Why run a 50k in July when it's 100% humidity? That's a good question. But at least you're practically re-hydrating just by breathing, right? We got off and running from Lincoln about 6:45am, which only put us 45 minutes behind right from the start. We found the trail to be in great condition, nice and wide, and a lovely crushed gravel surface. And it's as easy as can be to navigate: just follow the trail. There was a sign at one point off to the side about a closed bridge, but when we got there the new bridge was all finished. There was a lot of great shade, though a few looong stretches directly in the blazing sun where the trees seemed like they were close yet never coming but stayed far away for what felt like miles, but was probably only a mile or so. Wildlife encounters included lots of adorable tiny toads (hopefully none of which we smushed), a turkey who was running from us at a good clip that finally flew away in what must have been a sense of defeat, some cows that we mostly heard but didn't see, a dog that sounded like it was coming closer and closer to us but never made contact, and a gang of flies who wouldn't leave us alone. People encounters: we saw a dozen or so bikers and dog walkers, mostly closer to Lincoln, with more alone time as we headed south.
Our crew, which consisted of Darci's mom, was a trooper and met us at a handful of roads along the way. We definitely fell into the "aid station trap" and hung out waay too long each time. But also, it was glorious to come to ice and cold water, and for that we are so grateful. Pro tip: make sure the roads you tell your crew to stop at actually cross the trail and aren't overhead. Oops. Props to Ruth for figuring out the next place to meet us. Also worth noting: Cortland has quick access to 2 gas stations, though you do have to cross the highway. The one on the south side had nice bathrooms and plenty of water and snacks. An oasis for sure. If you run the route self-supported, this may be your only pit stop option. The trail itself has no amenities, so don't expect shelters, bathrooms, or the like. There were a few benches along the way, but not many.
A shout-out to Darci's family who met us at the end to cheer us on, shower us with praise, and set up lawn chairs for a few minutes of rest before packing into the car to head for home. Of course a stop at Casey's was in order (is it really a Midwestern town if it doesn't have a Casey's?) for celebratory snacks. All in a day's work.