Run of the Dead Elimination Run is a “fat ass” style race put on by Libertyville Running Company, held near Day of the Dead. Racers run ~ 4.25 mile (my watch came in slightly under) loops, having 1 hour to complete the loop. If you can’t complete in an hour then you are eliminated [side note: this gets harder by loop 6 but still an hour is pretty generous]. You can run 2, 4, or 8 loops for 8.5, 17, or 34 miles. This is not a chip-timed or even anything-timed race. The only awards are for those that win the last loop in each category (# loops and male/female) and 1st-2nd male/female in each loop category for running the most legs up the hill. Those that decide to take the hike up the hill are rewarded with either a jalapeño lager or margarita. I would buy the jalapeño lager – it was worth a few runs up the hill!
I went into this race basically untrained. I trained the summer to meet my Project 1:59 goal, my longest training run being 11 miles. I really wanted to try another ultra after my focus on the half-marathon was complete, so I signed up for this one relatively last-minute at the same time I signed up for my “retry” half-marathon. After the Naperville half on October 21st, I did some yoga and a couple easy runs during the week, then came out to this race to see if I could make it to 34 miles.
It was a fairly cold and drizzly morning so I couldn’t convince the family to come out there with me. I brought a chair, yoga mat, Trigger Point Grid STK, a container of extra water, Nuun, and GU. The chair and STK were good choices – I used those after every loop. Many people bring tents to set up all of their gear. That would be useful if you’re with a larger group, but as long as you bring a chair and/or mat you would be fine. I was able to set up to the side of the shelter so none of my stuff got wet. There was plenty of room around the sides, plus picnic benches to hold your stuff if needed. The start and finish are at the same point, probably less than 100 feet from the aid station/shelter.
The shelter at the start finish served as the main aid station. Before the start of the race they had a good selection of donuts plus both coffee and hot chocolate to warm you up. They also provided Cliff bars, some gels, a large water cooler to refill, and more beer. During the race, when it was around lunch time, they set up a station to cook crepes. Both nutella and egg were offered (I believe egg & cheese and egg,cheese, and ham). Those really hit the spot! A 2nd aid station was located about 1-1.5 miles in and is passed by twice during the loop. This aid station had typical ultra aid station fare – bananas, chips, pickles, candy, electrolyte drink, water, pop, etc.
I took it pretty easy with each loop, leaving myself about 15 minutes or so to sit/eat/stretch/foam roll. In the last two loops I had more of a 9 minute break. My plan was to go up the hill once every other loop. I ran up in loops 1 (lager), 3 (margarita), and 5 (lager). In loop 5 the rain had made the hill pretty muddy and hard to climb. I had to hold on to the bushes along the side in order to keep from falling back down, so I put the kibosh on a loop 7 climb!
Loops 1-4 were relatively uncrowded as only the 8-loopers were running. “Birds” at the end of each loop are encouraged. By loop 5 the 4-loopers joined and the area where you have to do a small climb at the top of each loop was crowded enough to have to do a little bit of walking. When the 2-loopers joined in loop 7 you really didn’t notice. Despite the little bit of climb in the beginning and tail end of each loop (on the grass), the rest of it was fairly flat and easy trail. It was a very fun atmosphere. I think the fact that most people weren’t planning on winning, so place didn’t matter, made it fairly laid back.
Post Race Celebration
Eight loop finishers received a Day of the Dead mug and a Run of the Dead black hoodie. A post-race celebration was held at Half Day Brewery, maybe 10-15 minutes away. Each race entry includes a free beer. Post-race buffet tickets are $10 each, purchased there or ahead of time at packet pick up. I went to the celebration just a for a bit to get some food as it was basically dinner time, and drink some of my free beer (nitro coffee brew – very good!). Next year I will have to convince at least my husband to come with me so we can linger a bit longer at the brewery. Overall, I would definitely do this race again!