Q: I’ve never run a trail race before, how is it different than a road race?
A: In the first instance, trail runners tend to be pretty awesome folks, and trail ultra runners tend to be even awesome-er. We generally think the world needs more trail runners because we tend to take care of each other. If you come across someone on the trail, that looks like they’re struggling, check on them and make sure they’re okay. While we are all competitive people, you’re not likely to see the same “attitude” you may see at road races. We’re out there to push ourselves in a beautiful setting with friends and good people…sound cool? Trust us, it is.
Q: Okay, I get that trail runners are cool and all, but what is physically different about a trail race?
A: The terrain you’ll be running on will be pretty varied, from singletrack, wooded trails, to dirt roads, to grass meadows. You won’t be able to just “zone out” like you can in a road race, so pay attention to your footing. It’s no fun to do a header off a root or rock. Also, mud isn’t something to be afraid of …embrace it. Unless it’s a somewhat atypical Winter/Spring in Central Ohio, there is gonna be mud on the course, so now’s your chance to play in the mud puddles you were never allowed to growing up, and let’s face it, finishing an 18 or 31 mile run covered in mud is pretty badass. You can see some of the terrain on our Facebook page in the “Views from the Course” photo album.
Q: What will the weather be like?
A: For Seamus, the average temperature for March 19 in Delaware, Ohio is a bit chilly, with a high of 47F and a low of 34F. For the Playin' Possum, the average temperature for May 14 in Delaware Ohio sounds delightful, with a high of 75F and a low of 51F. However, Central Ohio has a rich history of extreme and rapidly changeable weather. Please prepare for all conditions from snow to extreme heat. Sunscreen is recommended.
Q: Will I need a flashlight or headlamp?
A: No. Sunrise on March 18 is 7:42 am and sunset is 7:49 pm and sunrise on May 20 is 6:13am and sunset is 8:46pm. Thus, both races start and finish well within daylight hours.
Q: What food items should I bring?
A: Probably nothing. Unless you have very specific preferences you should be able to rely on our aid stations to provide for all of your needs. Please see race information for a menu of items available at our aid stations.
Q: Will the race shirt be awesome?
Q: Will I get another lame finisher’s medal to throw on the pile I already own?
A: No. In fact we bet you a cold glass of HEED that (unless you ran Playin' Possum last year...) you've never received a similar finisher's award. Further, we think you will want to display your finisher award in your home for all visitors to see. Finisher's awards for Seamus will also be very cool...we promise.
Q: Similarly, at the finish will I get a foil blanket to wear for three minutes and then place in a landfill?
A: No. We like the earth. For Seamus, we're planning festivities which will help to keep you warm. For Playin' Possum, remember that it’s late May and the finish is at a beach. No guarantees but the weather might be perfect for a swim.
Q: I enjoy littering. In what manner might I expect my hobby to be embraced by race management?
A: If you litter you are disqualified forever. We are not joking, and we will enforce this rule. We know that in road races runners simply drop their cups and goo packets as part of the normal culture. And that’s fine for road races. But in trail races this is very harshly discouraged. If this is your first trail race please be aware that the cool kids never litter. Ever.
Q: I think you are using a geographically incorrect spelling for Possum. I believe that in Australia the spelling is Possum but in the United Sates the correct term is O’Possum. Were you aware of this?
A: Shut up...no one likes a smart arse.
Q: Did you know that a male Possum is referred to as a “Jack”, a female Possum is known as a “Jill”, and a group of Possums is known as a “Passel”?
A: We did, but we are including it here because we think its useful information. Also, we feel a little bit bad about telling you to shut up a moment ago.
Q: So we’re cool then?
Q: I want to bring my family to the race. Is this a good idea?
A: Yes! It’s a great idea! Delaware State Park has a full service campground, several playgrounds, a beach, boat rental, disc golf course, and a wide variety of wildlife. It is a very fun place to run and an even more fun place to hang out. There is also shopping and restaurants in Downtown Delaware, which is only a ten minute drive from the start/finish.
Q: I have never run an ultra before. Am I still welcome? (Playin' Possum)
A: Yes! In fact we feel that our relatively gentle course and frequent aid stations make this race an ideal bridge between the world of road marathons and the world of ultra-distance racing. We WANT new ultramarathon runners to experience their first ultra finish with US! Please let us know if this will be your first ultramarathon. We will recognize your achievement in a unique way.
Q: Can I use a drop bag?
A: Yes, you may leave a drop bag at the start/finish area and access it at the start, finish, and at approximately the thirteen mile point (Playin' Possum) and the ten mile point (Seamus). Also please know that race parking will be a matter of a few feet away from the start/finish aid station and so access to your vehicle will be easy.
Q: What if I cannot finish?
A: Failure to finish happens to nearly every runner at some time or another. There is no shame in calling it quits if you are injured or are having a tough day. We will do our best to get you a ride from an aid station to the start/finish area. However, YOU MAY NOT DROP FROM THE RACE AND SIMPLY “GO HOME” without first checking in at an aid station or at the start/finish area. We will be monitoring your progress on the course and if you “disappear” you will cause unnecessary searching and worrying. Anyone dropping from the race without checking in with us will banned from future events. Keep in mind that in 2013, we had a 100% finisher rate for Playin' Possum 50K. You can absolutely do it!
Q: Will there be course familiarization runs prior to the event?
A: Yes. We will host a couple of low-key, unofficial, guided training runs free of charge prior to the race. Please watch our Facebook page for further details.
Q: Do you allow pacers?
A: Pacers are not allowed unless special arrangements have been approved in advance by the race director. Race management will only consider allowing pacers in the case of runners with unique and special needs.
Q: Can I use an ipod/mp3 player/Walkman/portable 8 track?
A: Our insurance through Road Runners Club of America requires that we forbid the use of headphones while on the course. Don't be bummed about that, though, because if you're not out there chatting it up with your fellow runners and making new friends on the trails, you're doing it wrong.
Q: Will there be chip-based timing?
A: Actually, we prefer the sun-dial approach…don’t worry, we’ll get your time and it’ll be uploaded to Ultrasignup.com shortly after the race so all your friends and family can see just how tough you really are!
Q: Do I need a GPS/Garmin?
A: No, but you are welcome to use one with one caveat: the Race Directors will not tolerate any griping about the course being .2 miles too short, or .3 miles too long (we get it, you’re tough). We’ll set the course, you run it…a rather fair division of labor if we do say so ourselves.
Q: I want to pack a cooler, are alcoholic beverages permitted?
A: Nope. Look, we enjoy a tasty bevy as much as the next person, but rules are rules and ODNR prohibits alcohol in public areas in every state park.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Remember that we are guests in the park. It is important that we demonstrate we are good stewards of the trails so that we can continue to have this event year after year.
Q: How can I help?
A: You want to volunteer? Awesome! We need people to help the runners by pouring water, distributing snacks, and cheering the runners on. This is a great way to cheer on or crew a friend while helping others out as well. Please contact the race directors for more information.