BUFFALO RUN ADVENTURES |Antelope Island Buffalo Run
Buffalo Run Quick Guide
Big changes are in store for the 2018 Antelope Island Buffalo Run. Last year the state park requested that I cut the number of runners in half due to the impacts the event had on traffic, parking, etc. That meant that a lot of people were unable to run due to those limitations.
I met with the state park after the 2017 event and I proposed that the 25K distance be split off from the 50K, 50 mile, and 100 mile. The park thought that was a great idea and will allow me to have 400 runners for each event. This will result in a bit more work and expense for my team, but will allow for a total of 800 runners for all four distances. This is the same limit that existed two years ago.
Dates and Times
Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K:
- March 10, 2018
Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50K, 50 Mile, 100 Mile:
- March 24, 2018
- March 24, 2018
- March 23, 2018
TRAINING RUN DATES: Nov. 4, Dec. 2, Jan. 6, Feb. 3, March 3. See our FACEBOOK Page for full details.
Registration should be open by October 10.
Go online here to sign up for the 25K, go here to sign up for the 50K, 50 mile, or 100 mile. Electronic registration only. If you think it’s a good idea to run both the 25K and one of the other distances, you can sign up for that on the 25K registration page. You’ll get a whopping 10% off the second distance. One of the few times you’ll get an entry discount from me. Make sure you enter before either the race fills, or the cutoff date. Once past the cutoff date or entry limit, it’ll be hard to persuade me to let you in. You may have to grovel before me. I like groveling, it’s fun to watch. If needed, I will have a wait list for each race..
Entry Fees for 2018
25K – $70.35 ($80.46 after Jan. 31) 50K – $86.51 ($96.74 after Jan. 31) 50 mile – $97.34 ($108.47 after Jan. 31) 100 mile – $193.26 ($204.19 after Jan. 31)
Since the 25K is on a different date than the 50K, 50 mile, and 100 mile, we’ll have special pricing for those that want to run on both days.
25K/50K – $141.17 ($156.86 after Jan. 31)
25K/50 mile – $150.92 ($167.69 after Jan. 31)
25K/100 mile – $237.25 ($263.61 after Jan. 31)
Because the distances are now split into two weekends, the entry limits are back up to what they were.
- 25K – 400 runners
- 50K, 50 mile, 100 mile – 400 runners
Ok, you’ve made the decision to read a bit further about this little event, here’s a description of the various courses. The 25K and 50K are the same, and the 50 mile and 100 mile are the same, for the longer races you just go around the course again.
Go from the start out to the White Rock trailhead. Turn a sharp left at the trailhead at the fence and head uphill. Keep going uphill. After a couple of miles the trail levels off. Stay on this trail and follow it as it goes on the saddle on the east side of the island. The trail turns back west. When you get to the fork with the bench, keep going straight and up the hill to the Elephant Head aid station. Stop there, get drinks, food, drop bag stuff etc. Then head out on the Split Rock loop, going down Death Valley first. Run that loop until you get back to the Elephant Head aid station, do your thing there. Once you leave Elephant Head, you head back towards the east until you get to a sweeping left fork in the trail on the saddle. Go left here and follow the trail along the hillside and around to the front side. Go down the hillside to the White Rock Bay aid station. If you’re doing the 25K, keep going to the finish, if you’re doing the 50K, head back out for another trip. The elevation gain for each trip around is about 2000’.
Please note that the 25K/50K courses run a bit long on the mileage. The 25K course runs about 16 miles and the 50K course runs about 32 miles. I have people complain about that every year. It’s a trail race, we don’t wheel it for accuracy in distance.
50 mile/100 mile
Same trail as the 25K/50K except you will be doing the Elephant Head trail out and back (3.6 miles RT). You have the option of doing it before going out to run the Split Rock loop or as you’re coming back from the Split Rock loop. Either way you gotta do it. To verify that you’ve done it, there will be a plastic container with a roll of stickers in it at the turnaround. Take a sticker and put it on your race bib. If you don’t have a sticker on your number when you finish, then we don’t know if you ran it or not. BTW, while you’re out there, enjoy the views to the west of the island, they are breathtaking. Anyway, go back to the Elephant Head aid station, do your thing there, then run the Split Rock trail if you haven’t done it yet, then finish up the White Rock trail (this is all so confusing!). Once you get back to the trailhead, turn right and follow the dirt road going east along the fence down to Mountain View trail. Say hi to the cool aid station people along the way. Once at the Mountain View Trail, turn left and go one mile to the trailhead then turn around head south to the ranch (11.4 miles). Along the way, say hi to the wonderful aid station folks at the Mountain View aid and the Lower Frary Peak parking lot. When you get to the Ranch, turn around and head back north. Say hi to the folks at Lower Frary again. Once you get to the fence, turn left and head back up the hillside. DO NOT go out to the trailhead. Grab something to eat and drink from the Mountain View aid station. Keep going along the fence. As you top the hill you’ll see a dirt road that veers off to the right. Take this road. Follow it to the paved road that goes to the park office, then continue north about 200 yards to the “T” intersection. Turn left and go up the paved road about 100 yards to a trail that goes off to the right. Follow this trail to the Bridger Bay aid station. Get your eats and drinks and get ready for the final four miles. Follow the campground road for about 200 yards to the Lakeside trailhead (campsite #12) and then follow the trail around the north end of the island and back to the start/finish. There you go, you done finished 50 miles. Now just go out and do it again for the 100 mile. The elevation gain for each trip around this course is about 3800’, so the 50 mile actually has less gain than the 50K. No wonder people say the 50K is tougher.
Course Profile for 25k and 50k
Course Profile for 50m and 100m
Now that you’ve read about the courses, you’re probably wondering when all this fun starts and how long do you get the privilege of running around on Antelope Island. Well, here’s that info.
100 mile – This race will start at noon (that’s 12:00pm) on FRIDAY, March 23rd.
50 mile – This race will start at Oh dark thirty (6:00am) on SATURDAY, March 24th.
50K – This one starts at 8:00am on March 24th
25K – This one will start at 9:00am on March 10th so you get to sleep in AND eat breakfast, plus finish a little early. Added bonus, you don’t have to share the trail with all of the 50K, 50 mile, and 100mile runners.
Yeah, we need to have some cutoff times. We have had people that didn’t finish until 7:30pm. Way too late, so here’s the list: 100 mile – If you can’t finish the first trip around the course by 4am (16 hours), we’re going to pull you. This is a hard cutoff. That’s the first cutoff. Here are the other absolute cutoffs: Ranch – 3:00pm Lower Frary heading north – 4:00pm.
For the 25K, no drop bags. What? Yep, no drop bags. Why do you need a drop bag to run a little 25K? I’ll bet you don’t put out drop bags for your 12 mile training runs. Think about it, you’re only going to be out there for a few hours, you can survive that long and for that far without your favorite little homemade rice bar, homemade gel, or whatever else you think you need to survive.
For the 50K you can have a drop bag at Elephant Head. We’ll haul them out there. For the 50K you can also have a drop bag at White Rock. This is where you turn around and head back out. Do not confuse this with the Start/Finish. You can have a drop bag at the Start/Finish too, but your car is parked pretty close, so why not just leave it in the car. Bring your drop bag to the start, we’ll get them out to the aid station before you get there.
For the 50 mile/100 mile you can have a drop bag at Elephant Head. You can also have drop bags at these other aid stations, Start/Finish, Lower Frary, Ranch. DO NOT put one at White Rock, this will only serve to confuse us. We will have the Start/Finish bags out by the road in a roped off area. Bring your drop bag to the start, we’ll get them out to the aid station before you get there.
Folks, don’t put anything of value in your drop bags. We’ve had a couple of people who put their car keys and cell phones in their drop bags. Dumb idea, leave those in your car or with someone you trust or keep them with you.
There will be numerous refreshment stops, the start/finish area and a place called “Elephant Head” for the 25K/50K. For the 50-mile and 100-mile, there will be refreshment stops at Elephant Head, White Rock Bay near the trailhead, down the hill at the fence opening along the Mountain View Trail, Lower Frary parking lot, the Ranch, the Start/Finish and Bridger Bay campground. In addition, the Fielding Garr Ranch and the Bridger Bay campground have decent bathrooms to use. We will have porta-johns located at the Mountain View Trailhead and Lower Frary aid stations. For the 25K and 50K, after you start, “Elephant Head” is at about 5.5 miles, then again at 11 miles, then the start area at 15.5 miles, rinse and repeat for the 50k, so carry sufficient water or your liquid of choice to get you through about 7 miles. These stops will be stocked with the usual assortment of ultrafood and beverages. For the 50-mile and 100-mile a few of the aid stations will have something hot, especially through the night and late the next day.
Crew and Pacers
There are big changes to how crewing will work. Please pay attention here, and please let your crew know what’s going on. Crewing is tough to do for the 25K and 50K because you have to hike everything out so I don’t recommend it.
Crewing for the 50-mile is pretty easy once the runners are off the White Rock trail system. Same with the 100-mile. Keep in mind, no crewing outside of an aid station. Pacing, not allowed for the 25K or 50K. Hey come on, these are short little races, you can handle that without pacers. For the 50 mile I suppose we could allow a pacer to meet you at the Ranch. That’s about 33 miles into the race. For the 100-mile I suppose we could also allow pacers. No pacers until you’ve completed the first half, if you complete the first 50 miles, we will deem you worthy of having a pacer, so meet your pacer at the start/finish when they get there. If your pacer starts to annoy you with their incessant “you can do it” attitude, you can change them at any aid station that allows crew access. A few things about crewing for the 50-mile and 100-mile.
First, the Ranch will be open for crewing all through the night this year. If you decide to drive down, please park in the equestrian parking rather than the paved parking. This will allow for island visitors to get to the Ranch to see the nifty stuff they have there.
Second, absolutely NO PARKING along road shoulders at Lower Frary, or at the Lower Frary lot. If you go to the Lower Frary aid, you MUST park either at the Upper Frary or at one of the turnouts along the Ranch road. This is at the request of the Park and will be strictly enforced. Any crew parking at the Lower Frary lot or along the road shoulders run the risk of getting their runner disqualified, so don’t do it.
Third, Bridger Bay is now completely closed to crew. Not enough parking.
Fourth, DO NOT park along the shoulder where the trail crosses the Ranch road along the fence. The Park will ask you to move and this IS NOT a crew access point.
Fifth, for the 100 mile, your crew needs to be on the island before 9pm Friday as the main gate closes at that time. If they don’t make it out by then, oh well, we aren’t letting them in.
Sixth, the Mountain View aid station will be moved to the north trailhead. There is plenty of crew parking here. DO NOT park along the road where the trail crosses the ranch road along the fence. You could be ticketed by the park.
Course markings are a combination of flour arrows, directional signs, and grade stakes with reflective tape on them. Pay attention and you won’t get lost. Keep in mind that you are responsible for knowing the course. All intersections where there is the chance that you could go off course will be marked. However, there are very few confidence markers in between
Camping and Lodging
We will set up race HQ in the field where all of you park every year. You won’t have to walk as far, we have way more room, and we won’t interfere with the folks using the day use area for the day. Bonus! Bring your tents, you can bring your RV’s. If you want to camp there, it will be an extra $9.43/family and this is good for Friday night, March 23, only. No camping on Thursday night. Bring your own food for dinner and breakfast. Keep in mind that you will need to pay the $10/car entry fee on to the island for Friday night as your race entry is good for Saturday only. Also, the main gate closes at 9pm, plan on being on the island before then or you’ll be locked out.
There is no overnight camping for the Friday night before the 25K.
There is also a campground on the north end of the island with individual campsites. These are $14/night and you’ll need to pay the park for that. If camping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of hotels just off the Antelope Island exit on I-15. The closest hotel to the island is the La Quinta Inn, however, there are several other hotels/motels within a mile of the La Quinta.
We hand time this race. We use two different methods of timing. We use timing software from Ultrasignup.com plus we have a paper back up. When you cross the finish line, make sure that your bib # is showing. Makes it easier on the timers. If you drop out of the race, you must drop at an aid station and notify the aid station personnel. If you drop down in distance, make sure you notify the timers so they can adjust the results accordingly. We have a couple of screwups every year because of this.
Watching the Race
The course is a wide open trail, no cover, and in certain areas, you can see for several miles. Friends and family are welcome to hike the trail, bring your horse along, bring the kids, dogs (must be on a leash at all times). Bring the binoculars too. There are numerous places from which family, friends, and anyone who’s interested can watch your progress, or lack thereof. Once the 50 and 100 mile runners are on the Mountain View Trail you will be able to see them almost the entire way to the ranch from the road. There are two places where the trail actually crosses the road and numerous places where you can view several miles of the trail. Keep in mind that you must remain on the road or designated trails when in this area of the island. The park also requests that you not park along the shoulders of the road. There are turnouts at several points along this road where you can get a good view of the trail and the runners. As always, you can go to the accessible aid stations (Mountain View, Lower Frary, Bridger Bay, and the Ranch) as there is parking available at these locations.
Thanks to the sponsorship of Altra Running, there is prize money for the overall winners of each distance. Age group awards will be given three deep in the usual 10 year age groupings as well as overall male and female winners. We will also have some giveaways just for showing up. Overall and age group awards will be given out as you cross the finish line.
All finishers get a locally made coffee mug from Larabee Ceramics in Park City. I want to source locally as much as possible. The 100 mile finisher award will be a belt buckle made out of a buffalo chip. Just kidding, it will be made out of some sort of metal like substance, plus you’ll get a coffee mug as well.
Don’t want to watch the race? Why not? It’s so exciting. Anyway, there’s a wonderful visitor’s center at the north end of the island and the Fielding Garr Ranch at the south end of the island. Also, there are many other trails to explore. One other thing, we can always use the help from your family members that get bored going to these races. Volunteering at a race is a definite good time. If you’ve never done it, try it.
Here are a few of the rules. We’ll make up others as needed.
First, NO TRASHING THE PARK. If you are observed purposely dropping litter of any kind (including the little gel tab thingies), you will be removed from the race. Period. We will have trash cans setup a ways outside each refreshment stop. Please don’t leave your trash next to a course marking sign, just carry the stuff to the next aid station.
Second, no cutting the course (it’s not nice) or leaving the trail unless it’s to get out of the way of a buffalo. Third, no crew aid allowed between aid stations. That just makes it a little unfair for those who don’t have the luxury of a crew.
Fourth, please be courteous and yield to the horses when you’re on the trails. Let them know you’re coming up behind them well ahead of time and if you are coming head on, step to the side and wait for them to pass.
Fifth, make sure you check in at every aid station so we know where to start looking if you don’t show at the next aid station.
Sixth, and we shouldn’t have to say this, but be very nice to the volunteers and park employees, they’ve given up their day of cleaning house, shopping, yard work, to be out here catering to your needs and listening to your whining, thank them profusely. The point of these rules is that Antelope Island State Park has been more than enthusiastic about us having the race. We want to keep it that way so we can do it again. We also plan on having course marshals from the Trail Patrol out to help with any problems etc.
Race Check In
100 mile runners — Your pre-race check in will be at the main gate parking lot just before the causeway to the island on Friday morning, March 23, from 7am to 11:30am. DO NOT go to Wasatch Running Center on Friday to check in.
50K, 50 mile runners – Your pre-race check in is on Friday, March 23, at Wasatch Running Center during their normal hours. You WILL NOT be able to check in at the main gate parking lot on that day. If you do not pick up your stuff on Friday, then you can check in at the main gate parking lot on Saturday, March 24, beginning at 4:30am.
25K Runners – Your check in will be on either Friday, March 9, at the Wasatch Running Center Store in Centerville during their normal hours, or Saturday morning, March 10, at the main gate parking lot. Check in at the main gate will begin at 6am and last until roughly 8:30am.
Wasatch Running Center address is:
316 N. Marketplace Drive,
Centerville, UT 84014
Take the Parrish Lane exit and go east. Turn right at the first light and the store will be in the strip mall on your left. While you’re there, be sure to pick up any last minute running items.
If you don’t check in Friday, then you’ll need to check in Saturday morning at the parking lot just before you go past the main entrance to the island. Check in there will start at 4:30am and will go thru about 8:30am. Since it’s 8 miles from the parking lot to the race start, plan accordingly time wise.
If you’re camping on the island, we recommend that you check in at Wasatch Running Center, otherwise you’ll have to drive out to the park entrance to pick up your stuff early in the morning because we won’t have check in at the start/finish area.
Hopefully we will have the services of the McKay-Dee Hospital Sports Medicine Team. We’ve had them come out for the past few years and it’s been great. They tell me they had a great time so I’m going to try and get them out again.
For the 100 mile, we aren’t going to weigh you. You’re big boys and girls and should know what’s going on with your body. However, we reserve the right to pull you if you are clearly not with the program and are looking like death warmed over. Aid station personnel also have the authority to yank you out of the race if they deem your health to be in jeopardy.
Post Race Feed
There will be a post race feed. For the 25K, It will begin at around noonish on Saturday. Not sure yet what the 25K feed will be. For the 50K, 50 mile, and 100 mile, buffalo stew, so here’s the deal. Everyone attending the race and planning on eating after needs to bring ONE can of veggies of some sort. We really don’t care what it is (although the RD is not a big fan of olives or mushrooms so any of those will not be going into the stew). Also, come on people, please don’t clean out your pantry on us. Don’t bring stuff unsuitable for a stew, don’t bring stuff that’s expired either. If you don’t want to eat it, what makes you think the rest of us do? Stop by the store and spend less than a buck on something we can use. There’s a WalMart on the way to the island. What we’ll do is dump it all in a big kettle with the buffalo meat and stir it up. The stew has turned out pretty good every year, should be pretty good again, especially on a cool day in March. The race will also provide the drinks.. We’ll also have a pot of stew for you vegetarians out there as well. For you intrepid 50 and 100 mile runners, we’ll hold on to your food cans until you start crossing the line.
The post race feed is free for runners and volunteers, if you want to feed your family, there will be an option for you to purchase meal tickets for $5.53/person.
March weather in Utah can be nice or not (there’s a profound statement). Typically, Antelope Island is drier than the cities to the east and nearer the mountains. Here are the averages for March 21st for Hill AFB (10 miles away as the crow flies and 600 feet higher). There shouldn’t be any bugs, which is a good thing on the island. If it rains or snows, the trail may get muddy in spots, but generally it drains pretty well. Keep in mind, daylight savings time will be in force on race day. This means that you 50 mile runners will be running in the dark for about an hour (some of us are always in the dark). Bring a flashlight or headlamp.
- Sunrise 7:17a.m.
- Sunset 7:50 p.m.
- Average High 55 Deg F
- Average Low 33 Deg F
If we get an average day with sunshine, it’ll be a great race day. So far we’ve been fairly lucky with the weather, but one of these days it’s going to be icky and messy, plan accordingly. 2014 was actually pretty nice.
Directions to Antelope Island
If you’re coming from either the north or south on I-15, take exit 332. This exit has a state park sign on the freeway. It’s also the Antelope Drive exit. Once at the traffic signal off the exit, go west on Antelope drive. This means turn left off the northbound exit and right off the southbound exit. Drive about 4-5 miles towards the Great Salt Lake (west). Just before the lake you will run out of houses, etc. and see the main gate on to the island causeway. Just prior to the main gate, there is a paved parking lot on the left. This is where you can check in Friday morning (8-11:30am) for the 100 mile race and Saturday morning if you didn’t on Friday at Striders. For you 25K, 50K, and 50 mile runners, your stuff will be at Striders Running Store on Friday. You WILL NOT be able to pick up your stuff at the main gate parking lot on Friday. Your goody bag will contain a pass for the island that you will place on your dash. This pass is good for entry on to the island for Saturday only except for the 100 mile runners. Your bib is your pass on to the island. There is no separate island pass this year. If you carpool with your friends and your family comes out later, they will have to pay the entrance fee to get on the island. Go across the causeway towards the island, enjoy the scenery of the mud flats, water and definitely enjoy the smell affectionately known as “lake stink”. The smell isn’t apparent on the island unless there is a good breeze blowing. Once on the island, follow the road as it veers left. Do not take the road to the visitor’s center. Follow the signs to White Rock Bay. We’ll have some race signs out on race day to help those that are directionally challenged. Once you get to the race area, you will be directed where to park by our friendly staff of parking enforcers. Please, please, please do not move your car to the day use parking after the race. We want to keep that area for the day use people.
Every year some of our 100 mile runners have a friendly chat with some bison as they are running. As in close enough to touch them. It’s a bit scary, but no one got hurt. We will have the services of the volunteer Trail Patrol to hopefully keep them off the trail.
If you encounter bison on the trail, generally they will get out of your way, however, some of the bulls (1500-1800 lbs.) are obstinate and won’t budge. Bison will also charge you (and not with credit cards) if you enter their personal space (seems to be about 10-25 yards or so based on the RD’s experience). The charges are generally short but can result in having to clean out your shorts, and that leads to chafing issues. If you see a tail go up, then you might want to look for a somewhat safe place to go. Head for a rock field if you can, they generally won’t follow. Don’t look them directly in the eye, they take it as a challenge. Go off trail enough to get around them. You’ll possibly see all sorts of other animals, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep, porcupines, and countless birds (chukar, meadowlarks, seagulls (the Utah state bird), shore birds, etc.). Don’t forget that Earl headbutted a spectator that was harassing him. Earl is still out there.
Why Are We Putting On This Race?
You may wonder this, you may not. Sometimes I wonder. Those of us organizing and helping out love to run trails. We feel that this is one way to give a little back to the trails and those who provide and maintain them (the State Park) and introduce people to Antelope Island State Park. Antelope Island State Park has been wonderful to work with and are enthusiastic supporters of this event. Antelope Island State Park has a fund that is used to provide park equipment such as picnic tables, signage, etc. Some of the race proceeds will go to this fund to help improve the park for all visitors.
Buffalo Run (25k) - March 10th 2018
Buffalo Run (100miler, 50 miler, and 50k) - March 23rd - 24th 2018
Logan Peak Trail Run - June 23rd 2018
Harriman Park 25k/50k - August 18th, 2018
Fall Classic 50k - November 11th, 2017
MTN View Trail Half Marathon - November 11th, 2017
Antelope Island Map