Wausau’s first ultra marathon has more to offer than just running
WAUSAU (Wausau Pilot & Review) –Although only a small percent of runners have an completed ultra marathon, IRONBULL’s inaugural event, the IRONBULL Ultra Trail, will offer something for everyone. IRONBULL has partnered with Wausau Events, Woodson YMCA, and Wausau Noon Optimist Club to draw people to this community-wide event.
Spectators have a multitude of race day activities to choose from. They may enjoy Wausau Events’ Harvest Fest taking place on the 400 Block which includes everything from pumpkins to crafts to horse-drawn wagon rides. The two organizations intend for this partnership to grow to multiple annual events.
“We saw a synergy to our events and it was a natural fit as both of our organizations have similar goals to promote Wausau to the community,” said Madison Nowak, Wausau Events executive director.
The YMCA is allowing open access to racers, their families, and event volunteers. Racers can shower at the YMCA then head back to the 400 Block to enjoy camaraderie at the finish line festival. The families of racers may use the YMCA facilities for free on the day of the event, too. The finish line festival will offer food and drink and live music by the Allen Brothers Band.
The racecourse will be epic with rock scrambles, forested trails, and breathtaking views. But these views featuring peak fall colors aren’t just for the racers, spectators can also enjoy them. Granite Peak is offering discounted chair lift rides on the day of the event for spectators.
It is only fitting that IRONBULL’s inaugural race takes place on Rib Mountain, a destination that is a hidden gem to those who don’t know much about Wausau.
“Since moving to Wausau, Rib Mountain has been one of my favorite places to train, relax,and explore. It is both challenging, yet beautiful,” reflects Ellen Humberston, co-race director.
IRONBULL’s mission is to attract and retain people in Central Wisconsin by showcasing the great outdoor recreation opportunities, just as it did for Humberston. Humberston, a Pennsylvania native, planned to only stay in Wausau one year. Now, five years later, she has no plans to leave, having just graduated this summer as a Physician Assistant.
Although the 50k race will be challenging and will draw top ultra marathoners, several locals who never imagined racing this distance, were enticed when they realized that the race was being held in their backyards.
John Lauer never intended to be an ultra runner. Lauer is a firefighter/paramedic for South Area Fire District and started running eight years ago when his wife talked him into running a mile with her. He never planned on going beyond 10k. In fact, just earlier this year, Lauer laughed when a friend suggested he try an ultra. But with the IRONBULL Ultra Trail 50k in Wausau, he is more excited than ever to push his limits.
"I don't even care if I'm dead last ... I will finish this race and that is my goal.” said Lauer. “To have this specific goal and to focus on it in this way is the most gratifying thing I have done in a long time."
Lauer isn’t the only one competing in his first ultra.
Rob Hoehn has a “Why not?” attitude, racing in both his first ultra and trail race. His story is one that most people can relate to, he started running to lose weight. As he worked his way up over the years to longer distances, he also met many great people along the way.
Hoehn is excited for toeing the start line.
"I'm a huge fan of this race coming to my hometown, and I feel it is fitting to end the season conquering our little mountain.” said Hoehn. “Another challenge to overcome, another hill to climb if you will."
While even the toughest athletes will be challenged at the IRONBULL Ultra Trail, the event is meant to allow racers of all ability limits to overcome a challenge. Additionally, spectators of all ages are highly encouraged, with a multitude of activities to take part in. The IRONBULL Ultra Trail 50k/15k will be held October 5, 2019 in Wausau. More details at: https://www.ironbull.org/ultra-marathon-details