What a day at the Finger Lakes 50s! High humidity followed by a prolonged, massive downpour didn’t stop runners on their 1-, 2-, or 3-loop trek around the Finger Lakes National Forest. Our volunteer crew was top class, riding the storm out to keep runners fed, safe, and accounted for. A hearty handshake goes to past Race Director Steve Shaum, who stepped up on race day to assume RD duties.
Got any photos or videos to share? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @FLRCithaca, and use #FingerLakes50s. Also, send us your race reports so we can share and link to them here.
Results are in, complete with split times. Big kudos to Sabrina Little, who absolutely smashed the women’s 50M course record in 7:54:08 to take second overall. Women’s 25k winner Jessica Chichester was six seconds under the previous course record in 2:13:44. (Note that this year’s course was altered some to avoid a washed-out bridge.)
All results links go to the Albany Running Exchange website.
Saturday, Jul 6, 2019
50 Mile and 50K at 6:30 AM
25K at 8:00 AM
The FL50s consists of 50 Mile, 50K, and 25K distances in the Finger Lakes National Forest in Hector, NY. All three races are part of the Finger Lakes Runners Club Trail Circuit, and results are included in the annual Pebblehead/Stonehead/Boulderhead rankings.
All three races will use the same loop course, starting and finishing at The Potomac Group Campsite located off Potomac Road within the Finger Lakes National Forest. The course is approximately a 16.5-mile loop covering single-track trail (85%), grassy pastures (5%) complete with grazing cows and cow pies, and dirt and paved roads (10%). There is about 1,290 feet of climb per loop. The 25K runners complete a single loop, the 50K runners do two loops, and the 50 milers complete three loops plus a baby loop consisting of about half a mile. The 50K and 50-mile races start at 6:30 AM and the 25K race starts at 8:00 AM. Runners will encounter six stocked aid stations on the course, including the finish area. Please note that the 25K and 50K run “long” at 16.5 and 33 miles, respectively. But hey, that’s more mileage per dollar!
LOCATION and PARKING
The Finger Lakes 50s Trail Race will start and finish from race headquarters — the Living Room Aid Station located at the Potomac Group Campground in the Finger Lakes National Forest. The Potomac Group Campground is located off of Potomac Road. The driveway to the campground is about a half mile north of the Picnic Area Road and Potomac Road intersection.
Parking will be available on Potomac Road only and must be limited to the west side of the road (abide by the no parking signs on the east side of Potomac Road). In addition, parking will not be permitted in the entrance or driveway to the Potomac Group Campground parking lot, nor the area designated for the “Baby Loop” on the 50-mile course.
Any vehicles parked in a “No Parking” zone will be towed at the owner’s expense… and after running all day it would really suck to find your vehicle gone!
Parking in prohibited areas violates the terms of our permit with the Finger Lakes National Forest for use of the forest for the event. Emergency vehicles, race vehicles, and general public use vehicles must be able to use the road while the race is in progress.
Carpooling is highly encouraged. Due to the number of cars that will be parked along the road, you may have to park some distance from the race registration area. Please make sure that you arrive early on race day to account for this.
REGISTRATION and WAIT LIST INFO
Registration for the Finger Lakes 50s opens on January 1 at 10:00 AM EST on UltraSignup. The event is capped at 250 registrants for all three races combined (50-mile, 50K, and 25K) and always sells out fast. If you don’t get in initially, you can still register and be placed on the wait list (your credit card will not be charged until you are officially invited to and register for the race). The wait list will be tapped as registrants cancel — in the past couple of years, nearly everyone on the wait list has been contacted. See the wait list information below for more details.
You will be able to see a list of registrants at the Finger Lakes 50s page at UltraSignup by clicking on the “people” icon just below the header photo.
There are no deferrals of registration to a future year.
Once the race is full, to get on the wait list, go to the Finger Lakes 50s page at UltraSignup. You can view the wait list on the UltraSignup site by clicking on the hourglass icon below the header photo.
FEES and REFUNDS
50-mile and 50K: $90
- Shirt. (Indicate your size during online registration.)
- Six fully-stocked aid stations per loop.
- Awards for overall male and female and masters male and female for each of the three races.
- Awards for male and female age group winners. (10-year age groups.)
- Finisher awards. (There will also be additional swag for sale at packet pick-up – so bring some extra cash or a check.)
- Small breakfast before the start on race morning. (Usually muffins, OJ, and coffee.)
- BBQ lunch including pulled pork and vegan tacos.
- Camping at the race start/headquarters, if you desire.
- Best of all, an excellent day/weekend in the woods with trail-running friends!
There are no deferrals of registration to a future year.
Refund before March 1:
If you register and then need to withdraw your registration and do so by March 1, you will receive a refund of $60 if you registered for the 50K or 50-mile, and a $30 refund for the 25K.
Refunds between March 2 and May 1:
Registration cancellations between March 2 and May 1 will be given a $30 refund for the 50K and 50-mile registration, and $20 for the 25K.
NOTE: Refunds will only be for the race entrance fee; refunds will not include the Ultra Signup administration fee.
Cancellations after May 1:
No refunds will be given after May 1. If after May 1 and you decide not to run the race, please go to your UltraSignup account to cancel or notify us at email@example.com so a person from the wait list can be added to the race.
FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2019
11:00 AM: Camping at the Potomac Group Campground (race HQ) opens. Camping here is free for all runners, volunteers, crew, pacers, and their families.
4:00 – 7:30 PM: Packet pick-up for all three races (25K, 50K, 50-mile) at Potomac Group Campground Pavilion – THIS IS THE BEST TIME TO PICK UP YOUR PACKET!!
SATURDAY (RACE DAY), July 6, 2019
5:00 – 6:15 AM: Packet Pick-up for the 50-miler and 50K ONLY at the Pavilion – and racer check-in at the start line for all 50-milers/50K, whether you picked up your bib the day of the race or the day before.
6:15 AM: Race instructions/announcements
6:30 AM: 50-mile and 50K races start
6:45 – 7:45 AM: Packet Pick-up for 25K ONLY at the pavilion – and racer check-in at the start line for all 25K runners, whether you picked up your bib the day of the race or the day before.
7:45 AM: Race instructions/announcements (at start line area)
8:00 AM: 25K race starts
11:30 AM-ish: 25K award ceremony
12:00 PM: Cut-off time for 50K runners – you must complete Loop 1 and start Loop 2 by this time (5 and a half hours) to continue on
12:30 PM-ish: 50K award ceremony
2:15 PM: Cut-off time for Loop 2 of the 50-miler – you must complete Loop 2 and start Loop 3 by this time (7 hours and 45 minutes) to continue on
5:00 PM: Cut-off time for 50-milers on Loop 3 to reach the Library Aid Station (roughly 10 miles into the loop) – you must reach and leave the Library aid station by 5:00 PM to continue on (10 hours and 30 minutes)
4:30 PM-ish: 50-mile awards ceremony
SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2019
10:30 AM: Potomac Group Campground closes. All campers need to depart. If you plan to continue camping in the Forest, you’ll need to move your gear to a different campsite — the Potomac Group Campground is for reservation only.
Pacers aren’t really needed for the FL50s, as it’s a 3-loop course and pacers are only permitted for 50-mile racers for the third loop. If you’re running the 50-mile you’ve done two loops already, so do you really need a pacer for the third loop? If you do want a pacer, he or she must register. There is no fee required for pacers. However, if pacers would like to purchase any meals, you need to mail your Pacer Registration and Waiver Form with a check made out to Finger Lakes Runners Club prior to June 1. Meals are $12 each.
The form can be printed off, completed, and mailed or emailed prior to race day if no extra meals are to be purchased (or by June 1 if purchasing a meal), or can be completed at the time of packet pick-up at the race site.
FL50s Pacer Registration and Waiver Form
Completed forms can be mailed to:
Finger Lakes 50s
c/o Alex Kleinerman
217 Hunt Hill Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Or scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pacers will be allowed for 50-mile racers ONLY.
- Pacers may accompany a 50-mile racer on his/her third full loop (16.5 miles) and the final Baby Loop (0.5 miles) only.
- Pacers must stay with the person they’re pacing at all times.
- Pacers must be at least 18 years old.
- Pacers cannot mule for their runner – that is, carry ANYTHING (fuel, clothing etc.) for the runner they are pacing.
- A Pacer Registration and Waiver Form (links above/below) must be completed by anyone wishing to pace.
- All pacers will be provided with a pacer bib which they must wear at all times on the front of their body while out on the course with their racer.
The Finger Lakes 50s consist of 50 miles, 50K (approximately 33 miles), and 25K (approximately 16.5 miles) in the Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY. All three races are part of the Finger Lakes Runners Club Trail Circuit. NOTE: The below map has been updated on 5/10/19 to reflect the reroute avoiding a downed bridge. The reroute appears in bright green. The detailed course description has also been updated, with the changes in italics.
Download course map (PDF) | See detailed course description
This elevation chart will provide a close representation of the FL50s course with an elevation gain of approximately 1,300 feet per loop.
All three races will use the same loop course, starting and finishing at The Potomac Group Campsite. As noted above, the course is a 16.5-mile loop covering single-track trail (85%), grassy pastures (5%) complete with grazing cows and cow pies, and dirt and paved roads (10%). 25K runners complete a single loop, 50K runners run two loops, and 50-milers complete three loops plus a half-mile “baby loop” to give them a nice round 50 for the day. Runners will encounter six aid stations on the course including the finish area. (There are five individual aid stations, but runners will hit the South Beach aid station twice making it six.)
Due a trail closure and a bridge being washed out on the Backbone Trail and, the course will be slightly different for the 2019 race. The reroute is from approximately mile 12.5 to 16.0 (from the start of the loop), but it doesn’t change the elevation profile much. As a result, the leg from The Library to the Outback will be longer, and The Outback to The Living Room will be shorter. Each race distance remains the same. Just follow the arrows and flags and you’ll be fine.
1 – The Morgue — 3 miles from the start
2 – South Beach #1 — 1.5 miles from The Morgue, 4.5 miles from the start
3 – South Beach #2 — 2.5 miles from South Beach #1, 7 miles from the start
4 – The Library — 3 miles from South Beach #2, 10 miles from the start
5 – The Outback — 4.0 miles from The Library, 14.0 miles from the start
6 – The Living Room (Finish line area) — 2.5 miles from The Outback, completing the 16.5-mile loop
The course will be marked with signs consisting of black arrows over a red background, and pink flagging. Follow these markings and no others. There are a ton of interconnected trails and dirt roads throughout the forest, and it can be easy to get lost if you aren’t paying attention. If you come to yellow “wrong way” sign, you’ve gone the wrong direction. The Finger Lakes National Forest has orange, white, and blue blazes on the trees – ignore these blazes, and only follow the black and red arrow signs and the pink flagging. The arrow signs will only be posted where you need to make a turn – if you don’t see an arrow, don’t turn onto another trail. If you see pink flagging, follow it!
You’ll encounter a number of boardwalks throughout the course. These boardwalks have a nasty reputation of being very slippery, even if it hasn’t rained. Besides being slick, some boardwalks have broken wood and holes – please watch your step.
About a mile after the first aid station (The Morgue) and again after the third aid station (South Beach #2), there is a short section where runners will be moving in both directions. Please stay to the right side of the trail to allow for two-way traffic without risk of collision.
For a complete description of the course: See the detailed course description. (Updated 5/10/19 to reflect the reroute avoiding a downed bridge.)
- Race Day Check-in: You MUST check-in prior to your starting time before on race-day morning, even if you picked up your packet the day before. For your safety, we must have an accurate number of runners on the course.
- Cut-off Times:
- 25K – there is not a cut-off time; runners will be completing one loop (16.5 miles).
- 50K – need to complete the first loop by 12:00pm noon (5 hours, 30 minutes)
- 50Milers – need to complete the 2nd loop and start the 3rd loop by 2:15pm (7 hours, 45 minutes).
- 50Milers – also need to reach and leave The Library aid station on the third loop (roughly 10 miles into the loop, and roughly 41 miles into the race) by 5:00pm (10 hours and 30 minutes) to continue on
- If you were planning on doing the 50-miler and didn’t make the cut-off time to start the third loop, your time will be counted as a 50K finish.
- If you finish 2 loops and have met the cut-off time, but are unsure of continuing and linger at the aid station, you must report to the finish line area if you decide to continue on or if you decide to stop; if you stop you can go through the finish line again for a 50K finish (see bullet above)
- If you start the third loop, but miss the cut-off time at The Library (5:00pm), it is a DNF
- Headphones/Earbuds: Wearing headphones for the first 3 miles of the race is prohibited – it can be crowded and people need to be able to communicate and hear. Wearing headphones during road sections could result in disqualification, and if using headphones on trail sections, keep the volume low and/or one earbud out to hear other runners, horses, cows, and the rest of the natural environment. This is both for your own safety and that of others. Listen responsibly and be aware of your surroundings.
- ABSOLUTELY NO LITTERING!!! Carry-in, carry-out (or throw it in a trash bag at an aid station). Those found littering will be disqualified!
- NO BANDITS Anyone found running as a non-registered runner or pacing for a 50-mile runner will be banned from all future Finger Lakes Runners Club events.
- Dropping From Race: If you decide to drop out while you are out on the course, you MUST give the tear-tag from your bib and timing chip to a volunteer or race official and make sure that race officials and the Wilderness Search and Rescue crew know you are dropping out. Once your tag has been removed you may not change your mind and continue in the race. When you finish the race, you must make sure that race officials have taken your number tear-tag and timing chip. If you leave the race with your tear-tag, we will think that you are still out on the course and we will be searching for you! We do not want to be out looking all night for someone who is not out on the course.
- Bib Numbers: You must wear your number in the front at all times and your number must be visible to the race volunteers. DO NOT FOLD OR ALTER YOUR RACE NUMBER IN ANY WAY, INCLUDING REMOVING THE BOTTOM TEAR OFF SECTION (LEAVE IT ATTACHED.) A DISPOSABLE TIMING DEVICE IS ON THE BACK OF THE BIB, AND FOLDING YOUR BIB MAY CAUSE THE DEVICE TO MALFUNCTION AND FAIL TO RECORD YOUR TIME. It is your responsibility to make sure that your number has been recorded when you go through an area where numbers are being taken. If it is found that your number was not taken at one of these locations it will be assumed that you did not go through that area and you will not be counted in the finishing results.
- Changing Race Distances: Runners registered for the 25K race may not change race distances. All runners registered for the 50K and 50-mile races are registered for both the 50K and 50-mile races. Please know your decision before you reach the Finish Line area of your second loop to know which mat you will be crossing — the FINISH mat or the LAP mat. 50-milers must complete Loop 2 and start Loop 3 within 7 hours and 45 minutes if they plan to go on for the 50-mile distance. If you do not meet this cut-off, you will be counted as a 50K finisher when you do cross the finish line. If you registered for the 50K and have met this cut-off and would like to go on for a 50-mile finish, you are allowed to continue. 50 Milers… if you cross the LAP mat after the 50K distance and then decide not to go on for the 50 miles, you will then have to cross the FINISH mat and that will be your recorded finish time for the 50K.
- Continuing After Each Loop: Each time you come through the lap area and intend to go on for the next lap, you must do this within a reasonable period of time after going through the aid station. If you meet the cut-off time, but linger at the aid station and the cut-off time lapses, you will not be permitted to continue because you didn’t start the next loop BEFORE the cut-off time.
- Disqualification: Anyone who does not comply with these rules risks disqualification as well as being banned from any future Finger Lakes 50s event.
- Temperature During Race: If the temperature exceeds 80° F, as it often does on race day, it’s wise to carry enough water to last for at least an hour or two.
- Cows – Don’t Let The Cows Out! You will be running through two pastures that will have cows (and possibly a bull). These animals are naturally curious and sometimes like to follow you. You MUST close the gates behind you! DON’T LET THE COWS OUT! Do not antagonize the animals; we cannot and will not be accountable for animal actions or injuries resulting from irresponsible behavior, and do not wish to future future editions of this race in jeopardy.
- Horses and People on the Trails: The trails are open to the public. You may encounter other people, forest rangers, and/or horseback riders. If you come upon a horse, please announce yourself to make sure that the horse and rider know that you are approaching and walk past the horse to avoid startling the animal. Please be courteous to any non-racing individuals enjoying the trails. They have just as much right to be out there as you do.
- Your Health and Well-being: You are responsible for your own health and well-being — please know your abilities and take care of yourself. There will be Wilderness Search and Rescue personnel around the course to assist you in the event of an emergency — let’s do our best to ensure they are bored. If it appears that you are becoming physically or mentally impaired during the race, race officials and/or volunteers have the right to pull you from the race. If you are asked to stop, you must comply.
- Dogs at the Race: It’s preferred to not have dogs at the race — it gets crowded, and in past years we’ve had dogs get in fights and runners tripped by dogs. If you do bring your dog, dogs are not permitted near any of the aid stations. If you go to an aid station with your dog, you must stay clear at a distance from the actual aid station so your dog doesn’t get in the way of runners and volunteers. Dogs are not permitted to run with any racer or pacer. Dogs must stay on a leash at all times with a responsible adult. For more info go to the FAQ page (second to the last question).
- Assisting Runners: Family/friends who drive around the course to see their runners MUST be aware that runners will be crossing and/or running on portions of various forest roads. Crew members – please drive slowly and cautiously. If you are at an aid stations to assist a runner, you need to stay clear of the actual aid station so you don’t get in the way of volunteers assisting other runners. We have very capable and helpful volunteers at our stations. Extra people stepping in creates confusion for the volunteers who are trying to help and track the registered runners.
- No Fireworks: Yes, it’s almost the Fourth of July, but fireworks are prohibited per National Forest permit regulations.
Course records for the current course (including the South Slope Loop), beginning in 2010.
|50M||Masters Men||Jack Pilla||6:54:21||2010|
|50M||Masters Women||Nancy Kleinrock||9:03:09||2012|
|50K||Masters Men||Michael Heimes||4:19:20||2018|
|50K||Masters Women||Nancy Kleinrock||5:02:23||2010|
|25K||Masters Men||Dan Timmerman||1:54:39||2021|
|25K||Masters Women||Audrey Balander||2:33:06||2010|
Course records prior to 2010, for the old course including the Searsburg Road section
|50M||Masters Men||Jack Pilla||6:55:33|
|50M||Masters Women||Barb Bellows||8:17:12|
|50K||Masters Men||Courtney Campbell||4:13:17|
|50K||Masters Women||Nancy Kleinrock||4:52:38|
|25K||Masters Men||Eric Grimm||1:47:40|
|25K||Masters Women||Linda Grossman||2:06:15|
Volunteering for the Finger Lakes 50s can be fun. It’s a great way to make friends and get you psyched to run your first ultra if you’re new to the scene. The race depends on a core of 50 to 60 volunteers to help with the race. To find out more, please see: Volunteer at the Finger Lakes 50s.
LODGING and RESTAURANT INFO
There are a number of options for camping, B&B, and hotels/motels in the Finger Lakes area near the Finger Lakes National Forest. There are lots of options for eats as well. Take a look here for a list of options:
The race could not happen without the support of all of our sponsors. See a complete list of the FL50s Sponsors.
Still have questions? Check our FAQ, or contact us at email@example.com.
RACE REPORTS, PHOTOS, AND MEDIA
FLRC’s Race Report and Results
Ultrarunning Magazine – Finger Lakes 50s: Wetter Than Ever
The Secrets of Running (vlog) – The Insane Conclusion to All the Training
Andrew Styer, for Race Report Central
Tim Hardy – 568 Minutes at the 2017 Finger Lakes 50 Mile/50K
Ultrarunning Magazine – Can’t Get Any Muddier!
50M Women’s Winner Laura Perry
Jason Mintz – Finger Lakes 50-Miler: A Muddy Mess
Photo Gallery from John Zachary
Pete Kresock – Keeping the Cows In: A Finger Lakes 50s Race Report
Scott Dawson – Finger Lakes 50K
Ron Heerkens Jr. – What the Muck?
Photographer Vincent Wai Him Hui’s Time-Lapse Video
Trail Runner Magazine – 20 Beginner-Friendly Trail Ultras
North Brooklyn Runners – Finger Lakes 50s Race Report
Mountain Peak Fitness – Laura Swift’s 2012 Finger Lakes 50s Race Report