Dark Sky 50 2019

Below is the race map for the 2019 event showing aid station assignments along with the activation times as well.

Thank you to all the volunteers this year as it was our 3rd time doing this event and we keep getting better year after year which is a reflection of your effort and dedication.

A quick race report provided by Bill KC8SPV and Nancy KC8VTT:

The Dark Sky 50 race took place on May 4th 2019 with the start/finish being in Pickett State Park. This report is from the perspective of Bill (KC8SPV) and Nancy (KC8VTT) which provided communications from the Station Camp Aid Station. We arrived at the end of Duncan Hollow Road about 9:00am CST as we were to meet Tim and Kim the aid station volunteers. Around 9:30am we decided to start the hike down as neither Tim nor Kim had arrived by the agreed departure time and the aid station was expected to be operational shortly after 10:00am. We checked in with Julian (W5EDQ) and advised him of our status prior to starting the hike down the gorge. About 15-20 minutes into the hike down Tim ‘ran’ up to us an apologized as he arrived late after driving in from Nashville. He indicated that Kim would meet us down at Station Camp as her husband was to drop her off and having run the race before she knew the location. The hike down took about 45-55 minutes and upon arrival at Station Camp we were met by Greg from Charrit Creek Lodge and he had already started setting up the aid station. We helped them finish the setup by carrying ice up from a cooler down by the river. The trail to the river was very slippery and muddy.

We checked in with Julian about 10:15am CST and advised him we were fully operational and ready to for the runners. We received a list of runners that had previously dropped (88, 36, 99, 200, 19, 75 and 26). Kim finally found us as he hiked down to the river first as she missed the trail cutoff to us. Our first runner #12 arrived at 10:32am and was out by 10:34am. Runners 60, 91, 28 and 50 had all come and went by 10:53am. We then had a lull until runner #9 arrived at 11:37 about 45 minutes after the initial pack passed through. By 12:07pm we had 21 runners pass our check point. Runner 33 arrived at 12:26pm complaining of a sore leg. We offered ice and salt tablets to them and explained they could not drop at our station. At 12:39pm runner 6 came in complaining of cramps. More salt tablets were offered. There was a constant request for ‘tailwind’ an additive for water. Last year no one wanted it and this year it was in demand but we had none. At 1:32pm we were notified by runner 67 that the prior aid station (Long Branch) had run out of water. We were in good shape with more than 8 gallons in jugs plus what we had in the water coolers and plenty of ice. We relayed that information to Julian and got an update that we were still expecting about 15 runners. We continued to fill up everyone’s water bottles.

By 2:00pm we had our 73rd runner pass us. The next couple of runners were walking as they knew they would not make the cutoff time but still wanted to make it to Gobblers Knob. Runner 70 accompanied by the trail sweep arrived at 2:31pm. We then began to pack up the aid station and carry the supplies back to the river so another raft could pick them up on Sunday.

Weather started out overcast followed by moderate to heavy rain and we all crowded under a small rain canopy. We had some issues when this occurred due to having to move the 2-meter radio under the canopy required relocation of the antenna as well. When people would stand too close to the antenna, we had transmission issues. We tried a couple of locations for the J-pole and after the rain were able to provide timely updates to Julian. The hike out was between 1-1/2 to 2 hours as it is all uphill and by then we were very tired. Upon arrival at the mobile unit we checked in once again with Julian updating our status and seeing if they needed help at Pickett which they did not.