Location: Huntsville State Park; Huntsville, Texas
Trail Type: Single Track/Service Road
Host: Tejas Trails
Atmosphere: The closest major city to this race is Houston, Texas. That information alone should be enough to give you a glimpse of atmospheric conditions. This race is ran in the rain if necessary, but has been delayed due to lightning in the past. The 2017 version of this race included sunshine, humidity, and a high around 86 degrees. The week prior the Rocky 100K/100M had been ran in 40 degree temperatures. A large amount of runners were not prepared for the sudden heat in February for this race.
Terrain: Ironically the course is not rocky. The vast majority of the trail consists of tropical single track with large swamp-like tree roots. Keep that in mind. Additionally, due to recent storms, there is a large amount of sand on the course. This can be a blessing for some, and curse for others. Elevation is very limited, and overall is a nice, smooth terrain. Be aware of the miles on the service road. It has improved over years past, but it is hard and exposed.
Logistics/Aid: Tejas Trails hosts several races throughout the Lone Star State. This also includes the Bandera 100K and the Rocky Raccoon 100M, both Western States qualifiers. With this reputation there is little surprise that the aid stations are well staffed, and are immediately there for the runners. Tailwind is a sponsor of the race, so it is available at each aid station, and expect all sorts of snacks at each station. This did include several types of fresh fruit, ice, and quesadillas. The start is staggered with the 50M starting 15 minutes before the 50K. There is live tracking available online, and a pre-race briefing the night before at Huntsville State Park.
Post Race: There is not a lot to offer for the post race. Once crossing the finish line finding anything for runners that are completing the race is a struggle as the aid station at the start/finish line is for continuing runners. There were food trucks available, but keep in mind that this will cost money.
Beginners Luck: If you are ready for your first ultra, or even if you are slightly unprepared, this is a great course for your first. The course is very runnable, the aid stations are phenomenal, and the time cutoff is very forgiving; especially for the 50K runners. One of the better non-rails-to-trails ‘first ultras’ available.
If you are looking for a great ultra without the frills afterwards; this is a great race for just that. The high marks coincide with a great course to run, and the vast amount of support through the aid stations throughout the course. The post race is nothing fancy, and be very careful when studying the weather heading into the course. Overall Rocky Raccoon is a solid adventure for those curious about how far they can go.