This is Your Journey...
The Olde 96er is a 102.2 mile point-to-point ultra marathon that starts at the Ohio River in Wellsville, and finishes at Lake Erie in Ashtabula. The route is run entirely on the road, incorporating all 96.6 miles of Ohio SR-45, with a 0.8 mile detour in Warren around mile 54. When SR-45 terminates at the route 531 intersection in Ashtabula, runners follow route 531 for 3.5 miles, then continue straight for 0.1 miles to Walnut Beach. The run is complete when the runner has reached the water.
This is not an ordinary 100 miler. There is only ONE official aid station, at mile 54 in Warren, requiring the runner to be self-sufficient. To compensate for the "fend for yourself" nature of journey running that often forces runners to stop and order food at diners and convenience stores along the route, the time limit is a generous 36 hours (21:10/mile).
Because this is a small, frills-free production, there won't be dozens of volunteers catering to runners' every want or need. The start will be staggered. Slower runners and walkers who anticipate a 32+ hour finish will start at 7am. There will be waves starting at 9am, noon, and finally 2pm. Runners are asked to choose an appropriate start time, as there will be nobody at the finish to record their time until sunrise.
No magnets, bumper stickers, pens, keychains, etc. Runners who complete the distance will have a buckle and a cookout waiting at the beach.
This is a bridge between the world of journey running and the world of the more standard 100 miler. That said, you're mostly on your own. You'll have an official aid station around mile 54, and it's possible a roving water stop might be out and about overnight. But, just like you can't count on "road angels" during journeys, there's no guarantee you're going to have that luxury. Be prepared; there's no hand-holding here, unless you're holding hands with another runner. :) You absolutely MUST have the capacity to carry at least 40oz of water. You MUST carry a cell phone. You MUST start this race with money to make purchases. If you fail to do this, you're putting yourself in jeopardy. Don't do that!
Local time: 5:28 AM
This is eastern Ohio in autumn. The temperature can be as high as 85F and as low as 30F; we've had heat, rain, wind, snow. I test-ran this route solo 9/30-10/1 and it was 65F during the day, and there was a frost warning overnight! Be ready for anything and everything. You might want to carry long and short sleeves, gloves, a warm hat, and a rain poncho in addition to basic first aid and nutrition materials, adequate lighting, and perhaps a reflective vest or light source to alert oncoming traffic. I don't want anyone getting hit by a car! Make good choices, please, when it comes to your personal safety.
I ran this route solo at a relaxed pace in 27:42. I am not an elite runner! :) That means I believe this run can be completed by most runners, novice and experienced, in less than 32 hours. The elevation profile is very conducive to fast running, but to accommodate those who want to enjoy the route at a more relaxed pace, I'm allowing a generous 36 hours for you to finish the journey.
Yes, there will be a unique finisher buckle, but don't ask me to share the design before you begin your journey! What fun is that? I like surprises, and I'd bet you do, too, if you're taking on such a special journey. :) Food at the aid station and finish will accommodate most dietary needs. Why? My friends are unique people with unique needs. There will be meat, vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan options available. But, this isn't going to be a Thanksgiving banquet or a buffet line, so I might not have what you want available. You should take this into consideration when planning for your adventure.
Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask me!
I hope to see you in October.