May 14-15, 2022
Start: 6:00 AM, Saturday
Finish: 10:53 AM, Sunday
Total time: 28:53
Location: Androscoggin Riverlands State Park
Me, my partner, and my friend Justin drove up to Maine together on Friday afternoon. We drove to Martin Stream Campground to pick up our registration packets, and then swung by the State Park to check out the start/finish and staging area. We then checked into our hotel, bought takeout, ate dinner, and went to bed early.
We were up around 4am on Saturday, to prep and pack up. We headed to the State Park for 5:15am and managed to snag a great spot on the outside edge by the portapotties. The day was going to be hot, up to 92 degrees, and it was already in the high 60s around sunrise. We set up our gear, with a table and chairs, around the back of the car, only ~15 steps away from the start and finish line.
The race started promptly at 6am. Justin and I ran our own paces from the start; I saw Justin perhaps a mile from the turnaround aid station, as I was heading towards it and they were heading away. We hugged and high fived, and kept moving. For my first 25mi lap, I didn’t stop long at each aid station, just long enough to refill my water bottles. I ate a few pickles and started in on a salt pill at each station as the day heated up. It was in the high 70s by 9:30am, and people who were pushing hard were sweating profusely. I got back to the start/finish around noon, just under 6 hours.
I changed my sweat-soaked socks, drank 24oz of Skratch, ate cold soaked ramen, and then headed back out. Jeremy my pacer reminded me as I left that lap 2 was pure survival – keep it at a 3 RPE with almost all hiking. And so I did, running some downhills here and there but hiking everything else. I didn’t spend much time at the aid stations but kept it moving, eating pickles, salt tabs, and ginger ale at each stop. I saw Justin near the turnaround again, and they were a bit wilted but doing well; I reminded them to eat plenty of salt. I perked up for the last 40% of the lap as the day slowly started to get cooler. I ran a little more, and felt like I was doing really well – I’d been passing people at aid stations who looked heat sick. I got back to the start/finish around 7:30pm.
I had more Skratch and ramen, changed my shirt, and picked up my pacer Jeremy. We headed out into the dusk; I kept a quick pace from my excitement for the first few miles, with a lot of running. As the sun set, we settled into a slower rhythm. The dark minimized the hungry mosquitoes that had been devouring us all day, and that was a nice change. My stomach became more insistently hungry, and we took time at a few of the aid stations for me to sit and eat some real food, which included perfectly crispy bacon. It didn’t start cooling down until well after midnight. We got back to the start/finish right around 2:30am, passing Justin as they headed out from their nap.
We took a short break, and I ate ramen and drank more Skratch. Then we headed back out for the last lap. I was a bit anxious and agitated about my slower pace, but Jeremy assured me that we should keep cruising until sunrise and the turnaround. We went through the first aid station and I wasn’t interested in eating anything there. My stomach was a little off and I was tired of eating/chewing. We pushed on towards the turnaround, and a little more than a mile away, we saw Justin. They were looking energetic, and they told us that I was in 9th place and they were in 5th!
This gave me something to focus on. We hurried to the turnaround aid station, where Jeremy helped me select my last round of trail snacks from my drop bag, refilled my water bottles, and ate a perfect fried egg with cheese on it. Then we were back on trail, focused on running when we could, picking up the pace. We passed by 4 people, including one relay runner, between the turnaround and middle Earth aid stations. I quickly filled up my water bottles and then pushed up the last big climb, leaving everyone else in the dust.
As we came within a mile or two of the finish, we came up on another runner who was walking very slowly. But as soon as he heard us, he took off at like, a 5K pace and disappeared. In the end, he must have slowed down, because he only finished 3 minutes ahead of me. We kept up a good pace and ran for the last half-mile to the finish, getting there before 11am!
I made the finish in under 29 hours, at an event that had a 74% attrition rate. 80 people registered, 65 people started, and only 19 people finished, with only 9 finishing in less than 30 hours. The course record is 17:37 and the 1st place runner this year was 24:35. I finished only 4.25 hours behind 1st place, which wasn’t bad at all!
After a little celebration at the finish, Justin, Toby, and I sat around for a bit and then packed up, after talking with the race directors to get our buckles before the 3pm ceremony. Since we had a 4+ hour drive ahead of us, we wanted to get started as soon as we could. We went over to Martin Stream Campground, ate lunch at the food truck, and then collected our drop bags before heading towards home!