Running the Door County Fall 50

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining four college friends in the Door County Fall 50 ultra marathon.  This 50-mile race starts on the tip of the Door County Peninsula, in Gills Rock, WI and continues 50 miles through the incredible fall scenery, ending in Sturgeon Bay.  While some runners tale on this feat solo, my friends and I decided to complete the race as a team, each woman taking a 10-mile leg.  I haven’t run a cross-country race since high school (nearly 15 years ago…) but after two months of training, somehow I made it through.  Most likely, this is because the incredible scenery along Sturgeon Bay and in Peninsula State Park, at the peak of fall colors, makes you almost forget physical pain.  Hosted one week before Halloween, the race is also a parade of humorous and team-themed costumes.  The race ends under a beer tent (it is Wisconsin, after all) where racers from 450 teams gorge themselves on free pizza and beer, before going home and passing out by 8pm.

What is also noteworthy about this trip is that, despite being born and raised in Wisconsin, this was my first trip to Door County.  This narrow Peninsula, situation between Green Bay the the west, and Lake Michigan to the east, is scattered with quaint vacation towns, beaches, bed and breakfasts, cherry orchards, gift shops, art galleries, bakeries, and farmland.  Normally oversaturated with summer tourists, the crowds thin out by late October, making the area actually enjoyable.  We watched the run rise over Lake Michigan on what ended up being a cloudless day, at the peak of Fall Colors.  Though a competitive race for some, it was not uncommon to see races stop along the course to take pictures and soak in the beauty of the day.  This is the perfect mix of physical challenge, fun, and gorgeous scenery.  I will definitely be back, and was excited to hear the Fall50 race is coming to new locations next year, starting with Ocean City, MD and Cape Cod, MA.

Chairs

BAILEY’S HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: Sunrise over Lake Michigan.

Birdhouse

BAILEY’S HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: Birdfeeder at sunrise

Sunrise Chairs

BAILEY’S HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: The sun rises over Lake Michigan on the morning of the eleventh annual Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Sunrise

BAILEY’S HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: The sun rises over Lake Michigan on the morning of the eleventh annual Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Racing Bib

GILLS ROCK, WI – October 22, 2016: Rachel helps Adrianna attach her racing bib at the start of the eleventh annual Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Fall 50

GILLS ROCK, WI – October 22, 2016: The crowd gathers at the start of the eleventh annual Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Tutus

SISTER BAY, WI – October 22, 2016: Halloween costumers are a strong tradition at the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Fish Creek

FISH CREEK, WI – October 22, 2016: A racer runs through the third checkpoint of the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Bacon

FISH CREEK, WI – October 22, 2016: Racers arrive at the third checkpoint of the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

The Handoff

FISH CREEK, WI – October 22, 2016: Rachel hands off the bracelet to her teammate at the third checkpoint of the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon. Teams of 2-5 run 50 miles from the tip of the Door County Peninsula to Sturgeon Bay.

Handoff

FISH CREEK, WI – October 22, 2016: Rachel hands off the bracelet to her teammate at the third checkpoint of the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon. Teams of 2-5 run 50 miles from the tip of the Door County Peninsula to Sturgeon Bay.

Gnomes

EGG HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: A team of gnomes gather at the sixth checkpoint of the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Medal

STURGEON BAY, WI – October 22, 2016: Participants in the Door County Fall 50 enjoy pizza and beer after their long race.

Bottle Opener

BAILEY’S HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: Door County Fall 50 participant medals conveniently double as a bottle opener!

Team Awesome

BAILEY’S HARBOR, WI – October 22, 2016: Team Awesome celebrates on the shore of Lake Michigan after completing the Door County Fall 50 ultramarathon.

Cave Point Drive

JACKSONPORT, WI – October 22, 1016: The inviting drive to Cave Point County Park. The Door County Fall 50 takes runners from the tip of the Door County Peninsula to Sturgeon Bay at the peak of fall colors, for the most scenic run in the nation.

Cave Point

JACKSONPORT, WI – October 22, 1016: Cave Point County Park

Cave Point

JACKSONPORT, WI – October 22, 1016: Cave Point County Park

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