Hourly Races, Looped Courses and Mix in Some Heat

I’m by no means an expert on these events but I’ll share what tidbits I’ve learned and maybe you can pick up a trick or two that might work for you.

First of all by way of definition, an hourly or timed race event is just what it sounds like.  Usually you pick an amount of time you want to run.  Most common is 12/24/48 but some will include 3 or 6 hours.  If it’s much longer than 48 hours it really becomes more of a number of days.  So you sign up for the amount of time you’d like to run, say 12 hours and you can run as far or little as you want or can in that time frame.  Typically you can’t change time frames once it starts, so you run and either stop at the end of the time you signed up for,  leave when you’re done or have reached your goal.  For example you may sign up for a 12 hour run with intent to run a marathon, you finish your marathon in 8 hours so you stop running.  But you can always stay and keep running your full 12 hours.  You are credited with whatever mileage you complete in your 12 hour time.  This can be a very good option for runners who struggle with cutoffs to achieve their lofty goals, makes for a nice way to get a long run in and reach a new distance PR.

Most hourly or timed races are on a small looped course of usually a mile or so.  Some are longer but I think around a mile is very typically.  The great advantage in my opinion to a looped course is you set up “camp” of whatever supplies you want for yourself and off you go.  Each loop (usually a mile) you are back to your base camp to get anything you might need.  These races also provide a main aid station on the loop close to where you set up your “camp”.  So it’s very easy to self support on this type of a course.  No need for crew or drop bags, the course is usually so short pacers are not needed as well and sometimes pacers aren’t allowed.  While this appeals to many runners, it may not appeal at all to others.

Here’s a list of what I might set up at my base camp:

Cooler (with ice and drinks)                                                                                                                   Camp chair                                                                                                                                                  Extra shoes, socks, variety of clothing options                                                                                     First Aid items I might need

Boom!  And there you go, all you need.

My experience with these timed events on looped courses has mostly been in the summer and in the hotter weather. I ran most of last summer (2015) in these types of events training for Habanero Hundred; a 100 mile and 100K race in Austin, Texas in August. The race start time was 12 noon in about 107 degrees.  I had to learn how to manage this kind of heat.  So here’s a few of my tips that helped me


This hate not only provides full covered around your neck, it has UV 45+ protection, a cool mesh liner, easy one size fits all adjustment and a neck cape with zippered pouch for ice.  Put some ice in the zippered pouch and this hat becomes a small piece of heaven in the heat and worth every penny of the $19.95 cost.HatMINT ICE WATER

Take a small ice chest and put some water and ice in it.  Add a couple of drops of Peppermint essential oil.  Now you take your bandana soak it in this ice cold mint water.  Then you tie the bandana around your neck.  It sounds simple enough, but something in the Peppermint oil is  very refreshing and cooling.  It’s a simple and easy trick to stay cool.  You can also add ice to your bandana before tying it around your neck.  Any brand of Peppermint oil works and you can find it at GNC or health food stores.


This requires a little more preplanning but well worth a little effort.  In the summer popsicles that come in the plastic sleeves are easy to come by at most stores (they come unfrozen but some stores sale them frozen as well).  So pick some up ahead of time and freeze them.  The morning of the race, you pack them in your ice chest and surround them by ice or ice blocks.  I find that if I stand them upright in my cooler they are easier to pull out.  The plastic tubes they come in are easy to open but hey just throw in a small pair of scissors and it’s so much easier.  Eventually they do melt but then it’s a slushy.  Something easy to grab, gives you a few calories and easy carry with you on your loop course and has a way with cooling you down from the inside.


These are just a few ideas that work well for me.  Share your ideas.