Here’s the nitty gritty about the Big Basin 50K. My race recap can be found here.
- Organizers: Coastal Trail Runs
- Location: Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, from Saratoga Gap to Waddell Beach
- Distances: Marathon and 50K
- Cost/sell-out factor: I paid $70 for the 50K back in December; prices increase as you get closer to the date. The race did not sell out.
- Course: 3190′ gain/ 5790′ loss according to the race website, though my Garmin had 3800′ gain/6350′ loss before it died with 1.5 miles to go. The terrain varied a lot; there was pine-covered single track, exposed rock, sand, rocks/roots, and stairs. Then, there were the obstacles: fallen redwoods to climb over and go under, creek crossings, and boulders to jump down from. Tip: if you have gaiters, wear them. I kept getting small pebbles/rocks inside my shoe, which was annoying.
- Weather: 60’s (F) at the start, but well into the 80’s by midday. I would say 75-80% of the course is shaded. Weather Underground says the humidity ranged from 66-84%. Last year, the temperatures were in the 90’s so we were very lucky this year.
- Parking: No parking at the start, so you either have to take the pre-race shuttle that leaves from Waddell Beach (the finish) at 6:45 a.m. or get dropped off. The parking near the finish is 1.8 miles from the official finish area. There’s a shuttle.
- Aid stations: 5 along the course, separated by 4.5-8.6 miles. Each was fully stocked with the usual trail racing goodies, everything from boiled potatoes to cut fruit to peanut M&Ms to PB&J sandwiches. They also had water, sports drink, Coke, and Sprite.
- Bathrooms: About 10 porta potties at the start. I think I saw real bathrooms in Big Basin State Park (near Gazos Creek aid station), but otherwise, there were no bathrooms on the course. Concrete outhouses at the finish.
- Swag: Technical tee, medal, and a coaster for the 50K finishers.
- Post-race food and drinks: I was in a daze after I finished, but I recall seeing chips, cookies, and a huge tray of hot dogs or sausages.
- Pre-race communication: I pestered Wendell, the race director, with lots of questions before the race (via email), and he was always quick with a friendly reply.
- Advice for anyone considering this race: Don’t go out too fast! Several of the downhill sections are just as slow-going as the uphill ones, due to technical conditions. It’s a beautiful trail — enjoy it!