What is Dizzy Horse, A Winter Backyard Ultra
Imagine wandering in circles for hours and hours in the middle of a winter desert, where the only goal is to never stop...
A backyard ultra is a competition where all of the participants run 4.167 miles each hour until they can no longer continue. The competition continues until only one participant is left.
Date: December 13, 2024
Cost: $45 for basic registration. (Race, basic aid station, and DNF award-you bring your own food and supplies).
For an additional fee you can purchase Add ons (such as Deluxe Aid Station, Reserved Indoor Transition Space, Hoodies, T-Shirts, Etc.) Purchase the add ons with your registration or just go back to the registration page.
Don't forget to check out our 2023 PARTICIPANT GUIDE!
Without Teton Auto Group this race would not be possible! They do such a great job of supporting not just this event, but many wonderful community and non-profit events in the area!!! Also-the Idaho Falls Trail Runners is one of the best running communities to be found anywhere. No doubt if you run this race, you'll meet many great people from "IFTR".
We are officially a Bronze Qualifying Backyard Ultra. Which means the winner of our event can compete at a Silver Quilifier and the winner of that goes to the Big Backyard Ultra World Championship! Check out this documentary about Big's Backyard Ultra!
2023 Saw 47 runners toe the line. 17 made it to 50 miles (12 hours) and 3 made it to 100 miles (24 hours). Jeremy Smith won the race with an astounding 154.167 miles (37 hours). Mike Postoski got the assist with a gutty 150 miles (36 hours).
The weather started out with freezing fog, putting tons of hoar frost on everything, but quickly the sun came out and we had a pleasant first day. The first night got a little cold, but still good weather. The second day was beautifully sunny. We ended just as night came on.
Our 2022 Race was held on December 9-10. 54 runners signed up, 42 runners showed up on the start line and Zachary Van Abbema won with 19 laps completed! Jason Reeder provided the assist. 10 participants completed 50 or more miles.
The weather was cold and miserable, snowing and windy at the start, with temperatures in the mid-20s. 30+ mile per hour winds during most of the daylight hours made it miserable. Continued winds and dropping temps during the night made it even worse.
Idaho Falls received a good amount of snow leading up the race, but luckily the City of Idaho Falls plowed the trail for us, so while it was icy and uneven, at least it wasn't in deep snow.
Much fun was had and no one died!
New start for 2023: Will leave the hall and go to the east side, between the buildings and heading to the north, instead of the west side of the exhibit hall. The Course is a mix of desert, grass, horse-race track, abandoned horse-race track, and graveled road, with a small bit of asphalt, often covered in snow during December. You start off in the start corral right outside the doors of the Bonneville County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall, through a bit of grass, across the edge of a parking lot and then cross a road, that gets you into Sandy Downs Park. We'll cross some dirt, a bit of horse track and then skirt the Grandstands on grass. We'll then get a full 1/2 mile on the race track. We'll then follow dirt road to the half-way point, wander over by the Snake River BMX Track, and some old horse barns, then a 100 yards of deep sand, followed by a stretch of grass. We'll get another stretch of about 400 yards of sand through some trees and along a canal, before coming to an abandoned horse track that looks old, tired and beaten down (pretty much a mirror of yourself), finally we'll follow an abandoned dirt road to an makeshift exit from the park, then loop around Bonneville County's Fairgrounds and a bunch of corrals to make sure we get the distance exactly right and back to the start. After a few loopy laps of wandering through the desert/horse facilities you'll know why this one is called "Dizzy Horse." You'll get between 40 and 80 feet of elevation gain per lap. Here is a CalTopo of the Route: https://caltopo.com/m/281JM
All participants will have access to the general indoor transition area. It is a great place for runners, crew, family and friends to hang out. There is also plenty of outdoor space if you want to bring a grill, set up a tent or whatever, just know that it could be in the snow. You can bring a chair and a bag, but you likely won't have space for much more.
UPGRADE: Reserved Indoor Transition Area: We give you a dedicated 10'x10' space inside the Exhibition Hall, where you can live like royalty in heated comfort as you await your next round of torture. There are limited numbers of Indoor Spaces. You can bring a cot, tent, tables, etc. whatever you can fit in the space. The reserved spaces can also be shared with others.
Aid Stations and Crew
Basic Aid Station: Water
UPGRADE Deluxe Aid Station: All the standard aid station fare (potatoes, pickles, cookies, breads, candies, etc.) and a massive variety of food prepared over the course of the event on a schedule (we publish a menu about a week before the event, but you can expect things like sliders, French toast sticks, street tacos, and more. We try to have something for everyone at any possible hour) plus a veritable buffet of standard aid station fare, lots of drinks, you might even say a plethora of drinks, and more.
Crew: You cannot have pacers or any crew help while on course or offer any aid in any form while on a loop. However, once you cross the finish line each lap you can get whatever aid you need from your crew until you reenter the Start corral just before the next lap starts. Crew help can be vital in getting you back into the corral on time especially as it gets later and later in the race.
4.167 Mile Loop
Will be measured to start entire starting field, will stay the same size throughout the event. Participants must be in the starting corral when the top of the hour bell is rung!
Each loop starts precisely 1 hour after the last. Warning will be given at 3, 2, and 1 minute before the start. All competitors must start at the bell (no late starts or returning to the corral).
Except for restrooms, competitors may not leave the course until each loop is completed. No non-competitors are allowed on the course (including eliminated runners). No personal aid during a loop is allowed. Water will be available at the 2 mile mark. No artificial aids (including trekking poles) are allowed. Slower runners must allow passes.
The loops will not be officially timed. Results will be based solely on finishing loops.
The Winner is the last person to complete a loop. All others are technically a DNF. Results of each runner in terms of distance travelled will be given. If no runner can complete one more loop than anyone else, there is no winner.
The race will be open ended and continue until one runner remains.
From Jeremy Smith
2023 Last Horse Standing
How do you slay a demon? With pitchforks? Or flaming torches?
Hours ago, I set out to squash my demons at the 2023 Dizzy Horse Ultra, and the answer to this question was answered in a way I never expected.
For 12 hours, I enjoyed time with as many runners as I could. We talked of family and community, of running and addiction. In that first 50 miles, I bonded with the most open and gracious of folks, taking part in milestones for so many- From a new runner’s 50k, to an astonishing number of youth completing 50 miles.
As the temperatures and the number of runners began to dip, a change took place in my hyper-competitive psyche, and I was overwhelmed with what I can only describe as a feeling of absolute peace.
A peace that wrapped my shivering body in the warmest of blankets.
A peace that, for the remainder, never left my side.
The journey was not without trial: My watch inexplicably and repeatedly died, an act that would normally frazzle me.
But instead of frustration? Peace.
I once left the starting corral, realizing a mere seconds after the bell that I’d left behind crucial cups of food, food now useless to me.
But in place of hunger?
All I felt was peace.
Outside of writing a novel, it would be impossible to fully share the many tender mercies and truths I enjoyed while seeking my limits. Limits which Lazarus Lake would say were found by all in this event: All, except me.
It suffices me to say that I now know the way to slay a demon is with love.
A warm smile or a handshake with a stranger. An encouraging word to the lost and the lonely.
For darkness cannot tolerate the light, and good will always triumph over evil if we do our part, both in our personal lives, and as communities.
I know there is a transformative force in this world, an untapped power that could change the course of individuals and of countries, solving addiction and hunger and hatred and illness:
For these evils feed on inactivity, on ignorance, and on fear, and like a demon, can be vanquished only if we use the right tools.
Profound thanks to my crew, family and worthy competitors who embarked on this journey. May peace be with you as you find a way to slay your demons!
From Mike Postaski
I came for the win, but got so much more.. my proudest & happiest DNF, 2nd to last man standing (the assist) - 150 miles and 36 hours - pushing my limits of time, distance, and temperature even further.
So many new friends and such a wonderful and supportive running community out in Eastern Idaho. A shared experience of a lifetime, indeed. Yes, let's do something else together.
Congratulations to Jeremy Smith - such a machine out there. Go crush it at Banana Slug! HUGE HUGE thank you to Dan & Jeff and all the volunteers who helped support me throughout.
Dizzy Horse Backyard Ultra is such a great event / challenge / adventure/ whatever you want to make of it !
Start preparing for next year now! Go big!