Run Woodstock Hippie Half Race Report

The Green Girl and Angel Runners Dawn and Jason after the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
The Green Girl ran the Hippie Half and Flippin' 5k at Run Woodstock this past weekend.

Run Woodstock is a hippie-themed weekend of peace, love, music, tie-dye, camping, and run­ning at Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney, MI.

In addition to 5k/10k, 5 mile, full/half marathon, 50k/50 mile, and 100k/100 mile races, there were also optional activities such as hiking, hula hooping, tie dying, yoga, and even 'natural' (sans clothing) runs.

F.A.S.T. Island Angel Runners at Run Woodstock
I joined Angel Runners Boyana, Dawn, Jason, Krishna, and Timothy at this event to raise awareness and money for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST). Dawn and Jason's daughters, Bella and Kaylee, also joined us.

FAST provides grants and fellowship programs to encourage research aimed at finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome. The organization also provides education and advocacy services.

In honor of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, the Angel Runners coined the term 'F.A.S.T. Island' in reference to our campgrounds.

Angel Runners F.A.S.T. Island at Run Woodstock
The Angel Runners started arriving at Hell Creek Ranch Friday afternoon. We pitched our tents and assembled F.A.S.T. Island for the weekend.

Shortly after I pitched my tent and set up my sleeping quarters, an air raid siren sounded. I quickly learned this was a tornado warning after I shocked everyone by explaining earthquakes 'just happen' in California - there is no advance warning.

A fallen tent at Hell Creek Ranch
Before I had a chance to panic at the possibility of a tornado, violent gusts of wind started ripping through the campground. Unweighted tents were violently ripped out of the ground and thrown up into the air - including the giant tent to the left of me.

I was still standing there in shock when a local fellow running blogger, Clark from Traveller's Running Log, arrived. After we determined F.A.S.T. Island was unharmed, he helped us reinforce the camp to guard against future wind storms.

The Green Girl and Clark from Traveller's Running Log in front of the still standing F.A.S.T. Island
The remainder of the day was uneventful but the Friday night Far Out 5k was cancelled due to the storm warnings.

It rained consistently through the night so we were prepared for mud when we headed out to the trails in the morning.

Boyana and Timothy's Freak 50k started at 6:00 am. Krishna's Mellow Full Marathon started at 7:30 am along with the Hippie Half Marathon which Dawn, Jason, and I were registered for.

Dawn and the Green Girl running at the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
Dawn, Jason, and I were pleasantly surprised by how much the earth had dried up by the time we headed out on a well-groomed, gravel covered dirt road.

The morning was pleasant but humid. The heavy foliage from the trees shaded us from the sun and helped keep us cool.

The Green Girl saw a deer stand for hunting for the first time
I saw a deer stand for hunting for the first time when Jason pointed one out on the course.

I also learned a new euphemism for poop - road apples. Except I kept getting confused and saying 'mud apples'.

The course was well marked with colored flags and directional signage.

Run Woodstock Aide Station Volunteer
The three of us were disappointed to discover the aide stations for the half marathon course only provided water and a lemon-lime sports drink.

Expecting more course support, the only nutrition I brought with me were EnergyBits spirulina algae supplements and a Smucker's Uncrustables from Boyana.

Halfway through the run, I decided to chew on my EnergyBits despite the instructions to swallow them whole. The taste reminded me of Japanese nori (seaweed) crackers. I quickly regretted this decision because I ended up with green residue on my lips which I managed to smear everywhere - especially my hydration bite piece.

Smucker's Uncrustable
I was absolutely amazed by the Uncrustable.

It was the solution to my quest for a sturdier portable peanut butter and jelly sandwich for long runs. The little crustless dumpling shaped pods come frozen in individually wrapped packages with just enough air to cushion the Uncrustable.

Muddy portion of the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
Once we left the main road, the course took us into the woods where we encountered the occasional mud pit. We would carefully squish along the edges and brace ourselves with each inevitable slip.

Presumably from the previous evening's windstorm, there were a number of what appeared to be freshly fallen trees on the trail.

Some sections had so many downed trees that we felt like mini hurdlers.

Angel Runners Dawn and Jason navigating the fallen trees at the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
There were a few rolling hills but the course wasn't highly technical.

The Hippie Half course crossed paths with the longer distance races so we had the opportunity to cheer on some of the Hallucination 100ers. (Unfortunately, we could not say the same for their aide stations.)

Dawn met an energetic 82 year old runner named Bob out on the course. We chatted with him briefly and then discussed how we hoped we would be in similar physical shape at that age.

Dawn and the Green Girl running in the woods at the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
My favorite portion of the course was the section through the tall trees. The dense forest shaded us from the hot sun.

Although my stomach growled and cramped with hunger, I was pleased to see the combination of the EnergyBits and the Uncrustable carried me to the finish.

After Dawn, Jason, and I completed our Hippie Half, we returned to F.A.S.T. Island and waited for Krishna to finish the Mellow Full.

Run Woodstock Mellow Full Age Grouper Krishna
We were thrilled to see Krishna received a mini Volkswagen Camper Van for placing third in his age group.

We cheered Boyana and Timothy upon their completion of the Freak 50k.

In the evening, Boyana and I headed out with our headlamps for the non-'natural' (fully clothed) Flippin' 5k.

Runners for both Flippin' 5k versions started out fully clothed (this was a family-friendly event, after all) but at some point out on the course, there was a split where the fully clothed runners veered in one direction and the 'natural' runners stripped and completed their race in the nude.

Run Woodstock Freak 50k finishers Boyana and Timothy
Boyana and I were running happily when an oncoming naked guy ran past us. Even though we were aware of the 'natural' run option on the other course, it still startled us to see a lost rogue 'natural' runner.

After completing my first ultramarathon at last year's Freak 50k, I enjoyed racing a shorter distance and having more time to participate in the Run Woodstock weekend activities.

The Green Girl at DTW on her way home from Run Woodstock
Run Woodstock was well-organized and the volunteer 'roadies' were friendly and helpful.

One thing that impressed me was the exceptional porta-potty maintenance. Some campers arrived on Thursday but even on Sunday, the porta-potties were well-stocked and not overflowing.

I want to thank Boyana, Dawn, Jason, Krishna, and Timothy for another unforgettable Run Woodstock weekend full of running, camping, and laughs. I am already looking forward to doing this again next year.


  1. Glad you had a good trip.

    Also glad the island was undamaged by the storms.

    It was good to meet you FTF.

    1. Thank you again for helping to calm me down and secure F.A.S.T. Island. I hope that you can join us in the future!

  2. This looks like so much freaking fun! I'm adding this to my list of races that I want to do. And it's not just a race but an entire weekend experience!

    1. Girl, yes! It's so much fun. And assuming you already have all the camping equipment, it's a lot cheaper than staying in a motel/hotel.


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