Inaugural Cayuga Trails 50: Race and Giveaway

Cayuga Trails 50The Cayuga Trails 50 is a spankin’-new 50-mile ultramarathon scheduled for June 8, 2013. The race takes place on the trails surrounding Ithaca, New York and offers up rocky climbs, digger descents, 6,500 feet of vertical gain, thick hardwood forests, waterfalls, views of the Finger Lakes region, a whopping 11 aid stations, and…

[Keep reading, there’s a sweet contest below!]

Prize Money

…prize money totaling $12,000 plus gear from sponsors. Check it:

  • The first male and female will claim $2,500.
  • 2nd male and female: $1,500
  • 3rd male and female: $500
  • 4th male and female: $250
  • male/female age-division winners: sponsor awards
  • $500 to the first top 10 finishing male or female who can also return to finish in the top 5 at either the Finger Lakes Fifties 50 mile or the Virgil Crest 50/100 mile.
  • Elite prem* prizes: $1000
  • Non-elite prem* prizes: $1,000 worth of gear, food, cash, and more

*Race officials will be planted on the course in certain spots. Entrants approaching will be notified of a given performance incentive (like ‘$250 to the first racer to the top of this climb’ or ‘an apple pie to the first of your group to make it across the creek’). Prems are designed to encourage entrants to push their pace/effort and to just plain make the race fun.

Elite Field

Some top trail and ultrarunners have already entered the Cayuga Trails 50. Here’s the current high-level who’s who:

  • Sage Canaday
  • Yassine Diboun
  • Matt Flaherty
  • Dave James
  • Nikki Kimball
  • Dave Mackey
  • Jordan McDougal
  • Krissy Moehl
  • Ben Nephew
  • Jacqueline Palmer
  • Ragan Petrie
  • Leigh Schmidt

Any other speedsters out there jonesing for a June 50-miler in upstate New York? I mean, the RD is offering on-course apple pie!

Sponsors and More

All of this is coming together under the race directorship of Ian Golden, a long-time upstate New York trail runner and owner of the Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company, a brick-and-mortar Ithaca running store; a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program; and the following sponsors:


We’re hosting a contest to celebrate this new, competitive, and well-prized race’s arrival onto the ultrarunning scene. We’re giving away three prize packs containing the following:

  • Entry into the 2013 Cayuga Trails 50
  • Your choice of an UltrAspire Spry, Surge, or Revolution pack
  • A pair of Scott Kinabalus, and
  • An shirt from Atayne.

To enter the contest, post your answer to the following question as a comment to this post by March 2, noon MST: Why do you want to run the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50? [Editor’s Note, March 17: The contest is now closed; winners have been chosen and will be/have been contacted. See RD Ian Golden’s comment below for details on who’s taking away this contest’s schwag. Thanks for your enthusiasm!]

Meghan Hicks

is the Managing Editor of iRunFar and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 163 comments

  1. Tim Millen

    140 bucks for a first year race that caters to the elites, and not to other 90% of runners. I guess this is the new world of ultrarunning we live in. Sad.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I'm guessing the entry fee is directly related to the cost of putting on this particular race. The same RD puts on a 100 miler you can get into for $160… with a 50 mile that costs all of $60! :-)

    2. Ian Golden

      Tim (and to those sharing this viewpoint),

      Thanks for weighing in.

      The issue at hand no doubt with somewhat of a polarized audience. To be accurate, baseline entry is $100. A rough outline of expenses: 3k park fees, 2k potential for tent rentals if inclament weather, 2k supplies, 1k food/nutrition, $250 insurance, $5k advert, 2.5k contribution to local history center to work on historical relavance of trails we'll use, 1.5k donation to local land trust whose land we'll use,$500 to give something back to volunteers. If 200 entrants, total would need to be $90 to break-even. Hopefully we'll go over that toward 300 and hopefully expense-wise we'll be just fine, but I can't bank on that, especially year 1.

      Amount dedicated to elites: $13,000, to non-elite $1,500. Grant amount from Tompkins County: $15,000. Intention of grant: to promote Ithaca to a national audience, bring people into town preferably for a couple day stay, and to patronize local lodging, restaurants, artisans, stores, etc… Covered the elite focus. Without the elite focus and national draw/press angle, we could put on a lower-key event but that wouldn't use the tourism grant dollars as they're really intended, it wouldn't change our expenses that much as advertising dollars spent would be offset by less worth/funding from sponsors. Take the prize money and reaching-out-to-elites away and you pretty much still have the same race. Maybe though, as Jim S. commented below…potentially, a little less awesome!

      Desire for elites? A combination of inherant genetic inclination paired with exceptional devotion to logging miles, inspiring individuals, and running amazingly hard. Most have full times jobs, are parents and end up devoting all of their remaining time and energy to the sport. Some have set careers aside to have a go at training and racing as the focus, not unlike Olympians, trying to make enough to get by. If adding an additional purse race to the calendar may help at least a couple of them make it work financially, well, I'm all for it as an RD, and not opposed to it as an entrant. I am inspired by them.

      Are they unlike the rest of us in those regards? No, not really. If you knew me, or most directors who stage events with prize purses, you'd know that we care just as much about the last finisher, and everybody in between. I think finishers in other races that I've put on could back that up. But, like most, I'm also inspired by those that run the fastest, raise the bar, show us what's possible, and live/breath being ambasadors to the sport. A reality is that they also receive more attention, coverage, and followings than a non-elite runner.

      State of the sport…no, as Brad was quick to point out below, Cayuga Trails, for better or worse, is a very small percentage of the sport. It's one that many appreciate and are into. Some, sharing your perspective are not. That's great, good thing there are events catering to both. The Finger Lakes Fifties is a wonderful long-established event in our backyard. Entry fee, I think around $50-$60? Camping night before, good foot after, grass roots, great RD's, a good number of return entrants. Sold out this year in 9 days and in my opinion, it should have. Maybe in 8 days. The sport is plenty healthy. Alternatively, I also direct the Virgil Crest Ultras in September. Cost isn't much different but not elite focused by any means, uses some great trails, is one of the more challenging courses in the country, gives back to the community, and hasn't sought any sponsors. Grass roots. Haven't seen your registration come through yet. $100 for a 50 I don't believe is off the norm for ultra, road, or trail if you consider the length and production costs.

      If you're upset because you really want to run the amazingly beautiful trails that I've chosen for the course and can't afford it, send me an email off the list and I'll see what I can do. If you just aren't in to supporting an event seemingly catering to elites, no worries, come visit anytime outside of the event. I've got room for you to crash in my house free of charge and I'd be happy to take you for a run on the course as it's just down the street from me. That would be free as well, it would be great to meet you and head out for a run.

      If you're not really wanting to make a trip or run the trails in Ithaca and are merely highlighting what you feel is a true threat to the sport, I think you can reassess, relax, and rest easy that the sport as you see it is doing just fine. I'll be sure to look for your name on the Finger Lakes Fifties entrants list for next year, just be sure to get your registration in in the first 5 days as it's an excellent event and sells out quickly.



      1. Kristin Z

        awesome, Ian… would be great to come out and see you and Sheri and the littles someday! this race sounds fabulous! thanks for all you (and your fam) do!

        Kristin Z (former bendite)

      2. Jay kelly

        Ian, I think it is a testament to the sport that you took the time to address the replies so quickly! While I have been drawn to ultra running and in particular trail running in part because of the low cost of races, I understand your reasons for having the entry fee at the price point you set. I do think you may be in a bit of a catch 21 however, as a higher fee will discourage some from running, especially if travel is involved which will further increase the cost. A lower race fee would entice more runners to sign up so you would be looking at a higher number of entries, thus more money. Tough call, but thank you for addressing the concerns.


      3. kristina folcik

        Ian, you do care about all of your runners! When i first ran Virgil several years ago and i was impressed by how well you put on the race! Being a new race director this year i am amazed at the cost and effort that goes into a race and i hope i do as well as you do with . making every runner have fun and feel special

  2. Greg Veayo

    I don't want to run the Cayuga Trails 50, since I don't have to. I want to fly over it with a hot air balloon and watch what appears to be ants marching through sinuous trails of gold amongst the green. I'll be smiling and than….. damn, wishing I was an ant.

  3. kristina folcik

    So i can blow myself up trying to hang with Ben nephew and then push him in the stream and get the apple pie. :) just kidding ben! Virgil crest is one of my favorites and i will miss it this year so it would be fun to do this one!

  4. Jim

    Shoot, I already registered the day it opened online since I have been injured a wee bit of time. It has been a year and a half since I raced and I miss that community involved. I love that it is 3 hrs from me and some great runners of all levels will be there. It's also great to show some of that east coast love. The atmosphere of ultras itself is enough for the registration. And since I already registered, the swag is plenty:)

  5. Teresa Smith

    I would love to return to the area. I was stationed at Seneca Army Base in the 1990's what a awesome way to show my family the beauty than with a race.

  6. Charlie M.

    I would like to look down on the Finger Lakes from the highest part of the course and I will take a picture (or draw) of my own fingers in the exact configuration of the lakes below me. And by the end of the race my whole body will be contorted in the same configuration.

  7. Andrew

    I'd love to run Cayuga because I've never run a trail ultra, it's in my neck of the woods, and I was among those who didn't realize the Finger Lakes Fifties was going to sell out in a week six months before the race, as Ian mentioned.

  8. John

    I would like to run this race because it has it all. It has some elites, some swag, it has scenery, is challenging, it is in a state where I've never ran and if I win the entry I can afford do it.

  9. Thelma

    I want to run this race to support the incredible trails and finger lake community! AND because I love apple pie and waterfalls (that's the real reason)! May need more apple pie perms ….

  10. Michael Vooris

    I used to live in Ithaca and have run these trails many times. A beautiful area with fantastic trails! Very excited about this race.

  11. Jim Arrow

    I want to run the Cayuga Trails 50m because its a year of 50's. Because I'm 53, it is near me, there is enough time for me to recover from TNF Bear Mt. 50m race, and enough time to recover for The Virgil 50m race.

  12. Tim Nelson

    I love running new trails and seeing what's to see. "rocky climbs, digger descents, 6,500 feet of vertical gain, thick hardwood forests, waterfalls, views of the Finger Lakes region," sounds nice. That's what I would run it for.

  13. Brian Hendricks

    This would be a great way to celebrate the end of another school year. I'm a high school teacher and my summer vacation begins June 6.

    A technical 50 mile race in June fits perfectly into my running calendar. So far, I'm running the 50k HAT Run in March and a technical 12 hour race in September where I hope to reach 100k.

    Most importantly, the Cayuga Trails race is near my wife's childhood home, making this a great vacation destination for her!

  14. Kristin Z

    I would love to run this to see a bit more of Ithaca trails… my first and only time there was for the Triennial Race… 2000-2001 maybe… "the golden spike"… all the fun… moosewood restaurant… and this was prior to ever meeting Ian and his fam and before they returned to open their awesome store. It would be a blast!


  15. Jared Hazen

    I would love to run the race because its going to be one of the most competitive ultras in the East. All the big one's seem to be out West. I love to follow guys like Sage Canaday and Dave Mackey and it would be sweet to run the same race as them.

  16. melinda

    I would like to run this race because apple pie is delicious, and running in a race with that many stellar athletes is always inspiring (as if the what sounds to be an amazing course isn't already enough)! Also – it might be the only time I can be a "first" finisher in an ultra. :o)

  17. Tracey

    I would love to run it because this would be my first 50 miler and looks like a beautiful course! Also, it would be a great excuse to spend some time with my sister and nieces.

  18. Paul

    I love the idea of the prems. Prems are something cycling has been doing for years in the crits to spark a bit more excitment. Hope the race goes well!

  19. Rob Rowlatt

    The Inaugural Cayuga Trails 50 will be my first ultra. I would like to run to inspire my children and show them anything is possible when you set your mind to it.

  20. Drew

    I've been waiting for the right 50-miler as my first 50 and I'm thinking this one might be it. No way I can afford it this year (unless I won entry) but hopefully next year I'll be there. It just sounds so cool with all the added incentives to run and push harder, sounds like more than just an Ultra :)

  21. Jeff Faulkner

    I want to run Cayuga Trails 50 because the trails in and around Ithaca are fantastic. And I know from experience that Ian is a top notch RD. I've participated in his other races as an aid station volunteer, a pacer. And as a racer. My boys worked two races all day and night as aid station volunteers. Ian takes care of everyone. You can't ask for better.

    Damn I hope I win one of these prize packs.

  22. Michael Crutchley

    I want to run the Cayuga Trails 50 because as a kid growing up in upstate New York, my grandparents had a cottage on the west side of Cayuga Lake that we'd spend weeks at a time staying at in the summer. Basically, the best times I can remember from my childhood were in the exact area where the race is taking place. Best part I remember about Ithaca? Coming up over the hill from the south of town and getting that first glimpse of the lake, and knowing we were almost there…then making the descent down into town…so cool. Love the whole Finger Lakes area, but especially the terrain. As a trail runner and recent first time Ultra runner, I'd love the chance to attempt this race. And apple pie. I love apple pie.

  23. Timothy Mesyanzhinov

    I'd love to run Cayuga, because there are some schools (universities) in upstate New York I'd like to have a look at when I start applying to university next year. Plus, it'd be the perfect way to start summer break!

  24. Jim Grove

    I want to run the Cayuga Trails 50 because my son goes to Ithaca College and I fell in love with the area when we came to visit. I ran some of the trails in Buttermilk Falls and Robert Treman State Parks and they are some of the most beautiful trails I have ever been on. This will be my first 50 mile race and I can't wait!!!! Thanks, Ian, for putting this race on and attracting elite runners. I really hope I get a chance to meet them.

  25. Josh Stratton

    I want to run this race because its close to rochester. It will also be my first ultra. Some of the elites that are going to be there is also very cool. It is also a great reason to go hangout in Ithaca for 3 or 4 days!

  26. Dan Lopata

    I want to run (and will run) the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50 because Robert Treman State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park host the most beautiful trails I have ever experienced. I also like pie.

  27. Brian Sorrells

    I want to run Cayuga Trails 50 because: I hear the trails are beautiful in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes area; the course looks challenging but runnable, not ultra-technical; I have heard Ian is a great, fun RD and runs excellent races; the race is only 4 hours from home in Connecticut; my family can make a vacation of the trip in Ithaca and the area; and because I want to complete a 50 miler in case I want to switch from Virgil Crest 50 to the VC 100. ;-)

    p.s. Now also because I want to win one of those packs!

  28. Nathan

    I have only recently gotten into ultra and trail running. This sounds like an awesome event on a great trail system. I have never gotten close to 50 before so this would be an awesome challenge. Check daily and love their support of events such as this.

  29. Swampy

    Ithaca is one of those transcendent places that defies label or designation. Incredibly natural trails cutting through well-established city. Gorgeous waterfalls and challenging single track, Ithaca has it all.

  30. Brian Macpherson

    Would love to return to Ithaca where I spent my college years at Cornell. I fell in love with trail running doing Monkey Run, repeats up Cascadilla gorge, or going down to 6 mile creek and jumping in far too early in the Spring. Have since moved to Boulder, CO and gotten into ultrarunning, but need an excuse to visit family back in Upstate NY!

  31. Moe Bsat

    I'd love to run the Cayuga Trails 50 because I'd love an opportunity to run side by side with Sage Canaday and some other top trail runners! I've always wanted to see first hand what their pacing is like. It would be such an amazing experience for me as a new and young ultrarunner. In Canada, we don't get a lot of big name runners in our trail races and Ithaca is just close enough to drive to!

  32. Tom

    Very impressed with the response and detailed explanation Ian gave regarding the concept of the race. Someone who puts their time and effort into organizing and directing an ultra deserves respect. I would like to run his race and visit the area. I like pie…

  33. Dan

    My friend has a cottage on Cayuga Lake. I could run 50 and then spend the remainder of that day and the next cooling off my legs in the refreshing water.

  34. Sarah

    The trails there look beautiful. Unfortunately the looped course looks fairly convoluted. That being said if I won entry I would run it seeing as the womens field is only 3 deep right now. If this goes like other races where money is offered, I could be that no name female runner that goes home with money. Why not me?

  35. Dawn Lisenby

    I would like to run this race because the trails look beautiful and fun; the atmosphere will be exciting with top runners being there and prize purse being offered; and it will be a lot cooler than running a 50k in Florida at that time which is where I will be at:)

  36. Graham

    I would love to run this race in the company of such a talented field. And particularly in the Scott T2 which sounds awesome (hunted high and low to find a shop with a pair near 92782 :-().

    My New Years resolution this year was at the age of 45 to run an ultra in every state over the coming years but unfortunately so far I've only managed my home state of CA. An entry for this race at the far side of the country would defineitly get the ball rolling!

  37. Nancy

    The FL50s is my backyard course, and I help maintain a slice of that race's trail, but I'll be away on business for this year's race, making the Cayuga Trails 50 a wonderfully attractive alternative, in part because Ian — along with Sherry and their two little cuties — is one of my favorite people and knows how to put on a high-quality, high-integrity event, and in part because of the sweet trip down the Finger Lakes Trail heading back to race central in Lower Treman State Park. I just wish he included a bit more of the FLT and a little less road in his course design. If I don't end up racing the CT50 myself, I'll be enthusiastically working the aid station sponsored by the Finger Lakes Runners Club.

  38. Gerrit

    I want to run the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50 to be a "Beacon of Hope" for all the injured trail runners of the world. But seriously, I propose to run three 50 mile trail races in New York, in four weeks – Cayuga Trails 50, Manitou's Revenge, and Finger Lakes 50s. Pulling this off as a very sub-elite runner may exemplify that utilizing a more efficient, less injurious running form makes a difference.

    I have practiced Chi Running for the past 2 1/2 years, (and helped at several Chi Running workshops), and "while mine is not the only way, it is a good way". I plan as well to "give back" by being involved with the Finger Lakes Runners Club's effort to establish weekly (trail) runs, and by being available to make comment/give feedback as concerns running form.

    Thank you for your support.

  39. Erik

    For the past few months I had been on the fence. Do I run the Cayuga Trails 50 or the TNF Endurance Challenge in Bear Mountain as my first 50? Living in upstate NY, both were relatively close and having gone to college near Ithaca, I knew the Cayuga Trails 50 course would be “gorges”. Just 2 days ago I finally hit the submit button and registered for TNF Endurance Challenge. Being sooner (May 4) and having in-laws near the course insured I’d do it. The idea of doing both had been on my mind but I knew it would not be “financially responsible“ unless…

    I cannot think of a better way to bring in my big four-O this year than being able to do 2 sweet 50’s in some super sweet new gear (UltrAspire, Scott, Atayne…drool!). To toe the line with the likes of Sage Canaday, Yassine Diboun, Nikki Kimball, Dave Mackey, Krissy Moehl, and others…whoa! Help a mid-life crisis, upstate NY, trail running dad live a dream. Send me to the Cayuga Lakes 50!

  40. Andrew

    Running the Cayuga Lakes 50 would be a great homecoming. I went to a small high school 1/2 mile from Cayuga Lake. This is where my running first got started. It would be like going back home if I were to run this race.

  41. Peter

    This looks fun. But god forbid anyone just runs for health or fitness and never enters real races. Then, regardless of whether they are fully prepared for such a race they wouldn't be able to register due to ridiculous pre-requisites. At least lotteries shut people out with equality. Such a shame because NYS and especially Ithaca area are so beautiful year round.

    1. Ian Golden


      That's a pretty confusing entry. If you aren't inclined to participate in formal races what's the issue here? Vast majority of the course runs on NYS land. Park policy is to be off the trails by dark, hence a cutoff policy and pre-requ's to evidence someone's ability to complete the distance within our time caps. Offer up a less "ridiculous" policy and I'll consider using it next year. Surely is a beautiful place to run in all seasons and I encourage you to do so. Trails are open June through the first snow and for nothing other then fun and fitness I'd be happy to join you for a run over some amazing sections anytime.

      1. Peter

        Simply remove all prerequisites to registration! The point is that you have people who run for pleasure and may want to join this so-called ultra running community sometime by trying an actual race. But when they find one that looks interesting it says "sorry you can't run because you've never run before so keep looking elsewhere". There is absolutely no point to prerequisites and if you're concerned about participation hold a lottery.

        1. Ian Golden

          Pete, vast majority of ultras don't have pre requesites. I intentionally inserted marathon distances into the qualifying set for those who may not have entered an ultra race prior and I feel the time of 5 hours is a good indicator of an individual's ability to potentially complete this course in 14 hours or under. I am considering of exceptions so contact me off this list if you feel you, or another, may qualify as an exception. If the event gets to the point of needing a lottery, I will consider implementing one. I'm open to other pre-requ considerations but for the considerations of not only other entrants, but volunteers and medical/safety crews, I will stand by them where I feel they are warranted. One of the events I also direct is the Virgil Crest 50k in September. Wonderful trails, tougher course, no pomp or hype, and no pre-requ's. We'd love to have you.

  42. Claude

    It would be nice to run those rocky NY trails again, after moving to Houston TX, there's not much of that around here and everything's flat as a pancake!

    1. Jason C

      Come out to San Antonio and I'll show you some nice rocky hill running. Nueces is hosting the USATF 50 mile trail championships and has a lot of good technical running. Check out a little race Cactus Rose and the Bandera 100k.

  43. Jim Kavanagh

    Ian probably doesn't remember me, but I ran in last year's Virgil Crest 100 (another one of his races). After the race, I literally left the hotel in a wheelchair. Maybe that was little dramatic or unnecessary, but I did the last 30 miles on a badly swollen ankle (it's weird what ultrarunners are proud of).

    Anyway, I survived Ian's course, which included a maze of ski slopes (which I had to loop around 4 times) and 20k or so climbing. Somehow he made it rain, which made the slopes nearly impossible to climb and too way easy to descend, if you know what I mean. It took me a week before I wasn't shivering cold and taking half hour long showers.

    The crazy thing is, I thought it was one the greatest things I've ever done, I loved it. I'm thinking the Cayuga race is nowhere near as twisted and would love to see what he's come up with. I'm proud that upstate NY is showing up on the Ultra-Map now, thanks Ian!

  44. Greg Abrams

    I would love to run this race because I would like to run a 50 miler. Also, I would like to meet Sage Canaday, my favorite runner.

  45. Ben Nephew

    I think Ian addressed all the relevant concerns, but to elaborate on the percentage of similar races that cater to elites to the level of any other major road race, I can only think of TNF Bear Mountain. That would be two races in New England and New York, possibly including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but maybe I am missing some races? It is quite common for the faster New England and New York runners to go south and/or west for opportunities to race in competitive fields, and it is nice to have another closer option.

    In terms of expense, ultras are costly to organize relative to shorter events. I think if people want to be able to afford to race more often they should consider shorter trail events and/or FKT's. By "people" I am referring to all runners.

  46. Alexander Nunn

    The reasons I would like to run the Cayuga 50 miler in Ithaca:

    -I find I am way too biased over West Coast versus East Coast as far as natural beauty goes. Yet "East-Coasters" would strongly argue the hidden gems all across the board not known to West-coast zealots.
    This would be a chance to see for myself.
    -I have a friend that I have been promising to visit for the last 5 years that lives in the North-East region, this would make such a promise fulfillable.
    -Andy Jones Wilkens lives in the East-Coast and has raced all over, we wouldlike to think it is because of his job but conspiracy-theories would say otherwise.
    -I hear New York rivals the beautiful landscape to here in Hawaii.
    -I would love to keep up with elite runners even if it is only a mile and to slog through the next 49 miles.
    I vow to run with lead pack until no longer possible, which would come all to soon. Come on there would be wagers that would be – legendary.
    -And finally the honest to god truth I was looking for a race right about that time that I could get excited about.

    Alexander Nunn

    1. Ian Golden


      I do relate. I grew up in PA, attended college here in Ithaca, but lived afterward for a year and half on Oahu, a short stint in Seattle, and in central Oregon for 4 years. The feel of running the razor spins of the Ko'olau's, criss crossing the root jungles of the Banyan's, even the city lights exploding on a totally black horizon in topping out on the Tantalus trails on night runs. Really magnificent. The moss covered canopy, soft ground, and mild temps paired with big climbs outside of Seattle. In central Oregon running for hours into the Cascades where the time passes a whole lot quicker…the barren runs in the high desert, back to moss covered trails and so much water as you move west toward the coast, and the feel of looking down the line of peaks well into the horizon in summiting and prior to hopping back down a mountainside scree field. No doubt there western U.S. and island running is difficult to compare to and part of me wants to be back there now. With all that said it doesn't diminish the different but comparable beauty of so many areas in the east. Not saying to leave Hawaii anytime soon but yeah, gotta experience other places to shake the prejudice and glad you chimed in and are considering doing so.

  47. Kai McBride

    "Why do you want to run the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50?" I live in Brooklyn and love it here, but my feet and soul are dying to get out into the dirt and hills and away from concrete. The beauty of the course is off the charts!! Waterfalls, trees, mixed terrain and a perfect setting for my first ultra! I am obsessed with ultra running and after seven marathons, it's time to take the plunge. I'll run my heart out. Thank you.

  48. Karen

    whenever i run trails in the finger lakes, i think about the Iroquois. did they run these trails? did they see what i am seeing? could they believe the beauty? are their ghosts among the trees and fields and falls? that's why.

    1. Ian Golden


      The local History Center will be adding that rich history and context before race weekend with text and images added to the course map and website. Pretty wild indeed. Stay tuned.

  49. James @RedDirtRunner

    I'm Jersey born and have family in the area of Ithaca but never get back east to visit. I think this race needs a little dose of my Arkansas Ozark love. Plus I could help push Krissy as she tends to slack off sometimes.

  50. maggie

    I'm already registered, so not trying to get in again…I just wanted to say how excited I am for this race and to be able to catch a glimpse of some of my running idols; including those behind the camera. I can't wait!!

  51. Tim

    Many of the elite runners have run the NFEC @ Bear Mt. in the past. Does conventional wisdom says it will be one race or the other? Or, do runners like McDougal, Schmitt, Kimball & Nephew run both . Jordon McDougal is the defending champ and a NF athlete.

    1. Tim

      thinking further, Jordon M, L. Schmitt & B. Nephew were 1,2,3 in the BM 50 miler last year – sounds like a potential blow the the NFEC

      1. Ben Nephew

        I'm actually the only one in your list who is not a NF athlete. If NF is covering transportation to Bear Mountain, I wouldn't be surprised to see the NF athletes at Bear. The four week gap between the races is pretty ideal, otherwise.

  52. Nathan Cockrell

    My wife is running this race and I grew up not far from Ithaca and it would be great to attempt to join her. She also said Ian puts together an amazing race (she participated in Virgil Crest last year).

  53. Michael Hughson

    I am looking forward to running this race for two reasons; first it will be not only my first ultra in NY, but the first race my family will have the opportunity to see me run for the first time in my running career. I grew up in Upstate NY, just down the road from Ithaca in Horseheads, however I did not start running until my 30's when I lived in Oklahoma. The second reason is my entire season is being dedicated to raise money for Wounded Warrior Project. I am a career Soldier in the US Army and this is a charity that is near and dear to my heart. It would be a blessing to be able to win entry into this event, that I will not have to take it out as an expense, which will enable more money to go this noble charity which helps wounded combat veterans get back on their feet.

    Plus, who doesnt want some apple pie in the middle of a 50 miler?

  54. J.Xander

    Running the Cayuga Trails 50 would give me a chance to return to a place that had a profoundly positive impact on the trajectory of my life. My wife would finally get to see what I have been talking up all these years.

  55. Kix

    I would like to run the Inaugaral Cayuga Trails 50 as it would be awesome to be a part of a race's beginning. There are so many Grand races that are already established with their hard to get into selection process but, also with their legends, with their status, with their stories set in stone, with their vibrance already seen and experienced by so many. I think that it would be great to be a part of something just starting – someday, we will be the 'legendary' just for having participated in this very first race. Our pictures and our experiences will be the lore of the legends of the future – and that is cool!

    1. Ian Golden


      Not sure I feel worthy and can only hope that in hindsight, years from now your vision may have come to fruition and be the case. I'll do what I can to get it there, would love to have you on board whether being selected in the promo, or outside of if not one of the winners. Thanks!

  56. Jake

    I want to run in the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50 because… somebody's got to bring up the rear of the field.

    You've already got a lot of the top men and women signed up, so why not balance that out with someone like me?

    There's a 14 hour cutoff for the race and I'd love to make the most of that time enjoying your local trails!

    1. Ian Golden


      I'm hoping you're in very good company. Some of the finest finishers we've had at Virgil have been those coming in just under the wire. Ultra spirit indeed. Maximizing the time for the dime and I really would rather not have aid station left overs so eat up!

  57. Adam S.

    Pie? I was told there would be cake…seriously though, winning a pie for burning up a climb would be way cooler than another medal! Time to reassess my June schedule!!

    And who isn't thinking about the scene from the navy movie (yeah that one) where the chubby dude has his pants around his ankles banging on a skillet saying "I stole pie" over and over.

  58. cheryl

    My boys will be off at Philmont for their adventure. I'd love to be here for a new adventure of my own. Nothing beats running on some gorgeous trails!

  59. Michael Vance

    I first met Ian and his staff when they graciously opened the store early so that we could stage my fraternity brother's 28 birthday miles from there back in 2009. Their dedication to the local running community, and their product knowledge, inspired me to do more with my regional running community.

    My introduction to running, and trail running, was while attending college in Ithaca. I didn't fully appreciate how special this area was until I moved down to the Carolinas, and couldn't find a similar trail network. Running this race would be a great chance to return to the Finger Lakes and rediscover where my passion for trail running began.


    Greensboro, NC

    1. Ian Golden


      Thanks for the praise and glad it inspired you to more activity in your community. For an eastern small city sandwiched by private lands Ithaca really does offer quite a bit of trail opportunity. Be good to have you back if it works out.

  60. Cale Colbert

    I'll be honest I just want to do it for the Pie! Also, it's always nice to escape the TN heat. Seriously though I just want the Pie!

  61. Gil Blank

    To a West coaster, New York is a another world. My training grounds are the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains with dry weather (almost year-round) and chaparral covered terrain. We are soft because we don't have to deal with the elements. New Yorkers deal with harsh elements. Snow, rain, hail, and humidity is the stuff that creates toughness. I would like to run the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50

    to test myself against the elements, which in this case will be high humidity. I think I have what it takes but who knows. Also, a change of environment like the rocky climbs, thick hardwood forests, and waterfalls will be a welcome change.

  62. Jim

    Why do I want to run the Cayuga Trails 50? I live in Western NY plus this is the year of 50's. I'm in my 50's, running Bear Mt. 50M, the Cayuga Trails 50M, and hopefully the Virgil Crest 50M.

  63. Matthew Toomla

    Why do you want to run the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50? To begin with I have never run a 50 mile race before. I actually had seen this inaugural ultra and thought about running it but decided to hold off for the Virgil Crest 50 Miler in September. But hey, if you pick me ill do both. Ill give it my all, dig deep, and do my free entry proud. On top of that its a beautiful area. I had friends and family that went to school in Cortland (Go Red Dragons). Figure i can also squeeze some rock climbing and hiking in. I'd love to be a part of the first running of this sure to be classic ultra!

  64. Craig

    I want to run the inaugural race because I've never done an ultra back east. And so I can meet Nikki Kimball. And because even a mountain course back east feels flat compared to Utah. Oh, how I long for east coast trails! Bring it!

  65. Matt Widzer

    I want to run the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50, to engage the wilderness, to challenge my mind and body and to share the joy of the experience with others.

  66. Em

    I want to run because while I'm "limited" to east coast events due to finances, this event makes it seem like maybe that's not such a bad thing! I would love to see a beautiful new wilderness and of course eat some pie :)

  67. Tim

    thanks Ben, great to know 4 weeks would probably be enough recovery time for you, and hopefully the others too. I wish you the best of luck in both runs!

  68. Grant Thain

    Because marathons are getting old and turning 50 that week my chance of 50 @ 50 just makes sense. May not be a (my usual run) stroll through the (Central) park or the Scottish mountains I grew up with – but some real air and a chance see some 'real' runners like Canaday and Mackey in action would be incredible.

  69. Chris Luck

    1) Ithaca and its' gorges are incredibly beautiful. 2) It would be one of the few times I would be shoulder to shoulder with the current greats of trail racing. 3) I have a free place to stay nearby….

  70. Tough Sherman

    After growing up in Ithaca, the longest race I could ever run was a 5K. Now I return six years later to run a distance I could have never possibly imagined. I run the Cayuga 50M to prove once and for all that the chubby kids in Ithaca High School don't always stay so chubby.

    1. Ian Golden

      Some of my favorite Virgil Crest finishers have been Clydesdales, so we'd want you even if you were still chubby. But we can for sure track down that high school sweetie that didn't give you the time of day secondary to chubbiness and invite her to work an aid station and while filling your bottles shersherealize

    2. Ian Golden

      Ct'd…realize who you are and how much tougher you are than her currently overweight jobless former star quarterback husband.

  71. R. A. Nypaver

    I could list many reasons why I want to raun Cayuga 50, like how I loved Virgils Crest and want to revisit the area, how my job doesnt pay much and need to save what little I have, and the chance to meet some awesome women running the event..but my main and honest answer is this: I want to meet my twin sister's boyfriend! I dont know if anyone know's much about twins, but they can be awfully protective. And since she lives in Colorado and I live in Ohio, we dont get to see eachother a lot. While I am giving this guy the benefit of the doubt (okay, he does seem exceptionally kind and good-hearted) I still want to make sure!


  72. luke m

    I would like to run the Cayuga trails 50 because it sounds like it's going to be a fun day out. Plus doing it in free gear and on someone else's dollar would be the icing on the cake!

  73. Ian Golden

    Sorry for the delay all…Bryon was off to New Zealand to cover Tarawera, Meghan's running some of the backend and getting things in order for MdS, and I wasn't sure of a process here. So, l'll just get out there the three winners who can all can send me an email ( re: the details. Thanks to all for chiming and to iRF, Atayne, Scott, and UltrAspire for the trappings. The winners are: Kristin Z, Rob Rowlett, and Michael Hughson.

Post Your Thoughts