2017 Manitou’s Revenge Race Report: Hot Takes!

Manitou’s Revenge is a 54 mile point-to-point ultra with 15,000 feet of gain along the Long Path of the Catskill Mountains that runs like a 100-miler, at least that’s how my legs are feeling in the aftermath…

I had the loose goal of ~16 hours, wanted to finish in daylight…

I started in wave 5 (at 5:22 am, 20 mins after the first wave) so had to amend the finishing goal to 15:38 (since 9 pm was “last light”) so I had some work to do…

Legs felt great all day, it’s amazing what a 100-mile week followed by a 60-mile week followed by a 25-mile week will do for your legs- they felt fresh and snappy and light, at least until mile 51 or so…

The first 3 miles are on road to the trail head, then a nice singletrack for a while, then the first really big un-runnable climb was a class 3/4 scramble, the first of like 25 of these- if you’re gonna “run” this race, hit the climbing gym in prep or at least have some super steep scrambling skills, holy shit…

Look at this thing.

I opted to not bring my trekking poles for this fact, wanted my hands free for all the climbing…

Just kept a nice steady pace, worked my way up through the field in the early going- some guy about three miles in asked me “is this your fist time?” Me: yep! He comes back with a snarky “better check your pace”. Whoa, dude- this ain’t my first rodeo. Better check your attitude. I never saw that guy again so I assume he was out there all night and possibly eaten by bears…

Course was so gnarly it made a plane crash on it. True story.

Latched onto some runners that have run this race previously for course beta, kept hearing about the gnarliness of the upcoming “Devil’s Path” section…

Legs felt awesome, finally settled into a train with some of the same runners for a while now, there was Tom, Jenny, then Scott and Jeff…

Biggest climb of the day comes at mile 21, was lucky enough to catch up to this guy David and did the climb with him, would actually run most of the rest of the day with him…

An as luck would have it, turns out he’s the RD for my upcoming 100-miler, Eastern States- sometimes the stars align and put people in your path that you’re supposed to meet, and I honestly think running and leap-frogging each other for almost 10 hours pulled me along to a faster time than if I went it alone…

Caught up to some other awesome folks I knew from some other Connecticut ultras, Scott and Sarah- celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary while running Manitou’s! So awesome…

Mile 31 aid (Platte Clove knows how to party, I love you Jack!) was the shit, was basically waited on like a champ- this also makes this race feel like a 100-miler in that you can sit down and have three people working on you, changed out of the Vazees and into my Hoka Speedgoats, got a refill on fluids, ate a lot of Swedish Fish and drank a ton of Mountain Dew…

Then the Devil’s Path section- the next 7 miles took almost 3 hours because of the terrain- un-runnable rooty rocky climbs, like actual climbs, looking for footholds and roots to grab, these miles were all in the 24-to-28 minute per mile range…

The crux of the race happens at mile 37- Pecoy’s Notch, an honest-to-god, legit scary downclimb, definitely class 5 shit- you fall you break your pelvis/back/neck/face/testicles and possibly die…

Seriously…

The next few miles were cool, still hairy as shit, but the worst is over…

I should mention here that I took three nasty falls on the day- one on my ass (tailbone), one on my hip (felt like a skateboard slam circa 1992) and another on my knee/elbow (that one drew blood)…

I also banged my head on a rock while climbing, this race looks to take you out any way possible…

Legs still felt great and was able to run any flat part pretty hard, switched into power hike mode whenever there was an un-runnable up, but if it was runnable I went at it hard…

So at the mile 43 aid station David says to me: “let’s go really hard here on out and finish strong”, with only 10 or 11 miles to go, I say, “okay, let’s do it, let’s just crush ourselves and blow up in glorious fashion”…

We hammered the first climb together but he started to pull away on the flat section…

He’d stay somewhat within sight for the next few minutes, but this was where I finally hit a low point, I had about a half hour of low energy, semi-negative head space stuff…

…and pulled myself out of that pity party, looked the clock, thought if I really hammered I could break 15 hours…

Made it to the mile 48 aid station , the Tiki Torch aid- they were rad, said I could probably finish in daylight, all downhill from here…

Hammered this next section, drops 2100 feet in like 4 miles, just totally destroyed my quads right here- there’s no better pain than searing quads after mile 50, most races would be done by now, but 54.3 miles sounds way more serious than “just 50″…

Hit the last aid at mile 53, dude yells “ONE POINT THREE TO THE FINISH, ALL FLAT, ALL ROAD, YOU DON’T NEED A HEADLAMP, SO GOOOOOO!”…

I fucking hammered that shit…

Woof!

15:19 finish time (no idea what place since the wave starts and relay runners and all that) but was the last person to finish in daylight, at 8:41 PM. This is an actual thing per the website: breaking the 16 hour benchmark time of “I don’t need no stinking headlamp!”…

…that was pound-for-pound and mile-for-mile the hardest race I’ve ever done, by a lot…

I feel physically, like I ran a 100-miler. San Diego 100 may not have hurt this bad actually. Bighorn definitely did though…

Seriously: do not do this race. It’s too hard. You will not finish it. It makes Lake Sonoma 50 look like a road half marathon. I say that with all due respect. Manitou’s wants to kill you, or at least make you go home covered in scrapes and bruises. Seriously, do not do this race…

I can not wait to do this race again…

The only mistake of the day I made was setting my GPS to record every 10 seconds and set it on “okay” accuracy, since it died just after 10 hours last 50-miler. I lost 8.7 miles from that. I think I need to set it to record every second but set it to “good” accuracy, should get me like 50 hours of battery life? Someone help me out with that…

Strava stats…

Manitou’s Revenge website: do not even think about registering… 😉

Pure elation to be done.

Video from Mountain Peak Fitness of Kehr Davis, 2017 women’s champ:

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5 Responses to 2017 Manitou’s Revenge Race Report: Hot Takes!

  1. Sarah says:

    Way to go Jimmy! I relate to your “feels like a 100-miler” and taking 15:19; that’s exactly the time I took for the long stage (approx 50 miles) of the recent Mauna to Mauna stage race. Way to tough it out!

    • jimmy76mac says:

      Thanks Sarah! I can’t believe how many times I said “this isn’t a trail” or “why is this so hard?” I loved your M2M report btw, and your sister’s updates on FB while you were out there, so awesome!

  2. Pingback: Ultramarathon Daily News | Wed,June 21 | Ultrarunnerpodcast

  3. Art Byram says:

    Ok you convinced me! Congratulations on an awesome race! Closest I came to this was Cats Tail. Nice job!

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