WAUSAU – Although only a small percentage of runners have completed an ultra marathon, Ironbull’s inaugural event in the Wausau area, the Ironbull Ultra Trail, will offer something for everyone.

Spectators have a multitude of race day activities to choose from on Oct. 5, including Wausau Events’ Harvest Fest on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau. It includes everything from pumpkins to crafts to horse-drawn wagon rides.

In addition, the YMCA will give access to the Y to racers, their families and event volunteers. Racers can shower at the YMCA then head back to the 400 Block to enjoy camaraderie at the finish line festival. The families of racers can use the YMCA for free on the day of the event, too. The finish line festival will offer food, drinks and live music by the Allen Brothers Band.

The race course will feature rock scrambles, forested trails and breathtaking views. But these views featuring fall colors aren’t just for the racers, spectators also can enjoy them. Granite Peak will offer discounted chair lift rides on the day of the event for spectators.

Although the 50K race will be challenging and draw top ultra marathoners, several locals who never imagined racing this distance, were enticed when they realized the race would be held in their backyards.

John Lauer is a firefighter/paramedic for South Area Fire District and started running eight years ago when his wife talked him into running a mile with her. He never planned on going beyond 10K. In fact, just earlier this year, Lauer laughed when a friend suggested he try an ultra. But with the Ironbull Ultra Trail 50K in Wausau, he is more excited than ever to push his limits.

“I don’t even care if I’m dead last … I will finish this race and that is my goal,” Lauer said in a news release. “To have this specific goal and to focus on it in this way is the most gratifying thing I have done in a long time.”

Lauer isn’t the only one competing in his first ultra.

Rob Hoehn has a “Why not?” attitude, racing in both his first ultra and trail race. His story is one that most people can relate to; he started running to lose weight. As he worked his way up over the years to longer distances, he also met many great people along the way.

Hoehn is excited for toeing the start line.

“I’m a huge fan of this race coming to my hometown, and I feel it is fitting to end the season conquering our little mountain,” Hoehn said. “Another challenge to overcome, another hill to climb if you will.”

While even the toughest athletes will be challenged at the Ironbull Ultra Trail, the event is meant to allow racers of all ability limits to overcome a challenge. Additionally, spectators of all ages are encouraged, with a multitude of activities to take part in.

More details are here: ironbull.org/ultra-marathon-details.

Photo courtesy Ironbull. Rib Mountain State Park offers challenging terrain that will allow racers to experience racing differently than the road.