Woods Ferry 24 Hour is a low-key trail race organized and directed by Terri Hayes, who started the South Carolina Ultra Trail Series. Four years into its existence, the series now offer five races featuring various distances in different forests throughout SC. The best of all? They are all free events. No frills, no chip-timing, and no t-shirts. Only labors of love, fully-stocked aid stations, unique finisher's award, and good times.
From talking to ultra-veterans along the trails, I've learned quite a bit. For instance, the importance of walking. Walk early, and walk before you need to. It teaches the body to take a rest and recover, and be able to start running again. If you wait till after four hours to start taking walking breaks, your body will not want to run again as soon as you stop. If you can't see over the hill, walk it. In the course of 24 hours, you eventually will start walking the hills. Running up the hills with tired legs doesn't gain you much time. There's more harm than good. Finally, fuel frequently. I've never used gel or other supplements during runs and usually just take advantage of whatever energy drink the race provide on the course as a plus. However, ultra is a whole different ball game. I made the grave mistake of waking up from last night's 31 miles and decided to run the an extra loop pretty much on empty. I felt like I was ready to pass out by mile two but hold onto the hope of getting to the aid station. Peanut butter crackers never tasted so good.