The race committee would like nothing more than for everyone to have a safe race. This event is inherently dangerous, and it’s important to remember that your safety is 100% your responsibility. The following safety tips were developed with first-time racers in mind. We encourage all racers to spend time thinking about how to stay as safe as possible on race day.
Tip #1: Spend as much time on the mountain as possible prior to race day.
The race rules state that you have to have trained on the mountain at least once prior to race day. The more time you spend on the mountain, the safer your race day experience is likely to be. We can’t stress this enough.
On race day you will be tired and more fatigued than in your training runs. It will be harder to remember your exact strategy as there will be more runners on the course than you’ve experienced in training, and more spectators.
Familiar landmarks might be hidden. Repetitive training in the more technical areas is recommended. Spend some time at the base of the mountain picking your route up. Spend some time in “the gut” mapping your way down the waterfalls.
Interested in learning from race veterans? The race committee hosts two “mountain previews” in June where experienced runners lead groups of new runners up the lower third of the mountain. Junior runners must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Click here for more details on 2019 dates.
Tip #2: Consider taking a few things on the race course with you.
- The snow shoot at the top is not likely to melt away between now and race day. A nice pair of gloves would be nice as you try and slow yourself down at the end of the snow slide.
- Some of the top runners wear ankle braces. They have concluded that the benefit of running all-out down roll with the support of a brace outweighs the weight of a brace.
- Scree in your shoes makes for painful running on the downhill. Whether it is a pair of shoes that have scree guards, racing gaiters or old fashion duct tape, it is something to plan for. Nothing like rocks in your shoes to make for a bummer day.
- If you are not competing for a podium spot, you might consider the extra weight of a water bottle or hydration vest. On a hot day, it’s hard to rely on spectators providing enough water along the course to help everyone.
- Bears are spotted on the mountain every year. Bear spray has proven to be an effective deterrent. While there will be hundreds of people on the course, and lots of noise with the spectators, helicopters and announcing systems, recent tragedies remind us that we would be remiss to not tell you that this race goes through bear country.
Tip #3: Be prepared for any weather.
We have had days where folks are experiencing heat stroke and we have had days where folks are experiencing hypothermia. Make sure you plan for both extreme heat and cold. On hot days, veterans have been known to take a dip in a stream to lower their core temperature before racing. On cold days, leggings might help keep some of that heat in.
We wish all runners the best of luck. Don’t forget that ALL first-time runners are required to attend the safety meeting on July 3 at Seward High School. See you then!