a rock while crossing a small creek and stepped into the cold water, soaking my foot.  I was initially upset, but there was nothing I could do so I just kept on running.  I ran the second lap mostly solo, as the runners had either spread out or already finished after 25k. 

The one thing that really helped me get through the second lap was the snacks at the refreshment stations.  Like I said before, ultra-runners are a whole different crowd of people.  They enjoy all types of goodies while they race.  

Throughout the whole race, I had jelly beans, nibs, jube-jubes, pretzels, M&M’s, gummy bears, two bite brownies, mini cinnamon rolls, chocolate mint patties, Pringles, not to mention the gels and Gatorade and other essentials like bananas and oranges.  Now if that’s not a little inspiration to want to run an ultra, I don’t know what is. 

My ankle was really starting to bug me for the last few kilometers and I just wanted to finish.  I finally made it after about four and a half hours on the trails.  

After a quick plate of pasta, a few cookies and a chatting with a couple more runners I was in my car and headed to Toronto for my next race! 

© Brian Groot 2020