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Continued from the previous page . . .


This is where runners in all four distances really start to "smell the barn."

Unfortunately, many of us have used up most of our reserves and aren't able to pick up the pace. That's as true for the 30K runners as the 100-milers. It's also the hottest part of the course for runners who are on the road during the afternoon. There is little shade the last three miles and we're down at near 4,000 feet now.

I could tell that my legs would cramp again if I did any running on the road the last five miles -- I was getting more dehydrated then -- so I just walked as fast as I could to the finish. By then my hips and knees were more sore, too.

One female 30K runner/walker passed me in this section. I believe she was the only person in my race to pass me in the last eight miles.

Above and below: narrow dirt road through the canyon
for about two miles next to the Tongue River


Another 2+ miles of wider, smoother road through ranchland

One of several signs along the road to humor the runners

Homestretch AS a couple miles from the finish

The last half mile in town is paved.

I didn't even try to run when I got to the pavement in Dayton or inside Scott Park:

This tower in Scott Park is always a welcome sight!

So is the finish line, regardless of what distance we've just run/walked

Often runners' family members run the last few hundred feet with them.

I crossed the finish line in 5:15 hours at 3:45 PM, which was at least 15 minutes faster than I expected. That's because of the little bit of running I did and not wasting any time at aid stations.

I was happy to receive a handsome black fleece vest (shown in an earlier entry and farther below). There were enough women's vests left in my size so I got one with the pretty purple embroidered logo. The men's vests have an orange logo.

I wandered around the large grassy area in the park looking for Jim and taking pictures of the crowd. There usually aren't this many folks hanging around when we've finished one of the ultras later in the afternoon or evening.

I didn't see Jim so I walked next door to the campground. I found him in the camper, which is about 400 feet from the finish line -- very handy!

He had already taken a shower and was nursing a very sore knee. He finished in 4:26 hours.


After I got cleaned up we returned to the park for our picnic dinner, which was free to runners and $10 for guests.

Jim got a hot dog and hamburger, baked beans, pasta salad, and chips. I enjoyed a veggie burger, chips, rice salad, and pasta salad. Soft drinks and other beverages were available. The only dessert I saw was watermelon, which tasted good at that point since I didn't have any at the aid stations.

We relaxed about in the park for the rest of the afternoon and evening with Anne and Matt Watts, Susan Gardner, Dennis Aslett, and other friends while we ate, socialized, and cheered for runners in all four races as they approached the finish line.

Awards for the 30K and 50K overall and age-group winners were announced from the bandstand stage during the afternoon but we missed those. I believe recipients got large embossed rocks again like Jim won last year.

Jim was happy to sit most of the time because his knee was so sore. I chose to walk around more so my muscles didn't get stiff. I wandered over to the results board several times, tried to find the jacket Jim left on the bus at the start (finally got it on Sunday at the awards brunch), and talked with other friends I saw.

I really liked the alternate finish area away from the river this year. There wasn't as much shade as the usual spot but this space is much larger and has lots of soft grass. There were enough clouds that we didn't fry in the sun. I thought it was a great set up.

After we ate I went back to the camper to get Cody. Lots of people had dogs with them in the park. He sure liked hanging out with us after being alone in the camper for about 7 hours.

Jim walked around enough to avoid getting too stiff. He iced his knee in the camper a couple of times. That's the only pain he has. I don't have any specific sore spots to ice; I'm just plain tired.

It's weird because we feel like we just ran/walked 50 miles or more, and it was only 18!  < frown >


We think the new chip timing used in the race this year is a great idea but the system had its limitations, primarily because the only timing mats were located at Dry Fork and the finish.

That certainly helped with the finish results but we were a little disappointed that we couldn't follow the progress of friends in the 100-miler on the internet. The only real time splits were at approximately 26 and 76 miles. Volunteers wrote down times at the aid stations and the finish as they usually do but no one could see that during the race and those splits aren't available post-race in the website results.  Splits weren't recorded publicly for the 50K or 50-mile race, just finish times as usual.

Keep in mind, however, that this is the first time the Bighorn event has used timing chips, let alone offered any live results during the race.

Chip timing is still rather new in remote mountain trail races. I think it took a lot of spunk on the part of the race directors to experiment not just with recording the 100-milers out on the course, but also including all 950 runners in four races at the finish!

This was a Big New Thing for them and it's not like they had no other challenges this year . . .

Jim and I both experienced little glitches with the immediate finish results but our final results posted to the website are accurate.

Runners were advised to wear their bib numbers with embedded chips on their chest. Even though mine was pinned there (instead of my waist, where I usually wear the number) it apparently didn't record at the finish. I was a bit concerned because my name wasn't on the list spit out by the computer and posted on the board in the park but Cheryl advised me the timers hand-recorded everyone at the finish and my time would be correct on the website. It is.

Ages were also incorrect for some of the runners. Jim's initial readout said age 61, a year too young, probably because he had a birthday after registering at the beginning of the year and the computer didn't compensate for that. That wouldn't have affected him if he'd won an age-group award, but it did apparently cause some confusion during the awards ceremonies. All that was corrected.

I don't mean to be critical. Stuff happens, and the Bighorn team had many, many challenges to address this year.

I think they did an outstanding job overall. We know from many years of participating in this event as runners and volunteers that the timing and any other problems that occurred will be addressed and corrected next time. This is a high-quality event and even with some glitches, it outshines many other ultra races around the country.

Jim officially finished the 30K in 4:26 hours, fifth of nine men in the 60-69 age group. He was 102nd of 129 men in that race and 215th overall out of 308 male and female finishers.

Jim's handsome fleece finisher's vest; mine has a purple logo.

I was fourth of ten women in the 60-69 age group with my 5:15 hour time. That placed me 148th of 179 females and 262nd of 308 total runners/walkers in the 30K.

I don't know how many 30K runners/walkers began the race, but I'd guess almost all of them finished since we had eleven hours to go only 17+ miles.

The awards ceremonies for the 30K and 50K overall and age-group runners were held at the park on Saturday. Awards were given to the 50- and 100-milers on Sunday morning in Sheridan. I'll have a separate entry for the Sunday brunch/awards ceremony.

You can find results here for all four races. There are separate lists for overall finishers, participants by age-group, all females, and all males.

Next entry:  you can take the runner out of the race but you can't always take the "race" out of the (former) runner

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil