Monastery hosts 24-hour ultra trail race on Saturday

Monastery hosts 24-hour ultra trail race on Saturday

Inaugural ‘Survival of the F.I.T.’ event draws 100 runners; TrailFecta series begins next day

CUMBERLAND – These next couple of months are going to be quite busy for the folks at F.I.T. Challenge.

The award-winning obstacle race company is making final preparations to host five events in Cumberland, four trail races at the Monastery and an obstacle course race at Diamond Hill Park, and next weekend, F.I.T. will host back-to-back events at the Monastery that’s sure to draw plenty of attention.

The first is F.I.T.’s first “Survival of the F.I.T.” 24-hour ultra trail race on Saturday, which begins at 8 a.m., sold out two weeks ago, and consists of 100 runners – more than half on relay teams – touring a 4.1-mile loop course in pursuit of ultramarathon running biggest prizes, buckles for completing a 50K (31 miles), a 100K (62 miles), or 100 miles.

“Once we put (the registration link) up, it sold out quick, and that’s awesome,” said F.I.T. Event Director Robb McCoy, who plans to award his entrants with commemorative wooden blocks containing the number of miles they completed. “This is going to be a blast, and the Monastery couldn’t be a better spot to hold it, with all that room.”

McCoy last conducted an event at the Monastery, the F.I.T. ’Rock 5K/5-Mile Trail Race, on Sunday, March 15, right around the time that the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head and sporting events and leagues throughout the country were either getting canceled or postponed.

Enforcing social distancing, as well as creating an open start time that allowed runners to begin their races anytime within a two-hour window, McCoy was able to safely navigate 200 runners on and off the Monastery’s course and registration area, and he plans to pull out the same playbook (and add a few guidelines) for his upcoming events.

“The town was great with everything,” McCoy continued. “We went through the whole plan. They put a COVID committee in town for events, so that was all them, and I just can’t say enough good things about those folks in town.”

What made him come up with the idea for a 24-hour event?

“Peer pressure,” McCoy answered with a laugh. “F.I.T. folks have been asking for it and pushing for it. We’ve done the 12-hour obstacle course races and the TrailFecta series, but some people have been pushing for it. And having 100 people is perfect. I’d rather have a good quality, top-notch event with great people than 300 or 400 people running around – I don’t want to have to handle that.”

“Those are my type of events, the smaller, personalized, more intimate type of events,” he added, “especially for an event where you’re going to be with people for 24 hours. Those events are more fun.”

Once the final runner crosses the finish line sometime around 8 a.m. the next morning, McCoy and his staff won’t have any time to relax. Instead, they will turn the page and welcome runners to the F.I.T. ’Frills 5K and 5-Mile Trail Races, the first event in the company’s popular TrailFecta series that also includes the F.I.T. Turkey Trot Trail Races on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, at 9 a.m., and the “F.I.T. ’Mas” Trail Races on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m.

Runners can start their races anytime between 9 and 10:30 a.m., and those who want to run multi-laps can begin their runs at 8 a.m. Everyone will receive a finisher’s medal, and multi-lappers will earn a commemorative wooden block.

“As a race director, it’s so much easier,” McCoy said of the open start time. “I don’t have to go out there and get everyone ready for the start. And when you do the one start time, it creates a massive rush of people registering that day, which is stressful for everybody.”

On Saturday, Nov. 21, McCoy and his staff will head to Diamond Hill Park and hold the 14th obstacle course race in F.I.T.’s history. The event, which was originally scheduled for April 4 before the pandemic struck, will also offer an open start time that begins at 7 a.m. Nearly 30 obstacles will be featured on the 3.3-mile course.

“All the people that signed up for April’s event have the option to attend that event or defer to next year,” McCoy noted. “We’re still waiting to hear from a number of folks, but right now, about 60 percent of the people that signed up for April are going to show up next month.”

“Obviously, we’re not going to have the vendor area and festival area like we usually do,” he added. “It’s basically going to be, ‘Get your stuff and go.’ We cut out a few obstacles and we added a whole bunch of sanitation stuff, but everything else is mostly the same.”

Visit www.eventbrite.com to sign up and www.fitchallenge.org or F.I.T. Challenge’s Facebook page for more information on any of the events.