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Backyard Ultra

Where and When

Cancelled for 2020. If you were registered, you may rollover to 2021, or request a 75% refund by emailing

The 2021 event is tentatively scheduled for 9am Saturday May 15, 2021, starting in Fellin Park in Ouray, Colorado.


A Backyard Ultra. Complete an easy 4.167 mile course. If you finish in less than an hour—just a 14:24 pace per mile—you get to do it again. The race continues hour after hour until there is only one person left. To secure the win, that person must successfully complete one more hour than anyone else. The race then ends.

For many runners, a backyard race is a good opportunity for setting a distance PR! For a very strong runner, there is another kind of opportunity altogether—because we are an affiliate of the Big Dog's Backyard Ultra in Tennessee, the winner is potentially eligible to attend the Tennessee race, depending on the results of other affiliate races around the world.

Here are some important Rules that further define a Backyard Ultra.

Course Summary

An easy out-and-back with only 140 feet of vert (1.3% average grade). The course includes about 0.50 mile on asphalt running track, 0.75 mile on smooth dirt roads, and about 2.9 miles on the Uncompahgre River Walk (a gravel footpath broad enough for easy passing).


Although the course itself is easy, the altitude here is about 7700 feet above sea level. This may become a factor, especially when runners start getting tired!

The weather in mid-May is generally good, but often cool. Typical temperature ranges for this time of year are 34F to 52F. The chance of precipitation is typically 17%. Snow cover is unusual this time of year—it would be weird to have more than an inch or so, or for it to linger much more than a day.

See the Photo Tour.


The starting corral is the red area on the map, consisting of the paved path adjacent to picnic area. To be eligible to start any given hour, you must be inside the starting corral when the hour officially begins. No late starts! Once the hour starts, you must immediately embark on the course and remain on it, other than for restroom breaks as described below, until you finish the circuit.

Just west of the starting corral is the area designated for crew stations (including self-crewing stations). On the map, this area is shown in blue.

Race-provided aid will include both hot and cold food and drinks.

Overnight parking is permitted within the green area south of the Start (accessible from 9th Avenue). You may use the Hot Springs parking lot before the race to unload or set up your crew station, as long as you don't leave a vehicle there overnight.

The South Restroom is near the Start/Finish. A runner may visit this restroom either between laps (i.e., after finishing one circuit and before starting the next), or while on course, but only after first completing the initial 0.25 mile asphalt path around the ballfield. The North Restroom is on the River Walk and can be visited at about the 1.5 and 2.7 mile marks.

Amenities and Activities in Ouray

Jeerleading is encouraged!

The hot springs pool is right next to the Start/Finish.

Many shops, restaurants, a grocery store, four breweries, and a distillery are within a few blocks.

There are many, many nearby trails to explore.

A few miles from town, there is quite a bit of free, dispersed camping.

Course Tour

In this shot, the camera is positioned at the rear of the starting corral, and is facing the starting line. Start running on the path towards the gazebo. Follow the path as it curves left, circling Fellin Park and returning to the start.

On race day, the benches and tables will be set further back from the asphalt path, creating some space for crewing and self-crewing stations.


View from the gazebo, facing northeast. From this vantage, a spectator can see runners for the first and last quarter mile of the course.

After finishing the initial quarter mile asphalt loop, turn right for about 30 yards to the South Restrooms. You may pass to either side of the restroom building. Turn right on a dirt road another 30 yards to the South Bridge. Left across the Bridge, about 80 yards to Oak Street. Right on Oak Street.

Oak Street

Head downstream on Oak Street for 0.30 miles. Then turn right onto a narrow footpath for 30 yards, dropping towards the Middle Bridge (the bridge is just visible in this photo). Do NOT cross the bridge. Instead, turn left on the Uncompahgre River Walk, keeping the river to your right.

West River Walk

Follow the River Walk about a mile downstream, passing the North Restroom and reaching the North Bridge.

West River Walk

In the spring, Bridalveil Falls should be visible from here.

North Restroom

A few feet off the path.

North Bridge

Cross the bridge and head upstream on the opposite side of the river.

East River Walk

Heading for the turnaround.

East River Walk

Almost there. This shot was taken in spring, reflecting how the vegetation should look near race day.


The turnaround will be near the falls. The exact placement will depend on more precise measurements we'll be making in a few weeks.

From here, retrace your path back to where you started (including a reversed version of the quarter mile asphalt loop in Fellin park).

East River Walk

Heading downstream, back towards the North Bridge again.

North Bridge

Two left turns to cross and head upstream on the other side. This is the lowest point on the course, about 100 vertical feet below the finish line.

North Restroom

The door on this side of the building is no good! Use the door on the south side.

West River Walk

Headed upstream towards the Middle Bridge. From here, just keep retracing your path to the start/finish.

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