BUFFALO RUN ADVENTURES |Antelope Island Buffalo Run
Buffalo Run Quick Guide
**I am happy to say that the Buffalo Run 100 miler is a UTMB qualifying event. The 2017 event is a qualifying race and will be in 2018 as well**
Ok boys and girls, here’s the info for the 2017 Antelope Island Buffalo Run, so pay attention. Make sure you read all of this stuff before you shoot me an e-mail asking a question that’s already answered here. 2017 will be the 12th year for the Buffalo Run. From its beginnings in 2006 when the RD didn’t know what he was doing, to now (when he still doesn’t know what he’s doing), this race has kind of become a fixture in the Utah trail running landscape. So what’s new for 2017? Well, not much. You can find that stuff below. First, the race date. The 100 mile run will start on FRIDAY March 17th. The rest of the races will start SATURDAY March 18th.
Dates and Times
TRAINING RUN DATES:Nov. 12, Dec. 3, Jan. 7, Feb. 4, March 4. See ourFACEBOOK Page for full details.
Go online here to sign up. Electronic registration only.If you don’t have internet access, you’re still living in the last century. Go borrow your buddy’s computer and steal his internet access to register, or have him do it for you. Hey, I prefer that, makes my job a whole lot easier. 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. I will have a wait list for each race, but I won’t be robbing one race to let more into another.
Entry Fees for 2017
25K – $70.35 ($80.46 after Jan. 31)
50K – $86.51 ($96.74 after Jan. 31)
50 mile – $95.19 ($105.64 after Jan. 31)
100 mile – $188.15 ($198.27 after Jan. 31)
Notes on the reduced entry limits: The state park recently evaluated all of the special events that take place on the island. They looked at the numbers of visitors coming through the front gate, what facilities the events use, the time of year, number of participants, number of spectators, etc. They assigned values to all of these parameters to try and determine the negative impacts, if any, that the events would have on park visitation. What prompted this study was that the park has had a huge increase in visitation in the past couple of years, especially during March. The high season for visitation used to be June through September. March now sees higher visitation than April and is close to the numbers seen during the summer months. Several years ago park visitation was in the 250,000 annually range. They are projecting to hit 400,000 visitors this year. What they found during this evaluation of the special events was that the Antelope Island Buffalo Run had the highest score in terms of impact to the island resources, specifically in regards to traffic through the main entrance. The only event that draws more visitors is the moonlight bike ride in July. I was assured that having 800 runners on the trails did not negatively impact the trails in any way. That was good to hear.
Unfortunately, the race has been a victim of its own success and the park has asked for a reduced number of runners for just the Buffalo Run. They had originally wanted me to reduce the numbers from 800 down to 250. I convinced them that a 400 runner limit would be more appropriate. So for 2017, the runner limit will be 400 runners total. I do expect that limit to be reached and there will be a wait list. The biggest impact will be to the number of 25K runners allowed. The 50K limit has been reduced some and while I did reduce the limit on the 50 mile, that limit is roughly what the numbers have been the past few years anyway. I also reduced the 100 mile limit, but once again, this limit is down to what the actual numbers have been the past few years. If it looks as though limits for some distances will not be reached, but others will, then I will shift those numbers to allow more at a particular distance.
There are other options that the park and I discussed as far as limiting impact that would allow for the runner limit to be increased and we will be looking at that for 2018 and beyond.
So, here’s the numbers for 2017.
- 25K – 100 runners
- 50K – 125 runners
- 50 mile – 125 runners
- 100 mile – 50 runners
Ok, you’ve made the decision to read a bit further about this little event, so, 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. Oh, by the way, the courses will remain the same as last year if you’ve run out here before.
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 number. 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 17th.
50 mile – This race will start at Oh dark thirty (6:00am) on SATURDAY, March 18th.
50K – This one starts at 8:00am, so you get to sleep in a little bit.
25K – This one will start at 9:00am, so you get to sleep in AND eat breakfast, plus finish a little early. You know. It doesn’t matter what time we start the 25K, there’s always a crowd out at the Elephant Head aid station.
All of you will have until 6:30pm on SATURDAY March 18th to finish up your fun and games.
Yeah, we need to have some cutoff times. In 2012 we 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
There are no refunds after February 1st. Before that, we’ll send you your money back, although why you would want to back out of this race is beyond us. Also, please don’t ask to switch names with someone else if you can’t run. It gets too confusing for the timers (and the race director, who is easily confused) to switch names and races. If you can’t run, then get your money back by Feb. 1 and tell your friend to enter before Feb. 14th.
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.
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.
Hey 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. There will be an unmanned aid station near that road crossing, however, crew ARE NOT allowed to crew at this location.
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.
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 $7.45/family. 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 also a campsite 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 typically chip time this race. Here are some things to know about that. Unless you are running the 100-mile, you will have to cross a mat at the start. You do have to cross a mat to finish unless you are running the 100-mile and finish in under 18 hours.
If you drop, you must drop at an aid station and notify the aid station personnel. Either give your chip to one of the aid station personnel, or bring it back to the start/finish and give it to the timers. You will be charged money if you take off with it.
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.
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.
The coffee mugs that will be given out will be hand made locally in Park City. I want to source locally as much as possible. There will be some leftover old mugs and you can have one of those instead if you would like. We might have a few long sleeve tech shirts left over if you want one of those instead. 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.
Second, no cutting the course (it’d be hard to anyway) or leaving the trail. There’s no prize money for this race, so no incentive. I heard some stories about a few who cut things short last year. Come on, don’t do that, it’s not nice.
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 — Pre-race check in will be Thursday at the Wasatch Running Center Store in Centerville from 10am to 7pm. Or at the main gate parking lot just before the causeway to the island on Friday morning from 8am to 11:30am. DO NOT go to Wasatch Running Center on Friday to check in.
25K, 50K, 50 mile runners can check in either Thursday or Friday at Wasatch Running Center. You WILL NOT be able to check in at the main gate parking lot on either of those days.
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. It will begin at around noonish on Saturday. Once again, 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 and, now pause and everybody say oohh!, dessert. 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.
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.
Antelope Island Map