I had the pleasure of running the Wy’east Wonder 50K in early June. This race is put on by Go Beyond racing. Go Beyond is a Portland Oregon based race company that’s been around since 2013. Anyone who has ever run a Go Beyond race can be assured that they will be running a well-organized race with some pretty stiff competition at the starting line. Go Beyond racing prides itself on putting on a sustainable environmentally friendly race by reducing the number of disposable wares as well as minimizing waste during their events.
The Wy’east 50K is a point to point style race with endless views of Mt. Hood as well as St. Helens and Mt. Adams. The starting line is at the Bennet Pass Snow Park approximately 1.5-hour drive from Portland. Shuttle service and parking are available in Parkdale, Oregon which was also the location of the after-party. The course itself is fairly straight forward with approximately 4200 feet of gain and about 7100 feet of loss.
The first 4 miles were fairly runnable mostly on service roads with some progressive climbing. About 700 feet to the first aid station. This is where runners really thinned out. The climb also gave way to some great views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding area.
The section from the first aid station to the aid station at mile 10 was probably my favorite. The service roads were mostly uphill and there was a fast-paced single track in between. The road leading to aid station at mile 10 was a fairly steep trek about 1 mile in length. A fair warning was also given by the race directors as some people think most of the uphill is done by mile 3.5 this was definitely not the case. Also, for those of you looking to run this next year. Pay close attention to the course cones/flags as there is one part where the course transitions from the service road to singletrack. I made the mistake of staying on the service road for an extra 1.5 miles. Luckily a fellow runner who made the same mistake was running up the service road and advised me that he had missed the turn. Very much appreciated. Thank you!
The aid station at mile 10 (High Prairie) was a pleasant surprise. I was definitely feeling the frustration from getting off course and climbing that last mile trying to make up the lost time. It was fully stocked extremely cheerful and full of energy that carried me into the next section of the race. After leaving the aid station the course starts to descend down singletrack with plenty of canopy cover and soft bouncy trails. This is the longest distance on the course without an aid station, approximately 10 miles. The pace really picked up and my quads start to take a pretty good beating.
The Aqua duct aid station couldn’t have come soon enough. This aid station served as the out and back for the 50-mile course and the cut off aid station for the 50K. Needless to say, it was fairly busy but well supported. I was greeted by an Otterpop and a healthy dose of sunscreen. I didn’t want to stay long as I had 10 miles and 2 more aid stations to get through. At this point, the course opens up to some exposed side ridge running. I’m not going lie, the views were epic but that sun was beginning to heat up. This was also some of the last climbing (so they said) on the course.
The last aid station (Gibson Prairie) came quickly as it was only 4 miles from the Aqua duct. I didn’t spend too much time as the day was getting hot and I was ready to cross the finish line. I grabbed some fruit and well deserved ginger ale. The last part of the course was, in my opinion, the most difficult as I was already running on tired legs and I had one final ascent before the dreaded final descent every race report I read talked about. The climb was brutally slow and for a split second, I was happy to come out of the cover and start descending. Notice how I said for a split second. There was little to no traction on the downhill and the sun exposure was becoming unbearable. The descent down seemed to take an eternity until suddenly the trail flattened out and I entered a bit of canopy cover. The finish line was unusually subtle in this race as I ran out of the cover and took maybe 10 steps over a bridge and onto the finish line timing pad. All in all, it was a great race. Amazing views and very well supported. Finishing stats: 29.59 miles 3,934 elevation gain as per my Garmin Fenix 3.
All pictures courtesy of Paul Nelson