The Bighorn Trail Run in Wyoming is an epic endurance race as technical as beautiful. It is a Rocky Mountain Slam event and a qualifier for the UTMB World Series. The Bighorn Mountain Trail 100 crosses through the Little Bighorn and Tongue River areas of the Bighorn National Forest. Participants have 34 hours to navigate this remote, technical out-and-back course (average 2.94 mph). There are over 20,500 feet of ascent and 20,750 feet of descent testing the most seasoned ultra-runners with 76 miles of technical single-track trail, 16 miles of rugged 2-track jeep trail road, and 8 miles of gravel road. The Bighorn 100 is one of the classics, demanding you to reach deep down to your core of mental and physical fortitude. In addition to the 100-mile race, the event includes 52, 32, and 18-mile options. With fabulously marked courses, well-stocked aid stations, first aid, and a fun atmosphere – this destination event is one to hugely consider if up for a challenge in the “extreme” category.
Each course is slightly different in starting points and directions, but they all cross the same finish line at Scott Park, where a celebration awaits. Runners enjoy showers, picnics with local burgers and beer, live music, and an awards ceremony.
This is not a mountaineering experience, and the event operator prides itself on a well-marked course. Trail markings will consist of orange flagging tape frequently attached to trees, bushes, and rocks. In meadow areas, orange flagging will be attached to wire ground flags. White powder arrows (made from lime) will be used at a few junctions on the course. Reflective tape attached to the flagging and glow sticks will enhance visualization during the night sections of the course (Kern’s Cow Camp – Jaws Trail Head).
The Bighorn 100 Mile course has 18 aid stations with various support, nine stations on the outbound course and nine on the return course. Given the terrain, there is a mix of what is provided, but many are fully supplied for runners to rest and fuel up. The aid station at Sally’s Footbridge includes an outhouse and medical checks. Jaws Trailhead is the turnaround point at mile 48. The volunteers are prepared for extreme temperatures, brutal heat in the canyon during the days, and potentially freezing temperatures at night.
Bighorn 52 Mile course starts at the 100 Mile halfway point at Jaws Trailhead, with 12 aid stations along the way.
Bighorn 32 Mile course begins just above the Dry Fork aid station. At Cow Camp aid station, the 32 Mile participants join the 52 milers for the rest of the race. There are six aid stations in total for this course.
The bighorn 18 Mile race is the shortest option but still very challenging. The course begins at the Dry Fork aid station and immediately starts with a climb up the Freeze Out road. There are four aid stations to support runners along the way.
The weekend schedule begins for 100 miles on Thursday afternoon for packet pick-up and gathering reception at Whitney Commons Park for race announcements and trail briefing with an opportunity for Q&A. Their race kicks off Friday morning as other mile participants arrive for their packet pick-up and welcome party at Black Tooth Brewery. Saturday has start times for the various distances; 52, 32, and 18. The day ends when all racers finish at Scott Park. Sunday morning has a sponsored breakfast for all participants, supporters, and volunteers. Another opportunity for everyone to tell stories of a racing adventure they will never forget.
To complete the Rocky Mountain Slam, men and women have to finish four out of five annual races in the Rockies: the Bighorn 100 in Montana in June, the Hardrock 100 in Colorado in July, the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado in August, the Wasatch Front 100 in Utah in early September and the Bear 100 in late September. Leadville and Wasatch are also part of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.
UTMB World Series is the ultimate global trail running series uniting the sport’s biggest stars and amateur runners through a leading international event series in the most stunning locations. The UTMB World Series gives all trail runners a chance to experience UTMB events worldwide, with 25 events taking place across Asia, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas in 2022. It is the only place runners can begin their quest to UTMB Mont-Blanc, home of the prestigious UTMB World Series Finals. The UTMB World Series integrates three levels of events:
- UTMB World Series Finals
- UTMB World Series Majors
- UTMB World Series Events
To qualify to enter the lottery for Finals or Major events, you must collect a “Running Stone” by finishing qualifier events in the 20k, 50k, 100k, or 100M categories. Only 1 Running Stone acquired in the past two years is mandatory to enter the lottery. Running Stones are cumulative, have no expiration date, and each Running Stone gives you an additional chance to be drawn. Collecting Running Stones is the only way to access regular runners’ UTMB World Series Finals. Discover the 25 events that will allow you to collect Running Stones in 2022 to enter the UTMB Mont-Blanc lottery from 2023 onwards here.