The Mid-Maryland 50K was held on February 13th and was located southwest of Baltimore near Elkridge, Maryland. It now has been more than a month since I ran it that very cold day. Leading up to this race, I had done little long distance running since November. A lot of life events have happened in between November and now. They have been hard and tough to deal with. If there is pain, getting out and running seems to ease it, at least for a little while. This 50k did just that.
The 50K was a 10K loop run five times through rolling woods and fields. It crosses over a few small streams. Luckily there were small bridges that allowed us to cross these streams. On this day, no one would want wet feet. With the windchill, the temperature was 0(zero) degrees or colder! And where the start, finish, and aid stations were situated, it felt colder than that. Each loop I did, I prepared myself for the open field that the pavilion aid station was located. The wind definitely didn’t make things easier.
The day or two before this race, my home town had about 5 inches of snow. I was not concerned, though. I really needed this race to clear my head. The morning of the race, the more south I drove, the less snow I saw on the ground. By the time I got to the start, there was no snow, just solid ground that was hard as a rock. Most of the loop consisted of this hard ground. Some spots were muddy, due to all of the snow that had been dumped on the northeast.
There was one spot on the course, possibly 3 miles into the loop, where we circled around half a baseball field and then went up a small steep incline out beyond the outfield fence. Some sort of football team(reminded me of flag football), were practicing on the outfield. Here it was below zero degrees with the windchill, and these idiots were practicing flag football. I then thought about what I was currently doing and then thought better of the “idiot” comment.
The aid station at each loop was nice. They had the basics that all ultras have: chips, pretzels, gels, fruits, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and drinks. It was that cold, however, that the stuff that could freeze, did! I really can’t say enough about the race director and the volunteers who helped put this event on. I could tell they had cleared multiple locations of the trail of snow and trimmed bush limbs. They also had to stand out in the cold while we continued to move. They were the winners of this 50K!
Overall, I recommend this 50K to those who are just starting out in ultras, who enjoy a multi-looped course, and to those who just don’t give a care that it’s in the dead cold of winter.