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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Ouray 100 a Hardrock qualifier?

Negative, Ghost Rider.  But the good news is Hardrock is a Ouray qualifier.  ;)

Is the Ouray 100 a UTMB qualifier?


Beginning in 2022, we will no longer go through the process to be a UTMB qualifier.  


I see you are requiring runners to carry SPOT trackers which will be provided by the event. I own my own SPOT device. Can I just use mine and then get a small discount?


Subject to sending us the device ID information and setting your profile to public, you may use your own device.  However, we will still have a device for you as a backup, so it doesn't change our costs.  


It became clear to me that the latest-and-greatest GPS watches are far from survey grade, even if they cost $300-500.



If I sign up for the 100 and DNF after completing 50 miles, do I get a 50-mile buckle and official finish?


No, for a couple reasons.  First, you wouldn't have run the same trails as the 50 mile runners.  Secondly, it just goes against the spirit of the event.  I grew up in the everyone's-a-winner, participant-trophy era.  Sadly, that philosophy has crept into most ultramarathons because runners expect it, and RDs don't have the guts to push back.  


Some will charge me with being elitist for taking this approach.  Quite the opposite, though.  It comes down to this: I know you can complete the race, and I respect you too much to sell you short.  (The oldest finisher was 62 years young, so the cutoffs aren't impossible or elitist.)  Unlike some, I believe the prospect of failure is exactly the thing that causes us to grow as runners, as individuals.  If I give you a consolation prize after you have failed to complete what you set out to do, then I deny you the growth that comes with the failure.  I deny you the experience of being torn, only to heal and come back stronger.  

Are registration fees refundable?  


Nope.  I've already spent them all on booze and blackjack.  By booze and blackjack I really mean permits, advertising, supplies, insurance, belt buckles, t-shirts, hoodies, toilets, and myriad other race-related expenses.  

Can I transfer my entry to a buddy?


Yes, but please let us know at least 60 days in advance so we can order them the correct shirt size.  

I rolled my ankle, can I roll my entry to next year? 
Unfortunately, no.  Even though you can't make it and it's not your fault, most (or all) of your race fee is spent putting on the race, whether or not you show up. 

I see you have a prize purse.  Isn't that against the spirit of ultrarunning?

Training to win an ultramarathon is nearly a full-time job these days.  Paying a small prize purse that might cover a winner's entry fee and travel hardly seems inappropriate.  Some argue that prize purses inspire top runners to dope.  But with "large" ultramarathon purses being fairly modest compared to other sports (or working a fast food job), it is probably sponsorships and fame playing larger roles in doping.  Either way, top ultrarunners deserve to make a living doing what they love.  The sport of ultrarunning is growing and moving out of the shadows.  We can deny this.  We can complain about it from the sidelines.  Or we can realize that we are the tenants of the sport for this generation and shoulder the responsibility of making sure the growth happens responsibly.  I personally would like to see race directors come together to at least test their top male and female finisher.  To put our money where our mouth is, the top male and female finisher from the 2016 Ouray 100 and Ouray 50 will be subject to drug testing for steroids, testosterone, EPO, and THC.  (Fear not, Colorado people.  Only THC levels above the World Anti Doping Agency threshold of 150 ng/ml will trigger a positive result.  So in other words, lay off the magic brownies immediately prior to or during the race.)


I heard that the 2015 race was 120+ miles.  Is that true?


No, the course was not 120+ miles--but it probably felt like it!!! 


There were two contributing factors that led some to genuinely believe this.  


First, the 2015 race as originally planned was indeed too long (between 107-108 miles).  Late snow and lingering snowpack prevented getting good GPS tracks and verifying splits on the highest sections of the course.  The overage was identified during the event, and I made the call to trim mileage off the end of the race (permanently eliminating the New Horsethief section).  This adjustment brought the final mileage down to around 102 miles (based on CalTopo mileage of the cleanest GPX files).  Still, having a route adjustment mid-race certainly was a curveball for 2015 runners and created unnecessary challenges and headaches that I regret. Luckily, 2016 runners will benefit from better route data thanks to the 2015 runners who shared their complete GPS tracks.  


The second issue that has fed the 120+ mile rumor is related to poor GPS reception.  The San Juans are some of the steepest and most rugged mountains in the continental US, particularly where this race is held.  So the valleys are deeper than most, which obscures more of the sky than virtually any other terrain, short of a canyon.  To make matters worse, much of the route has significant tree cover, further reducing how many satellites a GPS watch can see.  The 2015 race also had a couple terrible storms, and you guessed it, that reduces reception as well.  When comparing the GPS tracks to satellite imagery, some tracked well, other swung wildly over the actual route.  However, one thing that was very consistent was runners picking up extra mileage any time they stopped at aid stations.  All of the aid stations are in lower areas with poor view of the sky.  The poor reception resulted in the GPS watches thinking their runner was going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. For a shorter race this would be less of an issue.  But with most runners taking over two days to complete the race, the stops at aid stations become much longer and consequently create bigger errors, totaling miles in this case.  

There was one GPX track that did read 120 miles.  (It is the yellow track in all pictures.)  However, the track has numerous issues.  Like the others, it registered bonus miles at all aid stations.  But it also picked up miles at other stops.  For example, the runner got two bonus miles while (smartly) waiting out a storm on the Ironton loop:

A closer look at the whole track illustrates a host of issues.  There are countless places where the track zig zags around a clearly straight section of road or trail.  In other spots, the track simply jumps a quarter or half mile, and then jumps back.  

It became clear to me that the latest-and-greatest GPS watches are far from survey grade, even if they cost $300-500.

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