Bighorn 100 Race Report – Matt Urbanski

Coming into the Jaws aid station at mile 48

Race: Bighorn 100

Runner: Matt Urbanski

Race Date: 06/15/2018

Location: Dayton, WY

Results: 9th OA, 23:42

Strava Activity Link:

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Really pretty country! We had overcast weather and rains for much of the time, but even with this kind of weather, the views were awesome!
  2. Small town feel. It had a nice intimate feel to it.
  3. Good camaraderie. I was around a lot of runners for the majority of the race, and by the end, we all felt like buddies!

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The aid station food. I rarely eat from aid stations, but when my stomach went south and I needed some solid salty foods, the options seemed really limited, particularly for my picky vegan diet. The Ruffles ultimately did the job but a burrito would have been way better!

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The mud! I’ve never seen anything like it!

bighorn 100 race report
So much mud, leaving Dry Fork aid station at mile 82 at 6:30am

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I kept my legs under me the entire time so that when the course became runnable at times, particularly the final 5 miles, I was able to get right back into my running rhythm.
I never despaired or thought about quitting. I had some challenges with my GI system but nothing ever had me thinking about how it sucked.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

  • Poles. If the weather is at all rough with rain or sloppy conditions, poles can save your ass. I was able to power hike up and through the messy trail with the help of my poles.
  • If you want specific food, put it in your drop bags or have it with your crew.
  • Have lots of gear. The rain made certain sections particularly cold. I’m glad I had my rain and cold weather gear.
  • Don’t let the mud and slow trail conditions (seems like an inevitability each year!) mess with your expectations or psyche. My pace went out the window when I had a 6 hour 16 mile section! Everyone else was that slow too, but if I had my head hung up on some certain time or pace, my mental life would have been way worse off for it!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Gels and blocks won’t cut it for me in a mountain hundred with cold temps and elevation. I was too hungry, gel calories just didn’t feel like they could do the job, and then my stomach got queasy. Yuck. I will be better prepared for this next time!

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s a slow course at times. There are definitely runnable sections, but simply knowing ahead of time that there are likely to be spots on the course that require patience and not wasting energy should go a long way in helping the next guy have a better race.

bighorn 100 race report
Coming into mile 82 with muddy rain pants!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Loved it! Great mountains, a cool looking canyon to run through and out of at the beginning and end, nice high mountains, and pretty forests. And if you think mud is pretty, than this is the most beautiful course in the world!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

One of my slower times ever. It was tough in the sense that many of the miles were slow and tedious. 100 milers are all hard, this one just took longer!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Overall yes.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I think so. It didn’t have pros running it, but there were plenty of solid runners in the field.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

The 100 did sell out, but not right away. Lodging was easy, we stayed in the dorms at Sheridan College for cheap, and plenty of lodging in Sheridan (about 30 minutes from the start/finish in Dayton). Some lodging in Dayton, but not a lot. It was a fairly long 6 hour drive from Denver, but otherwise, it was all simple. Other runners flew into Billings, MT, and Casper, WY, so you can fly closer and drive, but we were already in Denver.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

  • Plenty of stops for water and small race food.
  • The bigger food options seemed to be lacking though.
  • I had one drop bag at Footbridge (mile 30 & 66). They were quick to bring it to me. The volunteers were all super helpful, friendly, and awesome!

Weather and typical race conditions

Hailed on twice, rained on multiple times, lightening storms…it was a blast!

bighorn 100 race report
Coming out of the fog at mile 13, looking for my crew!

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

  • I switched between the Nathan Krar Vapor belt and a standard Salomon 5L pack. Both worked fine.
  • Black Diamond z-poles were a life saver.
  • I did use my UD rain jacket and Bonatti rain pants at different times, as well as my waterproof gloves.
  • A good headlamp is key too given that everyone is running through the night.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not a ton of access points. Our crew met us at Dry Fork (mile 13) and at the turnaround at Jaws (mile 48), and at Dry Fork on the way back (mile 82). They could have gone to Footbridge at 30 and 66 but it would have added tons of hours of driving, and needed a high clearance vehicle.

How’s the Swag?

Good stuff. I like that they have special stuff for finishers.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 star race. Fun vibe, pretty course, good runner camaraderie.

Running into the finish line!