Friday, June 19, 2009

Final Kettle wrap up

Okay... I am putting this thing to bed.

I have splits, other race info, and stuff that is probably seriously boring.

So I thought I would wrap this up with an answer to this question.

"Is Kettle Moraine 100 a good first 100 miler?"

In my opinion, Yes.

First, notice how I did not call this one "easy". People have dubbed this one as an easy 100 Miler, which I think makes the RD's laugh. I think easy is a relative term, and no 100 miler is "easy". Some are faster than other, but each has their unique challenges.

I only have Superior 100 to compare this too. Quite frankly, apples and oranges. One has to approach Superior more as an adventure race than a running race. I walked over half of Suprior (probably 60%). In comparison, I probably ran over 90% of Kettle.

So here are the pros and cons for any of you considering it as a first.

The Pros

1 - Technical difficulty - moderate to low. The first 100k only has a couple of short sections of technical running. Most of the terrain is completely run-able. The last 38 has some technical spots, but they are not deadly. If you take it easy in that section (you will more than likely hit it at night), you should be fine.

2 - Out and backs - Out and backs are easier to manage from drop bag or crew stand points. It is also nice to see others on the course.

3 - Test runs - You can run a lot of it if you run the Ice Age 50 Mile 4 weeks prior. The parts you don't see at Ice age is the 25k past the 40 mile turn around and the 25k return trip. This is an easy technical section, but the dreaded "prairie" section.

4 - It is a well established run, with few problems, if any, popping up.

5 - Course markings - Very easy to stay on course. Not many places to get off course. Even Steve Q didn't get lost.

The Cons

1 - You guessed it... WEATHER. It can be HUMID or like autumn. If it is hot, sunny, and no breeze, the prairie section becomes EVIL.

2 - 100K turnaround. If you are not fully prepared mentally to go 100 Miles, it is really easy to drop at the 100k point and get your 100k credit (and a copper kettle). This is the Start, Finish, and 100K turnaround. Have someone there ready to kick your butt.

3 - The Prairies - Even on a mild day, they can be bad. I heard horror stories about them before the race last year and said "how bad can a prairie be?" Trust me... don't underestimate them.

4 - The coyotes - You hear coyotes going crazy during the night. Every year 4-5 runners get eaten by them, never to be seen again. Bring coyote repellent.

I have met more people (some with multiple times) DNF Kettle than Superior. I think part of it is that more people try Kettle. But still, it is an odd stat.

So that is that.

Next race..... not sure.... but good chance I will finally make a showing at Voyageur 50M


RunWesty said...

Good series of posts with some great lessons and a nice wrap up with good points for those of us pondering a 100 at some point in the future. Congrats on your finish, great time.

SteveQ said...

I agree Kettle's a reasonable course (especially given Zumbro and Superior) and you're right about all the pros and cons. I'd add the people there as another pro, especially if you run Ice Age and Glacial first, getting to know the locals. Great bunch of people.

Runnin-From-The-Law said...

I was considering it until you mentioned the coyotes.

Anonymous said...

what recommendations do you have for headlamps?....stew