First...THANK YOU ANDY AND KIM HOLAK! Awesome race, incredible volunteers.
If you don't already know, Wild Duluth was my first Ultra. Months ago before I registered Andy Holak assured me that WD 50K "would be a good challenge for the beginner". I had no idea. I know that running any 50K trail race is never easy the first time. I now know for a fact that the WD is in fact a "good challenge". The only thing that doesn't hurt today is my ears. But I wanted a larger scale (besides the WD 50K results) to evaluate the actual Wild Duluth course difficulty. I needed a comparison. What did I accomplish? Was it really "THAT hard"? Compared to what? I did my best to answer those questions myself.
I counted all of the 50Ks posted in Ultrarunner Magazine's July '09 through October '09 issues (the only issues I have so far). It's a rough measurement, but it covers roughly two-thirds of the Ultrarunners Magazine race calender year, so I think it's a reasonable sample size. I counted 89 50Ks.
According to Ultrarunner's scale of difficulty (1-5, 5 being most difficult) for Terrain and Surface, for all 50Ks held between July 10th 2009 to March 27th 2010, Wild Dulth 50K scores a 4 in both categories. Of the 89 50Ks, including WD, only 8 50Ks (less than 9%) were rated this difficult. Of this 89 only 5 (less than 6%) were rated more difficult. Coast to coast.
I wish I had ALL of the Ultrarunner Magazines race calender data, but I'm new to the magazine. April-July are likely the busiest months for Ultra trail racing in the U.S. But, it gave me the perspective I wanted. And I'm confident saying this: The Holak's put together a kick ass race. WD is a race that any finisher- first or last place- can be very proud of.