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Comments RE: VT 50 for 1st 50 miler? How difficult compared to Pineland farms challenge?<br>
Planning to do road marathon 1 month prior as part of training but will do other longer training runs, on trails as much as possible
 

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I did the VT50 as my first 50 last year. I also did pineland. Obviously VT is harder. Both for the amount of miles and for the size of the hills. I found Pineland tricky, in that I expected it to be easier. The rolling hills and false flats took more wind out of my sails than I expected. I finished Pineland in 5:18 or so and Vt in 9:55. One thing that is very similar is that both are extremely well run and the course's are well marked. I think it is hard to get lost at either and I have a crappy sense of direction.<br><br>
Do plenty of hill training for both, and don't be afraid to walk the hills in VT. Go for it!!<br><br>
Nate
 

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Well, I've only been running for about 2.5 years..<br><br>
First year races - 2006<br><br>
Big Lake 1/2 marathon 5/13/06 - 1:48<br>
Clarance Demar marathon 9/24/06 - 4:01<br>
N. Adams Fat Ass(50k) 12/30/06 - 4:56 (roads and pretty flat)<br><br>
For 2007:<br><br>
Pineland Farms 5/27/07 - 5:19 (first off road race)<br>
1/2 marathon 8/19/07 - 1:35 P/R<br>
GLER 50k 8/26/07 -5:28 (then x loop-39 miles total in 7:05)<br>
Vermont 50 9/30/07 - 9:55<br>
Stonecat Trail marathon 11/10/07 - 4:15<br><br>
More than you asked for, but thought it might help.
 

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Keep in mind that Nate is talking about having done the Pineland Farms 50K NOT the 50 miler option there as this is its first year.<br><br>
Pineland Farms was my 4th official 50K and it remains as my PR with a time of 5:35.<br><br>
The VT50 Mile was my first 50 Miler. I ran it in a time of 10:32 the first year and 10:06 +/- last year. Pineland has mostly rolling farmland with no real big hills. The Vt50.. is ALL HILLS, its a mountain race. I only remember about 2 miles of flat over the course of 50 Miles in VT.<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">My other 50 miles times:</span><br><b>2006:</b><br>
VT50 - 10:32<br>
Nifty 50 - 10:05<br>
JFK50 - 9:47<br><b>2007:</b><br>
Pittsfield Peaks - 16:02<br>
VT50 - 10:06<br>
Stonecat - 10:34 (6 Days after a marathon PR of 3:37)<br><br>
BOTH races are very classy races put on by very dedicated race directors. You really can't go wrong with either race. Keep in mind that Memorial Day is often times a LOT warmer than the end of September and it gets HOT in those farm fields at Pineland. Both races have great aid.. I really have nothing bad to say about either race.<br><br>
hope this helps<br><br>
(Nate... I'm soooooo sore)
 

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I don't know about the Pinelands event, but I did VT 50 as my first ultra last year. I ran a 50K three weeks prior, then a training run of 26 miles two weeks prior. I finished the VT 50 in 11:15 walking all the ups. I had a great time. My feet hurt for a month afterwards but it's cool. I haven't run but 6 runs since. Gained 20 lbs. Back to point, it's a very fun race. Beautiful scenery. Go for it. You can do it. Before this race the longest I ran was the 50 K three weeks prior. Before that ~25 miles in training. Include hills as SherpaJohn is right, it is a mountain race.
 

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What? You don't think that I can run a 5 hour 50 miler? <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
Man, wouldn't that be a trip!! I'd quit my day job!<br><br>
Nate
 

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I don't know dude... the way you've been running lately, you might be able to do it. But pretty sure paul could still woop ya at 100M <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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Alright, let's nip this in the bud....<br><br>
John, I'm not biting. Don't try to pit us against each other. Paul, I don't know what Sherpa's been telling you, but I'm NOT setting beating you as one of my major goals. Well, I have heard that your training a lot...and it is both of our first 100's.....<br><br>
No....must....not....start....this.......
 

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I too ran VT as my first 50 miler, and found it awesome. I've done it each year since. My times were 9:51 the first year (felt easy), 10:40 the next year (got all cocky and decided to try and break 9 hrs.), and 9:41 last year. Prepare for hills and run intelligently, and you'll do fine, and love the race. Looking at these last couple of posts above mine, maybe we should start a little "winner take all" pool among those of us doing the VT100 this year...<img alt="cool.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/cool.gif">
 

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SUCKER!<br><br>
BY the way... after you complete 4 or 5 whole months of no drinking alcohol.. it'll be a pleasure to give you one of the beers from the case I'm gonna win! <img alt="thefinger.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/thefinger.gif"> (Ok..so I've been waiting to use that avatar... can you believe some of these?!)<img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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To answer the original question, I had a great time at the VT50 last year as my first 50 miler. I had run several 50k's a shade under 5 hours so far that year and had a fun learning experience trying out the 50-mile distance. The hills at VT are great because they force you to walk, which is something one definitely needs in a tough 50-miler. I ran Stonecat after that and ran slower because I found myself much more exhausted near the end. I also had some fueling issues. 50 miles teaches you the importance of getting lots of calories in and also managing your salt intake on a hot day. You can screw these things up completely and still drag yourself through a marathon or 50-k. At 50 miles you are in for a world of suffering if you haven't figured them out, so do your homework and <span style="text-decoration:underline;">run your own race</span>.<br>
-Paul
 

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Just to be contrarian, I would NOT recommend VT 50 as a first time 50 miler. Granted, I have not run the 50, but I have run the 50K and 100, parts of which overlap with the 50. The hills and difficulty of the course should not be underestimated. A race like Stonecat, a much easier course, would be a better first choice. Also, Stonecat is logistically easier because you can leave a drop bag at the start/finish area. Pineland is in the same vein as Stonecat and would also be a good choice, although obviously is a lot earlier in the year so does not give you as much time to train.<br><br>
A lot of it depends on your running background, obviously. If it is your first 50, though, you want to maximize your chances of finishing, and move up to a more difficult course as you go along. If you run a race like Stonecat or Pineland, simply in terms of probability your chances of finishing will be higher.
 

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Well, I'm not sure I agree that Vermont has an "easier" course than Stonecat insomuch as I'm not sure I agree that flatter always equals easier, but I agree with Sarah that logistical concerns are important. Being able to get to your bag and change whatever can be helpful. On the other hand, if you travel to the race with someone who is willing to crew for you, you might be a lot closer to the next crew station than 12 miles, the length of a lap at Stonecat. Stonecat is definitely a nice choice, though, and is also later in the year, giving you more time to train, and the weather is likely to be cool.
 

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I know a few people who did VT as their first 50 and they all had great things to say about it. As long as you train appropriately I think it could be fine for a first 50, but I haven't run it myself. If you're tough enough there is no reason not to make your first 50 a tough one.<br><br>
As one of the RD's of Pineland I obviously know the course well, I also ran the 50k last year. Pineland may be easier than a lot of races but I wouldn't call it easy. There is nothing technical about the trails, and there are no major hills, but the rolling terrain is unrelenting. I saw a lot of walking during my first lap (25k), I didn't do any walking until my second lap but wished I had started walking earlier.<br><br>
So in response to the original question, even though I haven't run the VT 50, I would say that Pineland is going to be an easier 50 miles. I would also say that the Pineland 50k would make an excellent primer for a more difficult ultra later in the summer or fall.<br><br>
In response to comments about logistics, the Pineland course could be looked at as a figure 8 where you return to the starting point after 10 miles, then again 5.5 miles later for each lap. This year, since we're adding the 50 miler we will be designating a drop-bag area that 50k runners will pass a total of 3 times during the race and 50 miler runners will pass 6 times.<br><br>
Ian Parlin<br>
RD - <a href="http://www.mainetrackclub.com/pinelandfarms.html" target="_blank">Pineland Farms Trail Challenge</a><br><a href="http://kickrunners.com/forum/www.trailmonsterrunning.blogspot.com" target="_blank">www.trailmonsterrunning.blogspot.com</a>
 

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I felt that the VT50 and Stonecat are both comparable races.. but if I had to chose one over the other for a 1st 50 I'd definately choose Vermont. Mainly because its not as cold at the end of September as it is at the beginning of November. It has also been known to snow 4 or 5 inches the night before and DURING the Stonecat race. I'd hate to train all year for a race to show up to a snow covered course. The cold REALLY makes it tougher for some too.<br><br>
I'm still going to have to go with the VT50 being the better of those two for a first time 50 because the hills at Vermont really break things up and force you to walk. The Aid stations are all different/unique, amazing views, folliage, etc etc etc... Sometimes its about MORE than just the running Folks!
 
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