That webpage re: course conditions is probably updated annually; I don't know how long
you can link to the same information I can currently see. Race officials
included links for all four race distances to describe tentative changes
to the courses, locations of aid stations, cut-off times, etc.
also been providing timely updates on the message board on the site.
It's interesting to read some of the comments on the board by the
participants, like hundred-miler Davy Crockett's "bring on the mud!"
Davy Crockett (gold shirt) runs
toward the Dry Fork aid station 18 miles into the 100-miler.
This entry focuses on the first day of the 100-miler, which began
I'll include photos from the pre-race briefing, the start
of the race, and the Dry Fork and Twin Buttes aid stations. I'll also
have some pictures from today of the finish area at Scott Park and the now-crowded
Foothills CG next door.
ALTERNATE 100-MILE SNOW COURSE FOR 2011
This week race officials put a link on their website to the alternate
course map and elevation profile for the 100-miler at MapMyRun.com.
Again, I don't know how long that link will remain on the site.
You can read about the traditional course at this
link, which is less likely to disappear.
Briefly, it starts several miles out the Tongue River Road, goes mostly
uphill for 48 miles to the Porcupine Ranger Station, turns around, comes
back down the same way with additional mileage on the Tongue River Road, and ends up
52 miles later at Scott Park in Dayton, WY.
Just a little bit of snow left in
a cornice at Dry Fork
Most of those miles are retained in the alternate course this year.
The new course will be 50 miles out and 50 miles back, including two
short out-and-backs to a new location in the middle of the course.
The alternate course will eliminate about eight miles out and eight
at the higher elevations between the Spring Marsh and Porcupine aid
stations; they're buried in snow and can't be accessed by aid
The new course compensates for those sixteen miles by adding about
four miles on the Tongue River Rd. at the start and about twelve miles
total on two out-and-backs to the new Twin Buttes AS from Dry Fork.
The valley between Dry Fork and Kern's Cow Camp
appears to be mostly snow-free now.
It's an easier course than the 2008 snow course that sent the
100-milers up to Riley Point from Kern's Cow Camp twice. It should also
be easier than the traditional course, although there may be even more
mud this time. However, running a hundred miles in these mountains
is never easy, even if the course was paved.
section to Twin Buttes should be an interesting diversion for runners who
have done the traditional course several times.
MapMyRun estimates 11,266 feet of elevation gain in the 100-miler.
The race starts in Dayton at 3,917 feet and tops out at 7,936 feet. I've
read on the race website that two places on the course are higher than
that, however -- Camp Creek Ridge and Horse Creek Ridge, which
runners in all four race distances will cover. Our GPS also says both of those
ridges are over 8,000 feet.
Although it was raining heavily when we went to bed last night and a
couple more inches of rain were predicted to fall in the area, we woke
up to sunshine at the campground this morning. That was good! If
I'd been one of the 100-milers trying to sleep in a tent overnight, I
would have been concerned about the weather.
Today turned out to be a decent day for a long run, however, with
temperatures in the 50s to 70s (depending on the time and elevation), some
clouds, some sun, some wind -- but no more rain. Tomorrow should
be more of the same nice late spring weather.
Runners and crews gather for the pre-race briefing.
Another change in the 100-mile race this year was the start time.
Because of the poor course conditions (extra snow and mud) one hour has
been added to finish the course. The cut-off for all four races remains
9 PM Saturday, so the 100-milers started at 10 AM this morning instead of
That pushed the time for the 100-milers' pre-race briefing at Scott
Park to 8:30 AM.
Then, instead of everyone having to drive four miles out the Tongue
River Road to the traditional start line, the runners and crews walked
just a couple of blocks to the main street in Dayton for the start of
the race. Very efficient! I don't know if the runners liked that but
crews and spectators did.
Jim and I walked over to the park (next to our campground) a little
before 8:30 this morning to find friends and listen to the pre-race
Jim (L) and Anne Watts (R) talk
with Davy Crockett (gold shirt) and his son,
who will crew for Davy during the
As we wished our friends well in the race I wondered aloud if Jim was envious
of them or relieved he was doing "only" the 30K this time. He says
he's glad he isn't in the 100-miler. He is disappointed that his
knee hurts too much to run the 50-miler tomorrow; he
intended it to be a long training run in his build-up to the Bear 100 in
late September. Even the Bighorn 50K is too much for that knee right
Because of flooding in the park the shelter by the river that is
usually used for the briefing is roped off. The finish line, food tent,
etc. will all be several hundred feet "inland." Although it's fun to
finish by the river, there is more room and lots of grass at the new
Michelle Maneval, one of the RDs, and Wendell Robison, runner and
race MC, conducted the briefing in the parking area. They covered the
usual pre-race topics with the addition of tales about some of the
larger challenges they faced this year with re-routing and clearing the
course from the glut of snow, rockslides, flooded creeks, wayward
boulders, downed trees, etc.
I don't think the runners will be too disappointed by the changes
this year. They should be very grateful that the race is even being
conducted, considering all the problems Mother Nature threw at the race
This young lady appeared to be
cool and collected prior to the race. I love the irony of the flimsy
sandals and the toes taped for a
tough 100-miler! (I'm sure she wore running shoes
during the race.)
Runners had about half an hour after the briefing to gather their
gear and walk over to the starting line. Jim and I went back to the
camper for a few minutes, then picked a spot out on the main street to
watch the start.
Runners gathered at the intersection of the First Street boulevard and US 14
between the Foothills CG and the Crazy Woman Saloon (this is the Wild
West, remember??). There is a handsome bronze elk statue
Unfortunately, photographers had to face the sun to take
pictures of all the runners lined up, so I took this shot from the side:
Before the gun went off I walked about a block away to the far
end of the foot bridge the runners used to cross the Tongue River.
I perched on the railing and had a great view of all the runners
as they came by. Jim stood with Anne Watts at the other end of the
bridge to cheer on the runners.
Go get 'em, Matt! (arrow)
There they go, heading out the Tongue River
Road on a beautiful day for a romp in the mountains.
That was fun! I enjoyed seeing everyone clearly and giving the
runners words of encouragement while I snapped the camera
I got pictures of most of the runners but haven't included them
all here. If anyone wants a large copy of a photo from the
bridge, send me your bib # and I'll hunt for it in the
collection I took.
NEW FINISH AREA AT THE PARK
This morning volunteers and staff began working on the modified
finish area in Scott Park.
Normally runners follow the path (below) next to the fence line
separating the park from Foothills Campground all the way to the
river, turn right, and finish a couple hundred yards later near
a shelter close to the river. The shelter is surrounded by pools
of flood water now, however, so the finish line has been moved
Posts and ropes will keep spectators away from
the new finish line (that yellow banner).
In normal years runners keep going to the
river (behind the bandstand) and
follow the path by the river to the shelter
on the far right.
Tomorrow runners and crews can spread out over this large grassy
area while they swap trail stories and eat their post-race BBQ.
Later today a large food tent was erected near the parking area.
Tomorrow afternoon awards
will be given out to the 30K and 50K runners from the bandstand.
The 50- and 100-milers receive their awards on Sunday morning in
We killed at least an hour with Anne Watts at our camper before heading
up to Dry Fork to see Matt and the other runners. Jim took this series of
pictures of Anne playing "Rope" with Cody before we left:
Marshall and Leah, the Foothill CG owners,
gave us this thick rope several years
ago after their dog died. Cody (and Tater,
before she died) loves playing with it.
Cody's stronger than he looks but Anne held
Anne and I are amused by something Jim
said. Cody's still focused on that rope.
Continued on next page: scenes from the Dry Fork Aid Station
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil