The Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra, presented by Steep Endurance, is a true test of ones endurance, persistence, and discipline. The premise is quite simple. Can you run 4.166666 miles in ONE hour? And do it again and again and again....until you are the LAST RUNNER STANDING! **For additional details please see the race rules/format section about 2/3 of the way down the page.
The Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra is an affiliated North American race for Big Dog's Backyard Ultra (organized by none other than Lazarus Lake of Barkley Marathons fame). In 2018, the winner of Big Dog's Backyard Ultra lasted for 68 hours or 283.33 miles! In 2019, the race lasted 60 hours or 250 miles! That exclusive race is limited to only 75 participants. Below is a short video documentary from iRun4Ultra about the 2018 event. If you'd like to part of this EPIC event, then the Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra is one of the few opportunities to gain entry.
$95 early registration through March 31 $105 April 1-30 $115 May 1-31 $125 June 1-Race Day
Refund Policy: There will no refunds and/or no transfers of your registration or bib to any other person. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date--including permits, insurance, race supplies, course preparation and administration.
Without volunteers, we couldn't pull off events like this. This is an event you have to volunteer at. There will be so much inspiration to see in a race like this! If you are interested in helping runners achieve their goals and have some fun in the process, click on the link above. Volunteers receive swag from our sponsors plus other goodies too!
There can only be ONE winner (assuming they finish their last lap), but we have lots of stuff from sponsors for everyone!
High quality tech shirt from Craft Sportswear**
Specially designed DNF medal from Ragged Cuts
DNF Award for everyone
Additional swag from our sponsors
Awards for Top 3 podium
**Guaranteed if signed up by June 1
Mountain Lakes Park is located at 201 Hawley Rd., North Salem, NY 10560. Please click this link for directions. Once inside the park, you will proceed onto Mountain Lakes Rd. staying to the right until you see the sign for Camp Hemlock. You will turn left, go past Hemlock Lake on your right and then turn left to the parking area about a 1/10 of a mile.
Mountain Lakes Park Map
The Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra has two different courses in staying with the theme of the event. The "Day Loop" consists of a 50/50 mix of carriage roads and trails with approximately 450' of elevation change. The majority of the uphill elevation is in the first mile of the course (which is almost entirely on carriage road) and not technical at all. There is a trail section for about 1.5 miles in the middle of the loop that only has a few technical spots, but is otherwise fairly smooth and another short trail section near the end of the loop. The "Night Loop" is a simple out and back on road/carriage road completely inside the park. The course has approximately 500' of elevation change and again is not technical at all. Both courses are very runner friendly. Please see the course maps, elevation charts, and videos below for further information.
The Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra will start at 6:30 p.m. SHARP on Friday! The race will start on the "Day Loop" for the first two hour (see above) and then move to the "Night Loop" (it's an out and back on mostly carriage roads) from 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. the next morning (Saturday). At 5:30 a.m., runners still left in the race will switch back to the Day Loop until 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night. If there are still runners left at 8:30 p.m., they will switch to the Night Loop again until 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Before the start of each loop, the race director will go through the following protocol as such indicating time until the start.
--3 minutes before the start (whistle will be blown 3 times) --2 minutes before the start (whistle will be blown 2 times) --1 minute before the start (whistle will be blown 1 time) --30 seconds will be announced before start --10 seconds will be counted down before the start --START (Cowbell will be rung)
You have ONE HOUR to finish the loop once it has started. If you finish a loop within the hour, you have the opportunity to START the NEXT hour provided you are IN the start corral when the next hour starts. If you do not finish within the hour, you are OUT of the race and considered a DNF.
Once you are on the course, you are not allowed any aid from your crew. You are not allowed to return to camp once the loop has started. You must be ON and STAY on the course, unless you need to use the bathroom (please do so off the trail or road discreetly). There may or may not be a port-a-potty on the course.
NO artificial aids (including trekking poles) are allowed
NO pacers allowed--you will get so used to the course you won't need one...
Once you are back to the start and assuming you've finished within the hour, you may use the bathroom, eat, drink, sleep, ponder the next loop, etc., but you MUST be back in the start corral or you will be considered a DNF (NO EXCEPTIONS). This means you MAY NOT start late (even if you are in bathroom). You may also choose not to continue though you will be considered a DNF.
If you are one that needs more time in between loops, then run faster so you have more time, but you might burn more energy. You may also choose to run slower which will give you less time back at the start/finish area, but you will burn less energy. You have to choose which strategy works best for YOU.
Runners are responsible for their own aid, but we will have some basic ultra runner fare throughout the race (chips, candy, cookies, water, electrolyte drink, soda, coffee, soup, etc.).
Runners will be able to set up a SMALL tent if they so choose nearby.
Near the start/finish line, runners will have a small area where they may set up a chair for quick access between loops.
Runners may have crew if they like, but keep it to a minimum especially early on in the race.
We will have at least 3 port-a-johns near the start/finish area.
Runners will continue until ONE runner completes a FINAL lap. (i.e. If there are two runners left and one does not complete the loop, then the one that completed the loop will be declared the winner). That runner will be considered the winner of the Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra!
There will be NO aid stations ON the course, but we will have the most awesome aid station at the start/finish area. Yes we will have water/electrolyte drink/soda, but we will also feed extremely well from burgers, quesadillas, etc. for dinner and pancakes, bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches, etc. for breakfast. There will plenty of vegan options too! Runners are not required to carry their own hydration bottle, pack, or cup on the course, but is suggested if you are one that gets thirsty easily. If there is any special drink, nutrition, or other food items that you require, please come prepared.
Keep in mind that Steep Endurance events are "cupless" races. This policy is put into effect in an effort to reduce the amount of waste and adopt a sustainable “green” practice for the race and the sport of trail/ultra running.
These rules are meant to make your experience during any Steep Endurance event a positive one. Most of these are common sense type policies that you will see at any trail or ultra race.
Absolutely No Littering! The race is on Westchester County Parks land. Please respect that we are using their amazing and beautiful trails for this race. Failure to do so could jeopardize the future of the event in Mountain Lakes.
Race entries/bib numbers are not transferrable--hence NO unofficial runners
Following the marked course is mandatory. Please do not cut the course, cut any switchbacks, etc. Any runner caught doing so will be disqualified. In addition, if you get lost on the trail/road you must return to the point at which you lost the trail. The course will be well marked with ribbons and other necessary course markings.
Though the course will be VERY well marked, runners are ultimately responsible for knowing the course and carrying course maps if necessary.
Please respect others that are on the trail. The trails on the course are open to the public and will be well traveled in some places. Please announce your intentions to pass if you are coming upon a hiker or another runner.
If you must use the bathroom, please try to do so very discreetly a good distance off the trail before returning to the race.
If at anytime you intend to drop out of the race, please do so at an aid station/checkpoint by notifying the race director. Surrendering your bib will serve as notice of withdrawal/DNF for the race. Failure to follow these policies means somebody has to come looking for you and in some cases by local authorities (at your cost).
Smoking is not permitted on any of the trails or at any checkpoint by runners (probably shouldn’t be doing this race anyway). Alcoholic beverages are also NOT permitted in any sections of Mountain Lakes Park.
The use of personal music devices is allowed at this race, but discouraged. To enjoy all that our race has to offer and for the safety of all participants, Steep Endurance encourages a headphone-free environment during the running of the race. We believe your race experience and those around you will be greatly enhanced by leaving the headphones at home or in the car. Running headphone-free allows opportunities to develop camaraderie with your fellow runners and to enjoy everything the race has to offer. Plus, volunteers and spectators will be on course cheering you on and providing directions to help get you to the finish line. Runner safety will be a top priority for our events.
SMILE and enjoy the race! You are lucky to be enjoying these amazing trails!
Post Race Celebration
You’ve just DNF'd this epic race (unless you are the winner of course). Enjoy the amount of miles you just ran, sit back, relax, and don’t forget to hang out/cheer on all the remaining runners. We will have food periodically throughout the event to offer. We may even have some live music for you!
If you are flying in from out of state, the closest airport is White Plains Airport (HPN) which is about 30-35 minutes to Mountain Lakes. As for lodging options you have a couple of choices.
Mountain Lakes Park Lean-To's: There are several lean-to's in the park with 4 of them being very close to or on the course. If your family and/or crew are interested in renting one of them, please contact the Race Director at firstname.lastname@example.org for arrangements. We can rent them for a nominal fee.
Hotels/Motels: If you are coming in on Thursday night, the closest major city to North Salem is Danbury, CT about 10 miles away. There are several hotels right off I-84. This is just a small list with links to choose from, but there are several other options as well.
June is a beautiful time of year in New York with summer right around the corner. The race actually starts on the summer solstice! Average high temperatures range are usually in the high 70's with low temperatures in the upper 50's.
History of MOUNTAIN LAKES PARK
The 1,082-acre Mountain Lakes Park is Westchester’s northernmost county park. Part of the park was purchased between 1708 and 1729 from Chief Catoonah of the Long Pond Indians. It is characterized by a rugged landscape and native hardwood forest with miles of trails. The park boasts five lakes and a spectacular overlook, which makes for breathtaking hiking destinations. Mountain Lakes Park offers the total outdoor experience including camping, fishing, ice skating, hiking, nature exploration, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, picnicking and a high/low ropes challenge course.