The tastiest ultra- marathon in the country—The HUFF 50K is well known for its post-race food.
And, the art of preparing gallons of homemade soup, soup enough for 1000 people or more, is not an easy task by any means. Just the calculations alone is mind-boggling… teaspoonful of this, becomes a cup of that. But no worries, everything is in good hands because the Master Chef behind the soup-making is a CPA—working with numbers everyday! Dawn Wilson, wife of race director Mitch Harper, carries on this race tradition started by Linda Keuneke with her famous chicken noodle soup.
Days before the race, volunteers and friends assist Dawn with shopping for and gathering items such as roasters, spatulas, spoons, knives, bowls, pots and pans, along with ingredients to make soups like, chicken noodle, hot spicy corn chowder, gluten-free vegan tomato, French onion, and several varieties of chili.
The cooking this year was done at the Ash Centre which provided a commercial kitchen atmosphere with 2 stoves/ovens, room for 4-6 roasters, a large prep area and a walk-in refrigerator for storage.
Prepping and cooking began on Tuesday, December 16th.
As I walked into the kitchen area of the Ash Centre, Dawn and her friend Linda Wight Harmon were stirring away at the steaming pots on the stove. I heard Dawn say, “Sherry up and ready for the beef.” Linda remarked, “It takes over 26 pounds of Spanish onions for this soup.” They were preparing the first soup concentrate of the evening, French onion. Ten gallons of French Onion soup!
On Friday, the gallons and gallons of soup concentrate will be hauled to the Chain O’ Lakes race location. Water will be added and the soups will be heated to the perfect temperature for a chilly fall day.
It is what you eat before, during and after a race that adds “kick” to your stride. An experienced ultra runner will tell you it is of utmost importance to top off your energy stores and keep your blood sugar stable on long, endurance runs like this one. And, eating 30 minutes after a race helps muscle recovery.
Race day for the 17th Annual HUFF 50K is Saturday, December 20 at Chain O’ Lakes, Albion, Indiana. It is a trail run through the State Park consisting of roughly 31 miles. This race will give over 700 runners a “taste” of maybe going even farther and training for a 50- or -100 miler. Participants can also chose to run a 3-person 50K relay and a One-Loop Run (10+ miles). The course is hilly. Lots of hills. Some little, some big and challenging, everything a trail runner desires. Runners measure themselves against time, distance and of course, weather. The weather on this race day is predicted to be a high of 34 degrees, perfect for post-race soups and chili.
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