Cayuga Trails 50: Video by RD Ian Golden

I’m sticking with the theme of the week, which is the Cayuga Trails 50. Ian Golden, the race director, put together this sweet video. It gives a nice, little preview of the course, and there are some great tunes by The Sim Redmond Band to go along with it. Check it out:

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Cayuga Trails 50: The Course

*** Please note that there have been some minor changes to the course for 2015.

2015 Course

2015 Course

Please check out my preview of the elite field and enter my giveaway contest.

Cayuga Trails 50 has an excellent course. It is challenging, yet runnable. It is beautiful – but you’d better watch where you’re going!

For this review of the course, I’m going to break it down aid station to aid station. If you still have any specific questions about the course, feel free to ask.


Sections 1 & 7 (Start to 2.9 miles, 25 miles to 27.9 miles)

There are two tenths of a mile on flat grass to get you warmed up – then you start climbing on a jeep road. It is a gradual climb, but it is pretty relentless. Before getting to the mile mark, you’ll already have tacked on 300 feet of elevation. The next mile is relatively flat in terms of elevation, but watch where you’re going! The “paved” paths in this section are tricky and the “stairs” can wreak havoc on your joints. Near the start of the third mile, you’ll turn onto Red Pine. You’ll gain nearly 300 feet of elevation in half a mile. Unless you’re a lot tougher than me, you’ll be hiking this part. The good news is that once you’re at the top of Red Pine, you can cruise half a mile downhill into the aid station.


Sections 2 & 8 (2.9 miles to 6.9 miles, 27.9 miles to 31.9 miles)

After leaving the aid station, you’ll run on some relatively smooth trails for a bit (although you have to jump over a few trees that are down). These bring you to the cliff staircase – it’s a little disorienting because you’re looking down at the tops of trees. Last year, Ian had some helpers on the stairs to make sure you didn’t do anything stupid. Take your time here – I promise you that your race will not be won/lost on the stairs. There is one more modest climb (200 feet of elevation in half a mile) and then a two-mile descent all the way to the next aid station.

Sections 3 & 9 (6.9 miles to 12.4 miles & 31.9 miles to 37.4 miles)

In my mind, this section is the [vegan] meat and potatoes of the course. It has river crossings, huge hills, mud, slop, snakes (although I didn’t see any) and heat.

After crossing the big river (with rain last night, the river will probably be almost waist deep), there is a short flat section and then you hit a monster climb. In about a mile, you’ll climb nearly 700 feet of elevation. There are switchbacks – but you’ll probably still be hiking most of it. There are a few false summits – now that you know, don’t let them discourage you. The good news? Once you hit the top (around 8.9 miles, 33.9 miles), it’s flat/downhill for the next three miles.


Sections 4 & 10 (12.4 miles to 18.1 miles & 37.4 miles to 43.1 miles)

The next part of the course is a little tricky. There are lots of stone steps and they’ll be wet. In addition, the second time you go through, there will probably be tourists – a lot of them have kids. Be careful. Don’t be an asshole. With that being said, after the aid station, you’ll climb fairly quickly – 550 feet within a mile. After that, it is gradual and definitely runnable. You’ll go back through the mud and slop. You’ll suffer a little in the heat. Keep moving. Around mile 15.4/40.4, you’ll hit the ridge. If downhills are your thing, you’re going to be stoked. You’ll shed 700 feet of elevation over the next two miles. The entire thing is runnable and not overly technical. Pay attention to what you’re doing and try not to blow out your quads the first time through.

Sections 5 & 11 (18.1 miles to 22.1 miles & 43.1 miles to 47.1 miles)

The bad news is this section has two decent climbs – one of them being the cliff staircase. The good news is that the first climb is fairly gradual and the trails are in excellent condition. The west-coasters will be happy – finally some trails that remind them of home!

Sections 6 & 12 (22.1 miles to 25 miles & 47.1 miles to 50 miles)

Personally, I think this section is pretty difficult. On the one hand, it’s almost all downhill – you lose nearly 600 feet of elevation over 3 miles. With that being said, coming down Red Pine is pretty rough – a few hundred feet of descent on loose stone. Then you hit the “paved trails” – the pavement is broken, the stairs are uneven and there are roots everywhere. Once again, you may hit some tourists or day-hikers on the way back. Be courteous!


To sum up, this course has a little of everything (except altitude – Ithaca is about 500 feet above sea level). There are technical trails, wicked climbs, steep descents, stairs, roots, rocks and water crossings. As an added bonus, there may be heat and humidity. The course is well-marked, and the out-and-back nature of much of the course allows us to encourage each other.

A theme song for Cayuga Trails? I think it should be something by The Roots (after the race, you’ll get it):

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Cayuga Trails 50: The Giveaway


How To Play

1. Select three men and three women who you think will finish in the top three in their respective fields – you may want to consult my preview of the elite field here (the entire field is available here).
2. Enter the names of the three men and three women in the comments section below.
3. Enter your best guess for the overall winning time – this will be used as a tiebreaker. In 2013, the winning time was 6:47 (Sage Canaday), and in 2014, the winning time was 6:57 (Chris Vargo).

How To Win

Whoever correctly guesses the most top-three finishers wins. If there is a tie, whoever is closest to the overall winning time wins.

Sample Entry

Tristan Williams, Tyler Sigl, Ben Nephew, Sarah Bard, Kristina Folcik, Jackie Palmer – winning time: 6:55

Please Note

1. One entry per person.
2. For the tiebreaker, you just have to be closest – it doesn’t matter if you go over.
3. You can enter through May 29th (the race is on May 31st).
4. Everyone is eligible to play except for Ian Golden :)

The Prize

An awesome hodgepodge including gels, hydration, socks, a bumper sticker, etc. – and of course, bragging rights to your friends (who won’t know wtf you are talking about).

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Cayuga Trails 50: The Elite Field


In the next couple of days, I will have more posts on Cayuga Trails 50 including a contest and a course preview.

You may also want to check out the race website or my race report from 2014.

Once again, the race is U.S. 50-Mile Trail Championships. That means an excellent elite field will head to Ithaca, New York for the weekend of May 31st. It’s only a few weeks away! I’ve broken the field down into geographic regions. At this point, it looks like the East-Coast fields are stacked. However, keep in mind that the race was won last year by two West-Coasters (although neither was originally from the West Coast).

Race registration opened up back in December and I’ve included below a list of prospective Top-10 finishers (and their odds to win, assigned by me).


Team East-Coast

Cole Crosby (12:1) – Cole is one of the local favorites. He was seventh last year and he is in a great position for a top-five finish in 2015.

Samuel Jurek (12:1) – Last year, Sam ran 3:35 for 50k, 6:13 for 50 miles and 16:56 for 100 miles. This is his first trip to Cayuga Trails and it should be interesting to see how he fares.

Tristan Williams (3:1) – Tristan came in second last year and he ran the fastest split for the second half of the race. At this point, he is the early favorite.

C Fred Joslyn (10:1) – Fred is a 2:18 marathoner, so speed isn’t an issue. He has done one other ultra and he had modest results. If he gears his training toward the 50-mile distance, Fred will definitely be competitive in the race. ** I heard through the grapevine that Fred has a broken toe. I’m not sure which toe it is or how it has affected his training.

Ryan Paavola (24:1) – I’m not really familiar with Ryan. However, he has been improving over time and has a decent chance at a top-ten finish.

Michael Daigeaun (8:1) – Mike had to drop last year due to injury. He will definitely be top-five if he is healthy and he may snag a podium spot. ** After winning Umstead, Mike had a DNF at Rock the Ridge. I know he has been rethinking his race calendar…

Ben Nephew (6:1) – Ben was fifth last year, and he wrote a great race report that is available here. With only one of the top four back so far, Ben looks ready to claim a podium spot in 2015.

Jim Mollosky (22:1) – Jim was ninth last year. He is another local favorite. Along with Cole, he will probably have spent the most time on the course leading up to race day (if the snow ever melts).

Daven Oskvig (10:1) – Daven was registered last year but couldn’t compete due to injury. He already ran a 50-miler this year – under 6 hours – in January! He’s obviously in great shape and will finish in the top five if he has a good day.

Iain RidgwayIain was 10th last year. I expect him to finish right near there once again.

Aaron Saft (14:1) – I’m not familiar with Aaron. However, he has some impressive results down in the Asheville area and he may surprise some people out there.

Silas Carey (26:1) – Silas was 13th last year at Cayuga Trails. Since then, he has finished second at Jay Peak 50k, Virgil Crest 50-miler and North Face Endurance Challenge (NY). He will definitely be a contender for a top ten spot.

Carlo Agostinetto (26:1) – Carlo was 15th last year at Cayuga Trails, but he has put down some impressive races since then. He is definitely a top ten candidate in 2015.

Ryan Welts (28:1) – Ryan has an impressive running resume and is definitely top ten material. In addition, his entry into the race almost guarantees the couples title will go to him and Kristina. Unless there is another ultra couple I don’t know about – anyone want to fess up?

Brian Rusiecki (15:1) – Brian has almost 100 results on Ultra Signup and he’s a young guy! Not only that, the results are all good. Already this year, he was third at Zion 100 and he won the North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Miler (New York). He was 11th last year and 4th the year before that. Since his 100 was earlier in the year, I think Brian is top-five material. *** Brian is signed up for Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 this weekend – if he runs, his Cayuga Trails 50 odds are closer to 50:1 :)

Jared Burdick (10:1) – Jared Burdick has decided to throw his hat in the ring. As far as I know, this is Jared’s first ultra. However, he ran a 2:20 marathon debut and is well-established on the roads. Not only that – and this is where things get interesting – he is a college teammate of Zach Miller – yup, that Zach Miller.

Team Midwest

Tyler Sigl (4:1) – Tyler Sigl. I was really excited when I saw this name on the entrant list. Tyler is a 2:17 marathoner and he has gone under 5:30 for 50 miles. Yikes. Apparently, his long runs consist of 30 miles slightly below 6-min/mile pace. He will be near the front of the race for a long time – can he pull off the win?

Chad Trumbo (14:1) – Chad was eighth last year. He ran a quick 50k last month. He could be top-five material this year.

Team West-Coast

Andrew Benford (15:1) – Andrew is a new-to-me runner with some impressive times under his belt. In college, he was a second team all-American in the steeplechase and he ran under 14 minutes for 5k. His ultra resume is limited; however, he finished 2nd at Chuckanut 50k – only 13 seconds behind David Laney. That means he’s probably going to do just fine.

Jorge Maravilla – The word on the street is that Jorge is interested in this race. By putting his name here even though he isn’t signed up yet, I’m hoping to peer pressure him into entering. Let’s be honest, Team West-Coast needs him because they’re pretty limited in numbers.

Yassine Diboun



Team East-Coast

Kristina Folcik (5:1), aka Dangergirl, will be back for the third straight year. She won the race in 2013, but she had a tough race last year and finished ninth. Dangergirl will definitely be in the mix!

Sarah Schlaack (18:1) – Sarah ran well in 2014. Perhaps she is hitting her ultra stride. Look for her to finish in the top ten.

Jackie Palmer (4:1) – Jackie was third last year, just behind Krissy Moehl. I think she’s the favorite at this point, although the race is wide open.

Liz Pfleghardt (20:1) – Liz was third last year at the Green Lakes 100k (12:37:29). She is in a good position to take a top-ten spot.

Kristen Hyer (36:1) – Kristen is a regular on the CNY ultra scene. She did Cayuga Trails in 2013 (31st female) and 2014 (17th female) and I think 2015 will be the year she cracks the top ten.

Keila Merino (12:1) – Keila was seventh last year. She’ll definitely be top five this year, and she may be able to snag a podium spot.

Stacia Broderick (4:1) – Stacia will definitely be running at or near the front. She has a packed resume, including a 7:39 50-miler at Stone Cat. Along with Jackie, she is a pre-race favorite.

Laura Kline -(7:1) Laura has gone 4:09 for 50k – that’s fast! She ran JFK in the fall but had to pull out due to injury. Cayuga Trails will be her first 50-mile finish. Look for her to grab a podium spot.

Jade Mills (36:1) – Jade seems to enjoy tough races. The harder it is, the better she does. She may be able to crack the top ten.

Anna Piskorska (4:1) – Anna may have the most impressive resume in the women’s field. Recently, she has come in 2nd at Tussey Mountainback (7:31:39), 2nd at the D.C. North Face Endurance Challenge (8:27:36) and 4th at the N.Y. North Face Endurance Challenge (10:04:59). In 2013, she won the Virgil Crest 100, so she won’t be caught off guard by the difficulty of the Ithaca course. I expect her to finish top five.

Maggie Guterl (10:1) – Maggie is coming off her 4th place finish at the IAU 24 Hour World Championships. With that being said, will she still being feeling the effects of 146 miles on April 11th? Even with tired legs, I think Maggie cracks the top 10.

Karen Holland (8:1) – Karen came in 4th last year at Cayuga Trails. Since then, she was 2nd at the North Face Challenge 50-Miler (Utah) and she won the North Face Challenge Marathon (New York). She definitely has a shot to win, and I certainly expect her to be in the top five.

Michele Maciejewski (40:1) – Michele is an ultra newbie, but she ran well at the Green Lakes 50k in 2014 and she won the BPAC 6-Hour race in April. A top ten spot is a definite possibility!

Laura Rekkerth (30:1) – The Rochester, New York crowd has Laura’s back! They pointed out some solid performances this year including a second place finish (fourth overall) at Mind The Ducks. Will Laura crack the top ten at Cayuga Trails?

Sarah Bard (3:1) – Sarah is a fantastic late entry to the field. She is fairly new to ultra running, but she already has wins at Caumsett 50k (3:23:29) and JFK (6:37:04). Those times mean she can fly! The question is, how will she perform on the gnarly trails in Ithaca?

Team Midwest

Team West-Coast

Amanda Basham (Brown) (6:1) – Amanda was ninth at The North Face championships in December (she was only five minutes back of Alicia Shay who finished sixth). As of right now, she’s the only elite West-Coaster in the field. I wonder if she’ll think Ithaca is gorges…

Jen Benna (4:1) – I was pretty stoked to see Jen Benna show up on the entrant list. I heard her on Ultra Runner Podcast a couple of months back and she was hilarious! In addition, she was a producer of Unbreakable, my all-time favorite movie. I can’t wait to see her out on the trails!


Yassine Diboun, Amy Rusiecki and Krissy Moehl will miss this year’s race because they’ll be in France for IAU World Ultra Trail Championships.

The current entrant list for Cayuga Trails 50 is available here.

If you spot a mistake, let me know. I’ll post a clarification/correction ASAP!

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Two Epic Runs.

In the past week, two unbelievable runs took place nearly 6,000 miles apart.

Matthew Maton

Photo Credit: Cameron Shultz

Photo Credit: Cameron Shultz

In Oregon, Matthew Maton became the 6th high schooler to break 4 minutes in the mile. He ran a blazing final lap to finish in 3:59.38 – the third fastest time ever. In the race, Oregon runners Eric Jenkins (3:57.09) and Will Geoghegan (3:57.53) set the pace – fittingly, Maton will attend the University of Oregon in the fall.

Earlier this year, Maton ran 3:42.52 for 1500m. That broke Galen Rupp’s state record and got people buzzing. In fact, the meet on Friday evening drew nearly 6,000 people – not bad.

You can watch Matthew’s run here.

Joe Fejes


In Hungary, Joe Fejes participated in a six-day race that he called “The Hungary Games.” Over the course of those six days, he completed 975.654km (606.243 miles). In other words, he averaged more than 100 miles/day for six straight days.

As far as I can tell, this is the third greatest performance by an American at a 6-day race. Here are the top 3:

1. James Albert Cathcart 1000.613 km (February 1, 1888)
2. Patrick Fitzgerald 981.703 km (May 3, 1884)
3. Joe Fejes 975.654 km (May 12, 2015)

** Yes, those dates are correct **

Only 11 people in history have completed 1,000 km in 6 days. There is no doubt in my mind that Joe will become the 12th person on that list.

Full results of the Hungary 6-day race are available here.

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81 Days.


What is 81 days? Well, today it is 88 degrees. That’s pretty hot! On February 16, it was -17 degrees. That’s pretty cold! In the 81 days between Febraury 16 and today, it warmed up 105 degrees!

That’s a pretty significant change. I’m definitely not fully adjusted to the heat yet. Cayuga Trails 50 is only a few weeks away. Last year, I melted – and it was only 75 degrees! This year has the potential to be much worse. It hasn’t rained in ages and everything around here is drying up – I thought this was a West Coast problem?!

Anyhow, I’m going to keep one eye on the forecast – who knows what the next 81 days will bring!

Do you do anything special to get ready to run/race in the heat?

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Another Day In Paradise.


If you’ve been following along, you know that I (and everyone else in the Northeast) endured a brutal winter. Fortunately, the weather has taken a 180-degree turn and it is now perfection. It has been in the 70s and 80s every day and the sun is amazing!

The News

Race season is definitely upon us. Every weekend, there are races of pretty much any distance you can dream up. In Syracuse, the Mountain Goat was on Sunday (seen above). While I was only a spectator this year, the 10-mile distance is definitely one of my favorites, if not my all-time favorite.

In other [local] news, Syracuse University has a pair of superstars. Over the weekend, Justyn Knight – a freshman – ran 13:34.86 in the 5,000m. In doing so, he broke a 32-year-old school record and a 52-year-old Canadian Junior record. Senior Martin Hehir was right on his heels in 13:35.70. Remarkably, the 5,000m might not even be their best event! Justyn excels over 1500m and Martin is a rockstar at 10,000m.

Race Results

Nothing :(

My Training

The good news is I managed 30 miles over the weekend. The bad news is that I ran doubles in order to get it in, and I nearly hacked up my lungs in the process. I can’t seem to kick this cold, and it sucks. With that being said, it’s early in the year and I’m doing my best not to get frustrated.

How is your weather? Are you acclimating to running in the heat?

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