“The race is thought to be one of the burliest, non-altitude 50-mile races in North America” – iRunFar
This was my third year in a row to participate in Manitou Revenge race. The first year I finished the race in the dark, probably in sub 18 hours. The second year, I DNFed at mile 40 from chest pain. And now, I came back again this year to put my dices on the Manitou’s Table of Rocks. It’s always a mystery why I always came back to this race. Literally this was the hardest 50 miles foot race ever (for me at least), so nothing was easy, pain was the game and my only companion, yet it was pretty out there. I guessed my brain somehow filter out what to remembered, only the good memory from Manitou that stamped in my brain.
Finally I got into a starting line without any water dropping from a grey sky. A little bit chilly from the wind, but it seems it gonna be a good day. I had done this race for 2 times before, it s a fast flat course with a small section of road. The plan for this race was taking an easy run, have fun, and work on my nutrition.
Course Description from The RD
This race takes place within the city limits of Philadelphia, and therefore qualifies as an urban ultramarathon, but you will not find things like traffic, noise, bad air quality & concrete buildings here. This race course is located within Pennypack Park, a hidden gem within Philadelphia’s Fairmont park system. The park stretches along Pennypack creek for about 7 1/2 miles, and is home to many trails, huge old trees, birds & other wildlife. I run here all the time, and never get tired of it.
Bear Mountain is always a special place for me. Not only is the place where I could get sanctuary from real life every weekend, but it was also where I found what they call trail running for the first time. Well I don’t think I am really a runner, probably just a slightly fast hiker.
Runners can expect terrain changes from packed dirt to loose rocks, from tree roots to leaf-covered trails. The Bear Mountain Endurance Challenge course cuts to the chase, with some trails heading steeply uphill rather than zig-zagging at a gentler grade. Descents end in wooded hollows before the next rapid climb ending with breathtaking views. Make no mistake: this will be a tough test of off-road endurance.
Course Description Situated within the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley boasts amazing formations that reach over 1,000 feet into the sky and draw your gaze in wonderment. You will likely recognize these formations or “monuments” from the hundreds of movies that have been filmed in this desert backdrop over the years. Vibrant colors and dramatic shadows cast along the valley floor will give you a sense of becoming “in tune” with nature, experiencing the same inclusion with the natural world that the Native Americans have practiced for generations. Running becomes less of an activity and more of an intrinsic way in which to absorb the landscape.
This race will begin on Friday and will start off heading south on a long out-and-back leg to the remote and sacred Mystery Valley and up onto Weatherill Mesa to the turnaround point overlooking the entire central valley. After returning through race headquarters (approx mile 36), the route then takes you directly over to the Hogan aid station in the central valley (mile 40). From here, you will do a 4.5 mile loop through the North Window overlook, then a 9.5 mile loop that takes you past the Totem Poles, several arches, and some petroglyphs. You will then climb up onto Mitchell Mesa and turnaround at an overlook directly above the starting line (mile 59) with views into the north and central valleys. You will then run the Arches and North Window loops in reverse direction before departing for the north valley at mile 79. This last section of the course takes you along side the East Mitten, Brigham’s Tomb, Stagecoach, Big Chief, and Sentinel Mesa formations before leading you home to the finish line.
The trail loop was a 10.0 miles, which would go by Summit Field twice every loop as well as Turtle Back Parking area. This course had a little bit of everything; long stretches of double-wide woods road Meandering single-wide trail, about a mile and a half stretch of pavement, and miles of soft dirt interlaced with ankle twisting rocks. If there was rain leading up to the day of the race or during the race, it would be almost impossible to avoid certain patches of mud. Good combination of level patches, rolling hills, moderate climbs, and a few very steep ascents and descents.