Wesley ran the Indiana Trail 100 (IT100) located within the Chain O’Lakes State Park in northern Indiana. Besides the 100-mile race, they offer a 100k and 50 mile race too. The IT 100 is a 20-mile loop course repeated five times with a total run time of 30 hours.
With 400 total participants across all three distances, this is a large ultra race.
In the 100-mile distance, 220 were registered but only 160 started the race and 122 finished.
Bad weather and lack of proper training are the usual reasons for not finishing. It’s cold in rural Indiana in October!
Indiana Trail 100 Course Info
The course is well marked and you are never far from the state park road. The trail is wide, rolling hills with brief sections of single-track trail. There are a few short and steep inclines and declines.
As a Floridian, the course loop is mildly challenging. The accumulation of miles over repeated loops is the challenge.
The terrain ranges from hard-packed dirt to grass to forest service road with no rocks or roots.
Aid stations are spaced 3 miles to 5.5 miles apart and stocked with anything and everything you could ever possibly imagine.
Outstanding Support at the Indiana Trail 100
From packet pick-up to the finish line and everything in-between, ultra love is in the air at this race. The race is exceptionally organized and welcoming to runners, crews, friends, and families.
A local group of ultra runners manages the race itself with net proceeds go back to the state park.
Park Ranger Support
The park rangers enthusiastically cheer on runners and ensure safe road crossings from the start to the finish. Two rangers stood out in the cold all day and all night at the two road crossings on the course. And let me tell you…it was COLD. They were amazing!
Running Club Support
Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to mix and mingle with the crew members, friends, and families. I quickly learned there were several groups of different running clubs from throughout Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan in attendance. Some were running while others came out to crew and cheer. Of all the races we have participated in, I have never seen so many different running clubs present in large numbers.
Finish Line Support
The group support and encouragement definitely made a difference throughout the race. Wesley ended up being the last finisher, just making the cut-off, and there were over 50 people at the finish line cheering him in.
When you are that close to the cut-off, typically only the timing guy and race director are still hanging around. It was a perfect end to the race!
Aid Stations at the Indiana Trail 100
A majority of the volunteers are ultra runners. This level of knowledge, empathy, hard love, support, and encouragement oozes out of every corner at the aid stations.
They are fully enclosed professional event tents and heated. Each one has a team captain and a décor theme. The volunteers have some serious decorating skills!
This race is cream of the crop in terms of above-and-beyond support, knowledge, and hospitality at the aid stations. Wesley was grateful for having the aid stations 3-5.5 miles apart. Carrying large amounts of liquids is not necessary and just a handheld or single bottle is all you need.
Aid Station #1
The first aid station is a Wild West saloon with an actual bar inside (but no alcohol!). Volunteers are dressed as cowboys.
Aid Station #2
The next station is a Hawaiian luau complete with grass skirts and coconut bras over many layers of warm clothing.
Aid Station #3
The third aid station is at Rally Campground and mile 12.5 on the course. This station is the furthest between points and just past the halfway point of the loop.
It is a replica of the Survivor TV show tribal council set. Runners come down a tiki torch lined forest service road before the aid station suddenly appears around a bend.
The team captain manages this station like a pro ensuring all runners are fueled and fed and ready for the upcoming inclines.
The next section, another five miles, is the most difficult on the course with lots of steep but short inclines and declines.
Aid Station #4
The fourth aid station is rock-and-roll themed with music blasting out of speakers and concert posters.
It’s adjacent to aid station #2 so it can be a bit confusing as you approach but the awesome volunteers guide you in the right direction. There’s also a historical schoolhouse here.
Aid Station #5
Then, it is only 2.5 miles to the fifth aid station next to the start/finish line.
It is considered the main aid station and you can find everything you need here.
It is decked out for Halloween with volunteers in costume and handing out candy along with hot food and beverages.
Crewing & Pacing at the Indiana Trail 100
I crewed Wesley during the race ensuring he had everything he needed. I also ran the third loop with him at the beginning of the night to provide encouragement to keep going when all you are doing as an ultra runner is questioning your life choices.
Pacing requires registering (no fee) with race officials and wearing an assigned a bib. This gives you access to the aid station amenities, food, and liquids. Pacers are welcomed and cheered on too.
With each 100-mile race, Wesley walks away with lessons learned.
This was his 15th time beginning a 100-mile race. He has built up the endurance to cover the distance, but he has reached a point where he needs to build up his weekly mileage in order to reduce his overall time on course.
As with most things in life, it is the compound effect of reaching little goals that build up to a monumental achievement.
If You Go to the Indiana Trail 100
Indiana Trail 100 Race Web Site
The Chain O’Lakes State Park hosts the Indiana Trail 100. We flew into the Indianapolis airport though Chicago or Detroit are viable options too. From all of these airports, it is approximately a 3-hour drive to northern Indiana. A rental car is necessary.
The closest town to the race is Albion (5 miles) with a few restaurants and stores. Columbia City (15 miles) and Kendallville (16 miles) provide the closest hotel options. We stayed at a new Hampton Inn in Auburn (20 miles) since we are Hilton Honors members. It’s all about the points! No matter which direction you start from, two lane country roads with endless fields of corn are the scenic backdrop.
Food and Shopping
Auburn has numerous restaurants, Wal-Mart, and a movie theater. We ate at Cebolla’s Mexican Grill (https://cebollasmexicangrill.com/). A fantastic and authentic choice for Mexican food conveniently located across the street from the Hampton Inn.