Wausau Pilot & Review

The third annual IRONBULL Ultra Trail, Wausau’s ultramarathon, drew runners from eight states including Hawaii this weekend, organizers said.

Racers departed State Park Speedway on private trails connecting to Rib Mountain State Park.  Many first time trail runners participated in the 15k event and many first time ultra runners completed the 50k taking on the challenging terrain. 
Wausau’s unique topography, offered 50k racers 8,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Many Midwesterners were especially challenged scrambling up the ski slopes at Granite Peak. 
Jacob Warnke returned to his hometown from Minnesota to compete in the event, finishing second in the 50k.  

“Every runner was challenged and so well supported,” Warnke said.  “There is nowhere else in the Midwest that you can find a course so challenging and with this type of vert(ical).”  
Racers had no shortage of rocks and roots to navigate over, which were made especially challenging from the overnight rains.  Many racers arrived back to State Park Speedway encrusted in mud with smiles plastered on their faces. One such couple was Treven and Traci Wisz, each competing in their first ever trail run. They raced together, completing the longest distance each has ever run. 
“I’m glad we did one of the training runs by IRONBULL, otherwise I wouldn’t have known what to expect with the terrain,” Treven Wisz said. 
“Find Your Tough!” was the slogan for this year’s event, which featured its most challenging course yet. 
 Not only was Amanda Sahr a first time trail racer, but she was also a first time trail runner. 

“I read lots of helpful information on the IRONBULL website including videos that provided me with helpful tools for race day,” she said.  “Trail running is much different than road racing, but I enjoyed the mental and physical challenge it provided me. The best part was I got to race on trails right here in my hometown!”
Dave Maxwell, first time 50k racer, ran a negative split on the two lap course, winning in under six hours. 

“One of the most challenging and rewarding races I’ve ever participated in,” said Maxwell. “The views weren’t the only thing that took my breath away, maybe it had something to do with the nearly 8000 feet of climbing up Granite Peak. The race trails are perfect for anyone looking to challenge themselves, enjoy the natural beauty of Wausau, and find out how tough they really are.”

Runners Holli Park (right) and Sara Ahles (left) navigated over the rocks and roots on the Red Trail at Rib Mountain State Park. Photo credit: Coates Photography

Rachel Monaco knew what to expect, since she grew up netting tadpoles a half mile from the race start.  She prepared for the race by returning to the Granite Peak slopes for hill repeats and practiced the course’s most technical trail, the Red Trail. 

“I didn’t have a least favorite part of the race course.” Monaco said. “I really loved the third ascent, quarry, and vistas.  The fog in the morning, smells, light filtering through the trees, and fall foliage was magical.”
Pictures and results are available at:  https://results.raceroster.com/en-US/results/sbe9jb33kv7ncm2v

IRONBULL’s next event is the Red Granite Grinder will be held October 16, 2021.  The event offers a free 12 mile option free to kids, as well as 50, 85, and 144 mile routes starting and ending on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau.  More information at:  https://www.ironbull.org/red-granite-grinder-details