In a nutshell, the Woodstock running festival is an experience. The camping area is completely supportive, full of throwbacks to the 1969 Woodstock Music festival with bands playing tracks from the original festival. For example, the start of each race is preceded by the Jimi Hendrix version of the national anthem. Also, the RD drives a retro VW bus around the campgrounds and leads runners from the start through the campgrounds before they enter the woods.
Like every trail race, the community camping is super supportive of all runners with special nods to 100k and 100 mile participants. You can hear the band from about a mile from the campgrounds, maybe giving a little extra motivation to get through the loop.
The entire weekend is full of races, and if an ultra isn't your thing, then there are multiple 5 milers, 5k's, and a half and full marathon, 50k and 50 miler sprinkled in. For those with an added sense of adventure, you can hop in on a nude 5k night run.
The 100 mile race is six loops of the 16.5 mile course. It is mostly over sandy trail with few roots and rocks to cause a major problem. There are 6 climbs between 50 and 100 feet. While not major ascents, they are steep enough to elicit some walking, especially as the race wears on.
The race starts at 5 p.m. Friday, ensuring your second and third loops are at night, and ends at 10 p.m. Saturday, leaving the potential for more night running at the very end of a long race.
There is an aid station every 4 miles, breaking the 16 mile section into four 4-mile sections. The first 4 miles leaving the campgrounds is relatively downhill and very runnable.
The second 4-mile section starts with a dirt road for about 1.5 miles before entering the woods for what may be the hardest mental section of the race because it is unremarkable, ordinary, common.
The third 4-mile stretch is slightly better, with a small section of doubletrack limestone trail. This section returns to the first aid station using the same 1.5 mile stretch of dirt road.
The last 4-mile section enters the woods following the first 4-mile section of trail for a few hundred yards before turning. This section has the four climbs. The final climb takes runners out of the woods and into the campgrounds where music is playing and campers are cheering.