Pony Express Trail 50 and 100 Mile Endurance Run
Friday October 21, 2016, 5:00-8:00 a.m. staggered start times.
For 2016, the 50-mile race will be the Utah USATF championships for 50 miles. You do not need to be a member of USATF to be eligible for awards, everyone is eligible.
Here’s your chance to run in the wild west on the historic Pony Express Trail in western Utah. This is a 100 mile and 50 mile run. The course is VERY remote and a support crew is required to provide support along the way. The course is 100% dirt road and only has about 3,000 feet elevation gain/loss. Among all the 100-mile races held in 2010, this race had the highest age finishing average, so this race is elderly friendly for those of us getting on in years who want to finish another 100-miler before the grim reaper arrives. There were lots of Personal Records in 2013. 100-milers, 18 finishers: 15 PRs (including 9 first-timers) 50-milers, 33 finishers: 28 PRs (including 20 first-timers) This is a fast course.
The course for both races will start at Lookout Campground west of Faust, UT. The 100-mile race will go out 58.2 miles to Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge and then head back, finishing at Simpson Springs (16 miles west of the start).
The 50-mile course heads the same direction but finishes at Blackrock Pony Express station site.
The course is remote, but the roads are good if you don’t drive too fast. Crews are required! You must have a crew or share a crew with another runner. (For the 2016 100-mile race we will have a no-crew option for a very limited number of experienced 100-mile runners. They must be pre-approved by the race director before registering. See below for details). Usage of a map will be required, but the course is easy to follow. In general it is: “head west.” There are signs that point the way for the Pony Express Trail at major intersections. Pacers are allowed to join in at any point. Bicycles may ride along.
For the 50-mile race. A crew is still required. The 50-mile race also starts Friday morning.
Registration is open for 2015. Register with ultrasignup.com
To reduce the congestion of crew cars, we will have a staggered start. The start times are assigned by the race director and posted on the entrants list. You are not able to choose you start time, they are assigned. Slower runners earlier and faster runners later. The start times are a hour apart starting at 5:00 a.m. with the last group at 8:00 a.m. One benefit of an earlier start is a greater likelihood of seeing wildlife in the early morning and watching a spectacular sunrise from the desert floor. There will be a 30-hour cutoff for 100-mile finishers. 30 hours from your start time. (The 100-mile course is probably about six hours easier than Wasatch 100. The 50 is about 2-3 hours easier than Squaw Peak 50).
2015 Runner and Crew Handbook
Download here Everything you need to know.
Pacers are allowed at any point. Share the experience with your friends and family.
This year the race will start on the day before the Utah deer hunt. This means we will share the dirt road with speeding trucks heading west hauling ATV trailers for the first 35 miles. They don’t slow down for runners. There are usually less than 20 that go by, but you must use caution. Some reflective gear is required for early starters and 100-milers overnight. Be careful using headphones for the first 16 miles. Crews stop on the right side of the road. Runners try to keep to the left.
What really makes this race different from others, is the ability to involve crews. Your family and friends can watch you and help you for the entire race. They are welcome to drive along and give aid along the way.
Crews, please make sure you have a good jack, wrench, and spare tire. There are no gas stations directly along the course, so start with a full take before you leave civilization. There are gas stations at these points. Cedar Fort (30 miles before the start), Vernon (10 miles southeast of start). You can drive the course with a regular car taking care in a few spots with pot holes. Using a high clearance vehicle will be easier to get around. Please also take it easy driving between Government Creek and Simpson Springs. The crushed rock road can have small sharp rocks on it. I’ve gotten two flat tires along that stretch. Be mindful of kicking up dust with your vehicle around the runners. Be especially cautious and watchful for runners on the steep, narrow climb to Dugway Pass. Do not crew your runner on the steep road up to the pass. Crew your runner at the top of the pass where there is plenty of room.
Water: Bring plenty for you and your runner. Water is only available at mile 16.4 (Simpson Springs).
Sharing crews with another runner is possible, however we have strict safety rules. Runners sharing crews must stay together or within four miles of each other. If that distance is exceeded, or if the crew driver is driving back and forth on the road to provide support to the seperated runners, the runner in front will be disqualified from the race. Also, any runner who switches crews “on the fly” during the race without approval of the race staff will be disqualified from the race.
For the 2016 100-mile race a very limited number of experienced 100-mile runners will be allowed to run without a crew and provide drop bags. They must have long experience doing self-supported runs that involve stretches of more than 15 miles without water refills in desert conditions. Before registering, these runners must be pre-approved by the race director at email@example.com. On the course drop bags and water will be available at each check point for refills. Drop bags must be brought to the start on Thursday afternoon/evening. Drop bags might not be returned to the finish until 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. No begging food or water from other crews unless in dire need. In the case of DNF, runner may ask a crew for a ride to the next check point, but they may have to wait for many hours to return to the start. Experience is manditory and DNFs for these runners should be unlikely. At the finish, if the runner’s car was not brought to the finish by someone, they may hitch a ride from a crew or race staff back to the start.
Cell coverage is spotty. There are good signals at the start for some reason. Some signals near Simpson Springs and Fish Springs. We will have Satellite phones for rent and checkpoints have ham radios and internet connections. There is a pay phone at Fish Springs.
You must check in with the timer at: Simpson Springs, Dugway Topaz Well, Blackrock, and Fish Springs. There are cut-offs for the checkpoints but they are very generous. 50-milers must finish by 12:30 a.m. regardless of start time (that is 19.5 hours for a 5:00 a.m. start). 100-milers must reach Fish Springs turnaround by 10:00 p.m. and return to Blackrock by 12:30 p.m. regardless of start time. 100-mile runners must return to Dugway Topaz Well by 6:00 a.m. The cutoff for an official 100-mile finish is 30 hours from your start time.
We will have an aid station at the 50-mile finish with hot food to help 50-milers recover. 100-milers can use it as an aid station to and from Fish Springs. Crews are welcome to partake, we should have enough food for everyone. There are bathrooms (no running water) at Simpson Spring and Fish Springs. We will have porta-potties at the start and at Blackrock. All crews should use wag-bags provided and consider getting a Luggable Loo (bucket toilet).
Finisher awards include belt buckles for 100-mile finishers and medallions for the 50-mile finishers.
100-mile entrants are not eligible to recieve medallions if they go 50-miles, nor will they be listed as 50-mile finishers. They need to complete the entire 100-mile course to receive their finish time or prize.
Why the Friday Start?
This race is scheduled on a day when the kids in Utah don’t have school. This makes it much more practical for families to participate in the crewing experience which is a major feature of this race. Wasatch 100 and Bear 100 also have Friday starts, making it easier in Utah to attract volunteers and runners who make Sundays a day of rest.
The closest lodging to the start is either in Tooele or Lehi, Utah, 50-60 miles from the start. For those coming from the South, Delta or Nephi would be an option. You can camp near the start, no fee or reservation needed. This is BLM land.
Weather is typically ideal for running. Highs in the 60s, lows in the 30s. We have yet to have any rain or snow during this event. Every year we have had clear skies at night. However, each year there was bad weather within a few days of the race.
Contact the race director, Davy Crockett at firstname.lastname@example.org