These a few things to take into consideration when planning your run.
Time Limit: The Columbia Plateau Trail is a State Park. As a result, the event does have to adhere to park hours. This means there are no early starts allowed and the last runner has to be in by dusk (around 8:30pm). For this reason, all runners in to 100km event who do not make it to the 75km turnaround by 5:00pm will be given a ride back to the trail head. Given the flat nature of the course, it's still a very doable goal, but the warning needs to be put out there.
Frequency - There will be two aid stations between the start/finish and the turnaround at Snake River Junction (which also is an aid station). Big Flat Park is roughly 4.5 miles past the start. Lost Island Park is about seven miles away from Big Flat. The Snake River Junction Turnaround is about 2.5 miles away from Lost Island. (Ice Harbor Dam Trail Head will have aid for runners doing the 100km event). While ample hydration will be provided on the course because of the distance between aid stations, runners need to have a means of carrying hydration with them (hydration pack or belt that can be refilled at aid stations).
Hydration - Aid stations will have water and Nuun electrolyte drink. You can grab a cup, refill your hydration pack or both. If you don't like Nuun, you have the option to bring the hydration of your choice and have it dropped for you at the aid stations.
Bathrooms - There will be outhouses at the start, at Big Flat and at the Snake River Junction.
Food 50km - Aid stations for the 50km will have GU brand gel, bagels and peanut butter/jelly, oranges, bananas, pretzels and m&m's. For runners with gluten or wheat allergies there will also be potatoes at every aid station. So runners don't get bored there will be other surprise treats that change from station to station.
Food 100km - Everything the 50km runners have plus avocados at the 25 and 75km aid station, and grilled cheese sandwiches with soup at the 75km mark.
Misc. - Each aid station will also have Vaseline and aspirin and a small assortment of band-aids.
Runners who would like to have drop bags taken to the Snake River Junction may do so on race day. Bring your bag clearly labeled with your name and bib number to the volunteer in charge. There will be a clearly marked table for drop bags.
Snake River Island Hop and its organizers claim no responsibility for any lost, stolen or damaged items. Please limit contents of your drop bag to race essentials only (clean socks, dry shirt, nutrition if you do not like the brand provided at the aid stations).
Drop bags will be taken back to the finish line at 1800. We cannot promise there will be an earlier bag return for runners of the 50km so it is strongly suggested that whatever you leave in your bag are items you can live without for a few hours.
Weather - Temperatures on the trail during this time of year can get up into the mid eighties. Runners doing the 100km run may be outside for as long as 14 hours. It is important to stay hydrated and use sunscreen. Additionally, if this is your first ultra marathon it is important to note that aid stations are not every other mile like in a traditional marathon. While there will be ample water and electrolyte drinks made available to you, you will need to carry some kind of refillable hydration pack to ensure you have enough fluids to keep going. This does not necessarily need to be a full back pack style bladder. A belt or hand held bottle can work, but be aware of the spacing between stations. It is just as important to keep salt in your body so please make sure you nibble on the snacks provided at each aid station.
Wildlife - Snakes and coyotes have been seen on the trail. As a rule if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. However, if you run with music, please keep the volume low enough so that you can hear if any wildlife is approaching.
Fatigue - Snake River Island Hop is meant to be a fun, positive and safe experience. If for any reason you feel like you are unable to finish, there is no shame in that. It's far better to stay healthy than risk harm for a medal. There will be volunteers sweeping the course on bicycles. If you feel like you may have overextended yourself, flag one down and we will get you back to the finish area. As a reminder, runners who registered for the 100km run may choose to drop down to the 50km on race day. Just notify the volunteers at the finish line that you are finishing the 50km after you cross the line. You will be given a medal for completion of the 50km.
Traffic - The Columbia Plateau Trail is restricted to motor vehicles, but there are a couple of road access points where people using Levee or Lost Island Parks may bring their cars so please pay attention to those areas..
Trash - Be a good person! The Columbia Plateau Trail is actually a Washington State Park. We want to be able to keep using it so please make sure to throw away your garbage at the aid stations. If you have a snack or a gel in between stations pack the wrappers with you, there will be a garbage can for you to use before too long. Let's leave the trail better than we found it. THANKS!