When most people think of “Kansas,” they envision miles of pan-flat wheat fields. Those people have not visited southeastern Kansas. The Flat Rock 25/50K takes place in the Chautauqua Hills, a narrow band of rolling sandstone hills that extends into northern Oklahoma. The hills aren’t all that big, but they are steep, rocky, and punchy.
I went into the race expecting a rocky, technical course and was not disappointed. At the start the race director offered a few words of caution, culminating with “if you look up you’ll go down.” My main fall race was three weeks away, so my strategy for Flat Rock was to complete the distance without falling down. And because I’ve made some changes to my fueling strategy this year, this was a good opportunity to validate my plan in a longer race.
In all, the race went really well. The course follows the Elk River Hiking Trail, much of which overlooks Elk City Lake. The weather was excellent and the views (when walking, not running) were amazing. And even more important, the organization was very well done and the aid stations were well-stocked and staffed by experienced folks.
I finished the day with a pretty slow time but felt great overall and finished strong. Most important, I didn’t injure myself, so that’s a win! If you’d like more information on my fueling and post-race thoughts check out the video. And if you’re looking for a challenging-but-fun trail race, I highly recommend Flat Rock, or any of the races put on by the Outlaw crew.