Double Race Report: Worlds End 100k and Laurel Highlands 70-miler

by Andy Styer

I never intended to do these two races the same year, since they take place on back-to-back weekends. The plan was always to just do Laurel Highlands and that’s it. Well, I had my name on the waitlist for Worlds End, just in case I didn’t get into Laurel for some reason. I actually forgot about it, and since I was pretty deep on the list, I never removed myself once I was officially registered for Laurel Highlands. The last 3 weeks before the race I catapulted from 93rd down to single digits. It wasn’t until a week before Worlds End that I actually got in. I had a little help, too, but that’s not for public knowledge : )

So, the real question was, could I actually pull this off ? Worlds End is a course that always had my number. I finished in 2020 @ 18hrs 4 minutes, and in 2021 I DNF’d at mile 35. Laurel Highlands I did in 2019 with a finish time of 17hr 13 minutes. No crew, no pacer. 

For Worlds End, I quickly assembled a team of pacers and crew. I secured a camping spot where my good friend and training buddy Kyle was renting a yurt. The race started off great–I wasn’t trying to kill it, just trying to finish it! All was well until my stomach turned south and my pacers & crew had their hands full with a runner in the “pain cave.” They all had explicit instructions from me to not let me drop unless I broke a leg. They didn’t, in spite of my whining and fits. They kept me going and I was able to finish in 18 hours and 55 minutes. 5 minutes to spare!

At Laurel, this time, I just had my crew of Kim (my partner) and Nathan (my son), who met me at every crew access point. No pacers, but the race went well. Laurel Highlands is a similar course in elevation gain, but it has many more flowing, runnable sections. This race went rather well, and I finished in 17 hours and 52 minutes. 

Andy finishing the Laurel Highlands 70-mile ultra just a week after running Worlds End 100k!

I was rather surprised that I could do these back-to-back. There was little to no recovery coming from hard 70-80 mile training weeks to Worlds End, and then really no recovery time head into Laurel Highlands. I really cherished this feat and the support I got from my family and friends. 

What’s next on the race calendar you say? Nothing,  just rest and having fun on the trails!

Andy Styer’s Triple Peak 50k

A little background: this year’s racing schedule was going to be Phunt 50k in January, HAT 50k in March, Coopers Rock 50k in April, and Worlds End 100k in May. With that agenda, lots of training miles and vertical gain would need to be sandwiched in there.

I first bagged Phunt and went to Mexico instead–no complaints there! I ran a 50k at Blue Marsh in February as my replacement run. 

HAT 50k was canceled, so I ran a 50k that day anyway on the Horse-Shoe Trail.

Coopers Rock was postponed, so on April 25th, I put together a route which involved a 3 mountain tour (Mt. Penn, Neversink, and Guldin’s Hill aka Copperhear Hill). Having grown up in St Lawrence, I was up on Neversink and Guldin’s all the time, so these places are like home to me. There are several road connectors, so it’s about 85% trail, 15% road. This course boasts over 5000′ of vertical gain and more turns than can be explained. As I told my friend Kyle Benjamin, who ran the majority with me, the course map is up here in my 47-year-old brain, which is scary in itself.

 So, with Worlds End 100k being postponed, you can guess what I’ll be doing that day anyway  🙂

–Andy Styer

Race Report: Call of the Wilds 50k

by Andy Styer

So, I signed up for this race early on, based on the description only as ” rugged, wild and lots of big climbs”. Everything I wanted to test my training and skill set. I figured this would be a good, end of season run to explore a new place. My “A” race for the year, Laurel Highlands 70.5 miler, was done and in the books. I thought that was the hardest race of the year, but boy was I wrong! I had no idea what I was in store for.

Almost immediately after the run starts ( at 6am, in the dark), you are hit with a short road section and then a gradual climb. Don’t let this runnable section fool you, because after about a mile of easy running, you get smacked with your first climb up the Mid-State Trail. And then down. And then up. And then down. The big climbs never end, and the hard, rocky descents don’t either. And when you aren’t going up or down, you are running off camber on the rocky Mid-State Trail on moss-covered and slippery rocks. Falling and tripping is the normal here, and this course requires all of your body muscles and mental focus.

About halfway through the race, you get a little break as you come down to the village of Ramsey, where you get a short reprieve from the hills with some flat running on the Pine Creek Trail. BUT, only to get greeted with the biggest climb up, up, and up! After that you get to go back down and get another nice 2-3 mile runnable section before you then get the hardest of them all: the Torbert climb. Steep and straight up around mile 26 with mostly dead legs.

The aid stations were great, with enthusiastic volunteers who were cheering you on and making lots of noise! The PA Trail Dogs put on a great event! I was happy with my effort, finishing this in 6:56. From mile 5 to the end I was passing people and no one was passing me – a good feeling to have in the race. This ends my season for the most part, but as many people know, I have been racing this year to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research, having lost my mom to this dreaded and deadly form of cancer 15 months ago. Click on this link to check it out:

Although Laurel Highlands was my “A” race, this was my best and hardest race. So, if you want to know what Eastern States is about, but don’t want to run it, check out its baby brother and sign up for Call of the Wilds!