In my own personal opinion, the course at YUT-C is one of the most technical, rocky, rooty AND beautiful in all of northeast Ohio. Pick your season and it never disappoints. From the fall colors coming up to the twice-the-size-of-humans icicles near the Mill in the winter, it's always beautiful. The YUT-C course circumnavigates 3 different lakes in their entirety multiple times and within those or dividing them are manmade waterfalls from the dams. In between, the stream twists and turns, is full of light rapids and wildlife, and is simply always beautiful to look at. The best way to understand the course and trails at Mill Creek Park is to imagine a figure 8. Starting from the bottom of the 8, runners begin at the Old Log Cabin. Following the 8 clockwise as if writing the 8, runners pass the Covered Bridge at the center of the 8 and the first aid station. They continue on the 8 around the top right which takes them around Lake Newport. They do this loop (top of the 8) twice before finishing up the 8 by heading back to the Old Log Cabin. At this point, the 25K runners are finished. The 50K runners continue on and do the lower/fat part of the 8 twice more before finishing at the Cabin. Smooth trail under pines, running atop pointy rocks, climbing the infamous Monkey Hills (since our knuckles nearly drag in the dirt due to the angle of the climbs), running along a boardwalk path en route to the Covered Bridge and even a little bit of asphalt on the east side of Lake Newport, this course has it all.
|Lake Newport during the road section|
Overall, I am very happy with my result. The 5:40 finish was a 15min PR on the YUT-C course and easily one of my faster 22 50K finishes. Most YUT-C finishes have me about an hour slower. For the whole field of finishers, the results show that 76 of 89 starters finished the 50K. That's an 85.4% finishing rate. I am listed as the 16th finisher. Not too shabby! :)
Post race, some veggie lasagna, pizza, a birthday cake for the race director "Slim" and plenty of friends to catch up with. At YUT-C, some folks just pack up and get on with their day yet others will just linger to watch other ultra runners finish and/or chat it up with fellow runners and NEO Trail Club members. I really appreciated the time I got to just chill out and hang out. As swag for the race, we got one of the best tech tees I've ever had and designed by none other than Slim's wife, Beth. Excellent design! (the print is the first image at the top of this post) At the finish, all finishers received the YUT-C oval sticker as well as a one-of-a-kind unique finisher's award...a green, aluminum bottle open with YUT-C printed on it. Sweet! There's no doubt...us NEO Trail folk love great craft brew!
|Jim "Slim" Harris (race director), me, and Kim "Kimba" Love-Ottobre at the finish.|
Photo courtesy of Jeff Musick
A few random photos from the trail below:
|Yinzer Covered Bridge|
|Closing in on the Covered Bridge after finishing the Monkey Hills|