There is something magical about the ultra running community. The runners are just nice and caring. So are the volunteers and race directors. There is a friendship in spending good money to push yourself to the upper limits for fun. The Tick Tock Ultra Race in Lakeland, Florida is a perfect race for experts and beginners alike.
Tick Tock 6/12 Hour Ultra Race
Every September in Lakeland, Florida, the Tick Tock Ultra Race takes place along the shores of Lake Hollingsworth. It is a 6- or 12-hour race where you log as many miles as you can around the 2.84 mile paved lakeside trail.
You can definitely expect humidity and a heat index in the high 90s or low 100s. Fall weather (temps in the 80s) does not reach Florida until later in October, if we’re lucky.
The guaranteed hot weather does not deter 225 Tick Tock Ultra Race runners from registering, though, because of the wonderful atmosphere created by the race directors, volunteers, and fellow participants.
The Tick Tock Ultra Race takes place on a beautiful, wide, multi-use trail adorned with large moss-draped oaks creating tunnels of shade in some sections. Other sections of the trail have direct sun exposure. Classical southern mansions with perfectly manicured lawns line the lake for around 2 miles. Florida Southern College, designated as a Historical National Landmark due to being the largest single-site location of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, covers the remaining lakefront real estate.
Wildlife also is abundant with plenty of waterfowl to make any birder giddy, and otters, raccoons, snakes, ducks, and one particular mamma duck parading her three babies down the sidewalk. If you want plenty of pretty things to look at while you go around in the same circle for 6 or 12 hours, the Lake Hollingsworth Trail used by the Tick Tock Ultra Race will not disappoint.
Our Results at the Tick Tock Ultra Race
Wesley and I both signed up for the 12-hour Tick Tock Ultra Race in 2018. Our initial goals were 18 and 12 laps, respectively. By the late afternoon, we adjusted our expectations to 14 and 10 laps, respectively. Temperatures were in the low 100s with the heat index. We both reached a point, physically, where continuing in this ultra was counter-productive to our long-term goals.
Around the 10-hour mark, we both told the race director that we were done for the day. Ultra race rules require a minimum of 10 laps completed before you can officially declare yourself done for the day. Exhausted, sunburned, and hungry, we could not wait to dig in to the pasta and chicken dinner awaiting us at the race after-party.
If you can handle the heat and humidity, this is a great timed ultra race for novices and experts alike.
Destination Information – Lakeland, FL
Lakeland is located approximately 60 miles south of Orlando and 40 miles north of Tampa with easy access off of Interstate 4.
The race host hotel is the Lakeland Courtyard Marriott located 3.5 miles from the start/finish.
We stayed at the nearby Hampton Inn and would definitely recommend it.
Both hotels are located within the Lakeland Towne Center where you can find numerous restaurants, shops, and even a Running Elements if you forgot anything.