For the most up to date info on the HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile/50 K Ultramarathons please visit the vigilanterunning.org website.
The 50 mile overall male and female winners receive a free entry into the next Le Grizz Ultramarathon, and the overall Le Grizz male and female winners receive free entry into the next Elkhorn. We call it the "Kiss of Death" award.
History of the Elkhorn Mountain Endurance Runs
In 1989, the first running of the Elkhorn Mountain Endurance Runs took place on the Elkhorn Mountain trails just south of Montana City, Montana. The original race included a 100K (62.2 mile) trail race through the Elkhorn Mountains and a 5K (3.1 mile) and 10K (6.2 mile) races through the foothills near Montana City. The Elkhorn 100K attracted numerous elite ultra distance runners from all over the United States and Canada. The race also saw participants from as far away as Australia and England. In 1997, the races were expanded to include a 50K (31 mile) run through the Elkhorn Mountains.
Beginning in 1997, Jim and Bobbie Pomeroy, the founders of the Elkhorn Endurance Runs, added Running Camps to the Elkhorn Mountain Endurance Run activities, and since the summer of 1999 have offered Fitness Retreats. For future offerings, click on the Elkhorn Fitness Retreat link.
In addition to meeting their goal of showing off both the beauty and challenges of trail running in Montana to other ultra runners, the Elkhorn Endurance Runs created interest in endurance running in the local area. A group of local endurance runners, loosely organized as the Helena Ultra Runnerís League (HURL), took over the Elkhorn Endurance Runs in 2005. With guidance and assistance from Jim and Bobbie Pomeroy, it was decided to change from a 50/100K format to a single 50 mile race. Since we didnít really know what we were doing, we decided the initial event would only include one race distance to minimize logistics.
The 50 mile course includes mostly all trails, with some dirt Forest Service Roads. The 50 mile course has proven to be quite challenging, therefore a generous finishing time is allowed. Because of the success of the inaugural HURL Elkhorn 50 Mile Run, we added a 50K event in 2006. The 50 K course is challenging but scenic, and it covers the same trails as the 50 mile event. A generous finishing time is also allowed for the 50K. The trail portions of the course are in roadless areas. You may encounter horseback riders, bicycle riders, or hikers (please be courteous to all other users), but will not encounter motorized vehicles on the trails. This makes our volunteers work harder as most aid stations require supplies be packed in and out on foot. It also makes it more difficult to monitor progress and the physical well being of participants, and to assist participants in case of medical emergency.The Elkhorn Mountains and the Elkhorn Endurance Runs has seen significant change over the years. In 1998, a fire ravaged the northern portion of the Elkhorn Mountain range, changing the landscape for decades to come. Most of the course is through areas that burned in 1998. From fire comes re-birth, and after the loss of the mature forest, the landscape has been dynamic with the growth of new forest. Remnants of the mature forest remain, tall, bare tree trunks, with roots still holding against the forces of nature, and downfall so thick it is impassible to humans (it doesnít seem to slow the areaís elk herd). Yet, new trees cover the mountainsides, so thick in places they canít all possibly survive. Numerous housing developments are springing up along the Helena National Forest boundary. What the Elkhorn landscape will look like in twenty years is anybodyís guess.