While we were in Lake Placid last weekend, Shaun got some fantastic footage of the Ironman Lake Placid Run Course (below). Lake Placid is one of my favorite run courses of all time. It is a double loop course that can be broken into four parts — Downhill, Rolling, Uphill and Lake Placid Club Drive — that you repeat twice.
The first two miles of the course are downhill. The downhill begins gently as you run out of transition at the skating oval towards the intersection of Main Street and Sentinel Road. It is super easy to go out way too fast. In 2011 I was running about a 7 minute mile over this section. If Pat Wheeler hadn’t started screaming at me, I would have probably continued at this pace for another mile or two and then completely broke down. As much fun as it is to fly down the hills, if you don’t exercise control here, it will come back to haunt you. You then take a right onto Sentinel Road (also known in my mind as Rich Clark Hill) and the downhill gets steep, very steep. As you run down remember that you will also need to run back up — twice. You continue running downhill past the horse show grounds and down ski jump hill until you take a left onto River Road.
I consider the four mile out and back on River Road to be flat. I have been informed by others who live in less hilly places than Western Connecticut that it is rolling. However you classify it, it is really nice running. Essentially for miles 2 through almost 10 of the loop you have gently rolling, well paved road and in the afternoon a fair bit of shade. After you hit the turn around the ski jumps will begin to come into view and they make for a good focus point on the back portion of the out and back.
Just before mile 10 you will take a right back onto Cascade/Sentinel Road and will begin the climb back up to the skating oval. You’ll immediately encounter ski jump hill, which is the steeper of the two hills. As long as you keep running (no matter how slow) its likely you’ll be able to pass several people as most people inevitably walk up this hill. The course flattens out a bit at the horse show grounds but then turns up steeply again as you climb Sentinel Road towards Main Street. Until you reach the skating oval, you are pretty much climbing for 2 miles.
Lake Placid Club Drive
As you reach the skating oval, you will be directed to take a right for a quick out and back on Lake Placid Club Drive. This portion of the run is actually flat, but its rather cruel to have you run by the skating oval and finish line. This is an incredibly fun portion of the run course as Lake Placid Club Drive is lined with tents and spectators. After the quick out and back of about 1.5 miles you simply repeat the course.