FAQs – Zeke’s Answers to All Your VT100 Questions
We get A LOT of questions from our participants every year. So, we’ve rounded up your FAQs and Zeke’s taken the time to answer each. There’s a ton of information here, but we promise it’s worth it. Enjoy!
- This post is broken up into 11 sections.
- Read start to finish, or click a topic to anchor to that specific section.
- About Zeke
- The Course
- Your Gear
- Aid Stations
- The Start and Finish
- The Schedule
- Running with Horses
- Pacers, Crews, & Handlers
We hope this will help you breathe a little easier going into the race!
If you have questions about the VT100, Zeke has answers. As a longtime member of the race committee for the VT50 and the VT100, Zeke Zucker is here to make sure you have the best experience possible.
Zeke is an experienced runner, having finished over 50 ultras in his career, including six Vermont 100 finishes, Western States 100, Leadville 100, Wasatch 100, Mountain Masochist, and Bull Run Run.
As a critical member of our race committee, Zeke ensures that the course is the correct length. As landowner permissions change, he coordinates substitutions and re-routes. He also checks the course to make sure that there aren’t any downed trees or other obstacles along the route.
And as if his rockstar status couldn’t be more solid, Zeke was the captain of the Spirit of ‘76 aid station for many years, before recently turning the reigns over to the 413 Trail Runners. He still volunteers there every year, so make sure you say hello when you pass through!
So, if you’ve got any questions – from how to prepare for your first 100 miler, your first Vermont, what the course is like, or what your crew should expect – Zeke has experienced it all and is super generous to share his wealth of knowledge.
WHERE CAN I FIND A MAP OF THE COURSE?
We do not publish course maps because most of the VT100 is on private land. We deeply respect our landowners privacy and are very thankful they generously grant us access to run on their land. Without these landowners, the VT100 would not be possible. Thank you, landowners!
WHAT IS THE COURSE LIKE?
Gravel / Trail – Jeep road / Paved
100 Mile: 68.5% / 29% / 2.5%
100-km: 66.5% / 32% / 1.5%
The 70 miles of smooth gravel roads, although hilly, are very runnable. The trails and jeep roads, for the most part, are also quite runnable, with a paucity of rocks or roots. Most trails are part of the local Horse Association trail network, and are well-maintained.
The Jeep Roads are hardly rutted, but occasionally a heavy rain will cause some erosion. One segment, just before the halfway point, is an old logging road with sizeable puddles that extend across the width of the road. Since your feet might get wet, you may want to include a pair of dry shoes and socks at the next drop bag aid station, which is Margaritaville at mile 58.5.
The total paved surface is about 2.5 miles. There are 6 sections of paved surfaces ranging between 1/16 and 1/2 mile. The longest paved surface is just shy of 1 mile and occurs after Lillian’s at mile 43.
ARE THERE A LOT OF HILLS?
There are hills throughout the course. The elevation again is approximately 17,000’ for the 100 Mile and 9,000’ for the 100 Km.
Here are the hills that will get your attention:
- Mile 4: Densmore Hill Road, moderate for 2 miles
- Miles 10-16 & 19-21: Moderate rollers before Pretty House
- Mile 26: moderate climb up to Sound of Music Hill
- Mile 30: After Stage Rd. 3/4 mi. up thru meadow and woods. Steep then Mod.
- Mile 38: Fletcher Hill Road, 1.5 miles of steep road
NOTE: 100K runners: you have one half mile moderate hill at 3.2 miles. For the following, subtract 38 miles or your mileage points. You can also access the 100-km elevation profile here.
- Mile 49: Agony Hill, moderate to steep for 7-10 miles
- Mile 56: Tracer Brook up to Margaritaville aid station, moderate to steep for 2 miles
- Mile 59: Prospect Hill, steep for half mile
- Mile 62: Brown Schoolhouse Road, moderate climbs for 3 miles
- Mile 70: Heartbreak Hill, steep for 7-10 miles
- Mile 74: Calendar Hill Road, moderate to steep climb for half mile
- Mile 76: Driveway approach to ’76 aid station, 0.15 mi. and very steep
- Mile 87: Coon Club Road before Bill’s, moderate to steep roller coaster
- Mile 90: Hewett Road, moderate 1.5 miles, then Hunt Road 0.3 steep
- Mile 92: Marton Road, first third is VERY STEEP, then eases to moderate half mile
- Mile 98: Trails before Blood Hill are short, mostly moderate with one steep
ARE THE TRAIL SECTIONS ROCKY?
For the most part, no. There will be some roots, small rocks and ruts, so pay attention and pick up your feet. We have driven or run all of the trails and cut downed trees and tossed limbs and branches, but some can fall the evening before or the day of.
HOW WILL THE COURSE BE MARKED?
The 100 mile course will be marked with large yellow plastic dinner plates, with bold dark black arrows indicating direction (right, left or straight). Where the course turns, there will be one arrow plate BEFORE the turn, two plates at the turn, and another plate AFTER the turn. On some stretches you will see confidence plates with a large C on it, to assure you that you are still on course. The 100K will be marked with LAVENDER plastic dinner plates only until it joins the 100 Mile course (at Lillian’s Aid Station), at which point everyone will follow yellow plates. At night, in addition to the plates, there will be green glow stick chem-lites marking the route.
HOW MUCH DOES THE 100-KM COURSE OVERLAP THE 100-MILE?
The 100 K course starts at Silver Hill Meadow and proceeds 5.6 miles to Lillian’s Aid Station, which is the mile 43.3 for the 100 Milers. From Lillian’s to the finish, the two courses are identical.
WHERE DO THE COURSES GO?
The 100 Mile goes through parts of 9 towns in a three lobe cloverleaf pattern. The 100 K goes through parts of 6 towns on the latter two cloverleaf ‘lobes’.
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY COURSE CHANGES?
There are no anticipated changes to the course this year, however minor last minute changes seem to occur every year. Any course changes will be reviewed at the pre-race briefing on Friday.
CAN I USE DROP BAGS?
You can have a drop bag at any aid station that allows crews. Information about drop bags can be found here. Remember:
- All drop bags bags must be in place on Silver Hill by 5:30pm on Friday, July 14th.
- Mark each drop bag with your: Bib Number, Last Name, and Aid Station Name.
- Drop bags should be soft sided, waterproof and durable. A small backpack or gear bag about 9” by 9” by 16” (or smaller). We will not accept unreasonably large drop bags.
HOW SHOULD I MARK MY DROP BAGS FOR CAMP TEN BEAR?
Since runners pass through twice, Camp Ten Bear is aid station #11 and aid station #17. There will be 2 drop bag areas; one area for #11, and one area for #17. If you want to use one drop bag for both areas, clearly mark the drop bag “Camp Ten Bear #11.” After you use the drop bag on your first time through Camp Ten Bear, drop the bag in the #17 pile before you leave and the bag will be there when you return.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
The VT100 is a cupless race, so bring a water bottle. The race starts before sunrise, so bring a headlamp or flashlight. We suggest you wear trail shoes but you could get by with road shoes.
SHOULD I TAKE A FLASHLIGHT FOR THE START OF THE 100-MILE RACE?
Since the 100 mile starts before sunrise, you may want to bring a small inexpensive light that you can afford to leave behind at the first aid station. There will be a box at the first aid station (Densmore Hill, mile 7) where you can leave your light. The box will be returned to Silver Hill.
SHOULD I CARRY TWO WATER BOTTLES FOR THE RACE?
Yes, if the weather is above 85 degrees and you anticipate taking over 28 hours to complete the run. You won’t need two bottles if you have a hydration pack. The greatest distance between aid stations is 5 miles, which occurs 3 times in the 100 mile. Slower runners will take close to 1.5 hours to cover 5 miles.
WHAT KIND OF HYDRATION AND FUEL WILL BE PROVIDED AT THE AID STATIONS?
New this year, the energy drink that will be provided at aid stations is Base Performance Hydro. All runners will also be given a tube of the Base Performance Electrolytes, to use in conjunction with the Hydro. If you plan on using these products, it is strongly suggested that you order and try both in your training. Aid Stations will also have an assortment of the following: chips, fruit, M&M’s, cookies, candy, peanut butter and jelly, turkey sandwiches, and potato chunks. There will be soup, broth, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate at some stations after dark. There will be burgers and hotdogs at Camp Ten Bear, and grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup at Spirit of ’76.
CAN I GET ENERGY GELS AT THE AID STATIONS?
Normally, no. When using your own gels, please hold the wrappers and dispose of them at the next aid station. Do not discard on the roads or trails. Absolutely no littering will be tolerated. We pride ourselves on being Green. After all, Vermont is the Green Mountain State!
WHAT IF I NEED FIRST AID OR MEDICAL ATTENTION?
The main medical center is inside the tent on Silver Hill. Minor aid can be obtained along the course at the handler stations if an EMT is present. All of manned aid stations will have basic first aid kits and electrolyte caplets. We have HAM Radio communication at all handler stations in order to connect injured runners with medical personnel.
ARE THERE MANDATORY MEDICAL CHECKS?
Yes, at Camp Ten Bear (miles 47 and 70) and at Bill’s (mile 88). At these checkpoints, every runner must check in with medical staff to undergo a brief evaluation that may include being weighed or otherwise evaluated. All decisions and evaluations are up to the medical staff.
FOR WHAT REASON(S) WOULD THE MEDICAL PERSONNEL STOP ME FROM RUNNING?
Medical staff will be monitoring for significant weight loss, weight gain, trench foot, Rhabdomyolysis, and Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia.
WHEN DO THE RACES START?
- The 100 mile starts at 4:00 a.m. Saturday.
- The 100 K starts at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
WHAT ARE THE CUT-OFF TIMES?
- The 100 mile cut-off time is 10:00 a.m. on Sunday.
- The 100 K cut-off time is 5:00 a.m. on Sunday.
WHEN WILL THE WINNERS FINISH?
- For the 100 mile, the first male will finish in about 15.5 hrs (around 7:30 p.m.) and the first female in about 17.5 hrs (9:30 p.m.).
- For the 100 K, the first male will finish in about 9.5 hrs (6:30 p.m.) and the first female in about 11.5 hrs (8:30 p.m.).
WHERE EXACTLY IS THE START?
The races start slightly downhill from the main tent on Silver Hill Meadow, under the starting line banner. Both races proceed down the hill.
WHERE EXACTLY IS THE FINISH?
The finish line for both races is in the woods behind the main tent on Silver Hill Meadow.
WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE PRE-RACE BRIEFING BE HELD?
4:30 p.m. Friday in the main tent on Silver Hill Meadow.
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE PASTA DINNER FRIDAY EVENING?
Immediately following the pre-race briefing. approx 5:00 p.m. Your Bib is YOUR MEAL TICKET! Family and friends and pacer meal tickets ARE NOT included in your entry fee. Extra meal tickets will be available at the Merchandise Table.
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE SUNDAY POST-RACE BBQ?
In the main tent at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Your Bib is YOUR MEAL TICKET! Family and friends and pacer meal tickets ARE NOT included in your entry fee. Extra meal tickets will be available at the Merchandise Table.
WHEN ARE THE AWARDS?
Sunday at about 11 a.m., immediately following the post-race BBQ.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT RUNNING WITH THE HORSES?
The horses will not run you over; they actually want to slow down to your pace. If a horse and rider want to pass you, speak with the rider and step aside if asked to. If you want to pass a horse, speak with the rider and wait until they says it’s okay. At night, in particular, talk to the rider as soon as you’re within earshot; until the horse knows you are a human, the horse may be frightened. And above all, don’t point your bright flashlight towards horses – they like that even less than us runners do!
WHAT TIME DOES THE SUN RISE AND SET?
- Sunrise is approximately 5:26 a.m. Saturday and 5:27 a.m. Sunday.
- The sun will set Saturday evening at approximately 8:25 p.m.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE TEMPS?
At night, it is usually in the 50’s, but could be in the 40’s or 60’s. During the day, it is usually in the 70’s, but could be in the 60’s, 80’s or 90’s.
WILL IT RAIN DURING THE RACE?
It could and has, but on average does not. We’ll give you the latest weather forecast at the pre-race briefing. Bring a raincoat and an extra set of shoes/socks just in case.
WHERE CAN I FIND A PACER?
You can request one in advance via the Pacer section on our website. On Friday at registration, look for John Bassette in the yellow West Point baseball cap. All pacers must get and wear a bib number during the race.
WHERE CAN I PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO MY RUNNER?
Crews are allowed at handler access aid stations only. Helping your runner at non-handler access aid stations is NOT allowed and can be grounds for runner disqualification. There are 8 handler access aid stations for the 100 mile and 6 for the 100 K. It will take roughly 35 minutes for crews to drive from Silver Hill Meadow to the first crew access aid station. Please see the Handler Instructions for answers to the following common questions and more:
- Where are the handler aid stations?
- How do I get to Camp Ten Bear from Silver Hill?
- Where can I park at the Handler access aid stations?
WHERE CAN I GET GAS, ICE, FOOD AND OTHER SUPPLIES?
There are a number of great, local country stores in the towns of South Woodstock, Taftsville, Hartland, Brownsville, Reading and Woodstock. For more information, see our blog post on local establishments.
WHAT WILL THE RACE OFFICIALS BE WEARING?
They will be wearing yellow t-shirts that say ‘Race Official.’
ARE THERE SHOWERS AVAILABLE POST-RACE?
There is one very rustic shower available in woods near the camping area on SilverHill. There is also a small pond for swimming.
WHAT IS VERMONT ADAPTIVE?
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, a non-profit, volunteer based organization which provides competitive and recreational athletic opportunities, equipment and instruction for people with disabilities. Your entry fee and all money raised during the event goes directly toward provision of these services.
WILL THERE BE ROAD CLOSURES?
Our race depends on our neighbors and gracious landowners! The local landowners are extremely tolerant of us every year. We have been asked to reduce traffic and noise around the race course. We absolutely must keep the noise down at Silver Hill Meadow and keep event-related vehicles off of some specific roads. In an effort to maintain good relations with the local community, there will be some clearly marked road closures. Violation of these closures could easily result in the termination of our event. In 2015, we revised the driving directions to Silver Hill and between authorized Handler Access Aid Stations. Please be aware and respectful of all road closures and help spread the word.
Still have questions? Visit the VT100 blog for more helpful information, or of course don’t hesitate to ask me!