Location: Blair, Nebraska
Trail Type: Gravel Roads
Host: Greater Omaha Area Trail Runnerz (G.O.A.T.z)
Atmosphere: The spring weather tends to be in favor for this race. Cloud cover helps, and a brief rain shower is a nice touch. Cooler temperatures at the start do eventually give way to warmer weather when/if the sun comes out along the route.
Terrain: This is 100% gravel road running. It is also 100% exposed, so if the sun does come out, many people will roast if they are not prepared. The course is not flat, prepare for around 30 hills on the single 30K loop course; double that if you are pursuing the 60K race.
Logistics/Aid: While this is technically an ‘aid free’ event; there are two tables six miles apart that have water and Tailwind for refill options. The race director does a spectacular job of outlining the expectations well in advance for this race. Noting that it is limited, you should bring your own supplies, do not depend on aid, but if something were to happen there are volunteers. Through the entire 30K loop there were volunteers driving down the roads checking on all the runners. For a ‘no frills race’ it was very well ran.
Post Race: None, but feel free to shoot the breeze with the race director, grab a 30K sticker, and then hit the road home.
Beginners Luck: This race can appear to be very easy, especially to a veteran road runner. However, between the exposure, the loose gravel, the hills, and the very limited aid it is an alarmingly hard course. This factored in with one loop being 30K in distance, and each loop once you are out on the road, you are fully committed. The gravel classic is not an easy race for beginners.
The average does not necessarily reflect a poor race, but merely a very challenging one. This is not a race for brand new runners, and even though it is on road, it is very challenging. The likelihood of cramping up on this course is very high. Thankfully, if something were to go wrong for the runner, the logistics of the race is well handled by the race director; resulting in a smooth, but hard race.