About The Octopus Ultra
The Octopus Ultra is a race born out of 2020 and the year of the cancelled races. Like most fine Ultras, the Octopus originated in the RD's garage...the summer of 2020 in South Florida. After running out and back 8 times, for 100 miles (and 33 hours), the first Octopus Ultra was in the books...0 finishers in the 32 hour limit, but 2 finishers overall. The idea behind the Octopus race is to have a centralized location, a base station, with 8 Octo-Arms out and back. The Vero Beach Octopus allows the new Ultra runners to complete their first Ultra distance of 26.3 miles on Octo-Arm one (A1)..a 50k by completing A1 and A2 and a 50 mile Ultra by finishing A1, A2, A3 and A4. Add A5 and you get a 100K. Finishing all 8 Octo-Arms within 32 hours earns you the esteemed and well earned Octopus Buckle. Last year's race featured the southern parts of Vero Beach and St. Lucie. This year, the race will feature the northern beauty of Vero Beach and Sebastian. Enjoy the water, jungles, trails, roads and off the beat and path parks of Vero Beach...but don't expect comfort and joy and vacation...it's July 24th and you are in the Tropics...not to mention the multiple (22) bridge crossings. Be ready to be wowed by the beauty and challenged by the elements and landscaping of the Vero Beach Octopus Ultra.
The Vero Beach Octopus Ultra is Crew Mandatory. I know many of us in the Ultra community are badass tough gritty loners who can run a marathon on a banana and the sweat off of our hats. However, during the inaugural Octopus Ultra, my Co-RD-Tony M. and I attempted this very thing...100 miles unassisted in the Summer in South Florida...MEGA FAIL even though we had all of the gas stations and convenient stores mapped out...we thought...we would be fine...The sun had other ideas...the ice we would buy melted in 30 minutes...our backs scorched in the morning sun...our fluids melted out from our skin at a rate we couldn't sustain...the elements won...we needed help much sooner than the amount of time it took to get to the next gas station...by mile 15, we had contacted outside help and by mile 26, we had a full crew helping us the rest of the race. In addition, the race will only be providing an aid station at the base camp. If you do not have a crew, please reach out to the RD for help in finding a volunteer.
Octo-Arm 1 - "Sunrise" 26.3 Miles. 4 water crossings...lucky for you, you get to climb bridges and not traverse creeks. 3 miles of beach running. Sunrise views on the Atlantic Ocean. A little Oasis around mile 20...Be careful of this Octo-Arm...don't let the excitement and beauty fool you...this section will sneak up on you later in the race if not respected.
Octo-Arm 2 - "Paradise" 5.21 Miles. Paradise is relative! Enjoy a nice little stroll down the river through some of Florida's Mosquito Control Fields. Don't worry, we've asked that the mosquitos behave....end your stroll in a quaint little park on the river and take a break out on the dock on The Bench. It's a short 5 mile trek protected from the wind with trees and jungle on either side of you most of the time...but don't fret, there's no canopy, so you'll get to enjoy the Florida Sun around noon for most people.
Octo-Arm 3 - "The Oven" 15.9 Miles I can't sugar coat this Octo-Arm. If the skies are clear, you will bake on this old Florida packed white stone and sand trail. There are 20 foot high walls of trees and brush on either side and NO CANOPY. You get the bonus at the end of the section before the turn around of doing a 3 mile section through a swamp/lagoon...lucky you, it's all dry trail....but if you've never spent any time in a Florida Swamp in July, you really don't know what you're missing...the smell reminds you of Christmas....and if it rains...I might consider an extra pair of shoes..BUT, if it rains and clears up....You're going to enjoy a Florida Sauna...Be very in touch with your crew along this section....there is only one water access about 7 miles in...
Octo-Arm 4 - "The Boomerang" 2.84 Miles. Enjoy a little out and back to round off your 50 miles down this dirt road...enjoy the canopy of pine trees. What a relief!!!
Octo-Arm 5 - "Howl At The Moon" 12 Miles. 100k participants will enjoy the Full Wolf Moon with a stroll on the beach as they finish up their 100k races. 100 Milers may not be as appreciative of the 3 mile beach run as much as it's just the beginning of their next 50 miles on the Octopus.
Octo-Arm 6 - "The Goblin" 14.66 Miles. Did you ever think your 100 mile quest to conquer The Octopus would take you through a haunted cemetery? Well it does...two loops through the haunted Sebastian cemetery at the turn around of this nearly 15 mile Octo-Arm...You must traverse the cemetery alone...NO PACERS...Oh, after you finish the the cemetery loops (if you make it through them), and as you get back on the river road, look to your left...see that bridge a million miles away across the river.....well, that's where you're heading on your next Octo-Arm....no worries, it's not THAT far.
Octo-Arm 7 - "I'd Rather Be Fishing" 20.2 Miles If you've kept a good pace, you'll enjoy the moonlight, star filled night down A1A and all of it's beauty...if, on the other hand, the sun is up....God help you...Ten miles down A1A, you will run out to the pier in The Sebastian Inlet and touch the pole at the end. Be Very Careful of the wall of fishermen that you will be running through....if they don't burn you with a cigarette, they may accidentally hook you during a cast....best be getting in and out of there.
Octo-Arm 8 - "Mount Octo" 3.4 Miles. Finish up your conquest of The Octopus with yet another two climbs over Mt. Orchid and a little trip to the beach.
This should not be your first 100 mile attempt. The temperatures, terrain and humidity can offer complications a normal 100 mile race does not have. With that being said, if this is your first 100 mile attempt, it is mandatory that you have an experienced crew of 100 mile ultras.