Wausau Pilot & Review

WAUSAU –The IRONBULL Ultra Trail grew bigger than ever before with the addition of the 25K and kids fun run events to the 50K and 15K distances.  The trail run started in 2019 designed to challenge racers, with this year’s event having more than 350 participants featuring a suspenseful finish on the track for the inaugural 25K, decided by only a second.

Racers traveled from eight states to participate in the event.

Racers “Found Their Tough” through a mix of private trails exclusive to the event and trails at Rib Mountain State Park. Photo credit: Coates Photography

“Hands down toughest 50k in the Midwest,” said Rachel Monaco, a veteran of 17 ultramarathons.  

Monaco returned to win the 50K race after a runner-up finish last year. But it wasn’t just the result that mattered for many racers including Monaco. Monaco grew up within earshot of the course with this year’s race serving as a way for her to remember her husband, Corey, who died within months of receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.  Monaco celebrated Corey’s memorial service earlier in the week and could hear his voice carrying her to the finish line.

In the inaugural Kocourek Kids Run, kids sped around State Park Speedway race track. Children in a range of ages shot off the start line with many circling the lap nonstop for more than twenty minutes.  

“The kids’ endurance and perseverance was absolutely amazing,” said Andrea Larson, IRONBULL executive director.  One family of three kids, ages 4 through 8, totaled 24 laps (6 miles).

“Kocourek Kids Foundation is incredibly proud of all the kids that came out and ‘Found Their Tough’ for the kids run,” said Alicia Schroedel, Marketing Manager at Kocourek Automotive, and mother of two kids run participants. “We’re looking forward to getting the kids out on October 15 for the Red Granite Grinder 12 mile recreational ride.”

“I loved that the Kocourek Kids Run was a high quality, authentic IRONBULL experience,” said Melissa Peterson, mother of kids ages 6 and 8. “It was not only inspiring to the kids who ran, but also to families not previously familiar with IRONBULL.”

Youth was a recurring theme as the fastest 50K runner was the youngest racer, at only 19. From the youngest to the oldest racers, every runner was challenged on the course.  Heide Maxwell, age 66, participated in her first ever race. Although she had trained with a friend at Rib Mountain State Park, several miles of private properties exclusive to the event were rugged. At mile four, she contemplated giving up, but she thought about her training partner and another friend that was competing for the first time.

“I could not let them or time I spent training go down the toilet,” said Maxwell. “I hoisted my big girl underpants up and said, ‘I am going to do this and finish.’ I saw and heard all the folks who cheered, what a grand feeling. I ‘Found My Tough!’”

Pictures and results are available at:  https://www.ironbull.org/ultra-results-2022

The Ultra Trail course featured a new bouldering section for 25K and 50K racers. Photo credit: Coates Photography

IRONBULL’s next event is the Red Granite Grinder which will be held October 15, 2022.  The event offers a free 12 mile option free to kids under 18, as well as 50, 85, and 144 mile routes starting and ending on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau.  All are invited to spectate and join the fun with a live concert and Red Eye Beer release on the 400 Block on Friday October 14, 2022 starting at 4 pm, and race festivities all day Saturday October 15.  More information at:  https://www.ironbull.org/red-granite-grinder-details