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Race Preview: 2020 Banana Slug Backyard Ultra (Champoeg Park)

**GIVEN THE UNCERTAINTY OF THINGS DUE TO COVID-19, PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE PREVIEWING THIS RACE AS IF IT IS STILL OCCURRING . WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO FOLLOW THESE RACES ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR THEIR WEBSITES TO DETERMINE IF CHANGES ARE BEING MADE**

It’s not every race that could truly be called one of a kind, but the Banana Slug Backyard Ultra is the first of its kind in Oregon. Inspired by Big’s Backyard Ultra, this will be held at Champoeg Park outside of Newberg on April 18th. The basic premise is participants will be completing an approximately 4 mile loop on the hour, every hour. The winner is the last person that completes a loop by themselves.

Official start time for the event is 7 am. At each hour after that, a cowbell will be rung signaling the start of the next loop. Any runners not in the corral receive a DNF, as the rules require every entrant must start at the same time, regardless of when they finished their previous lap. In deference to safety, at 7 pm the course will change to a paved loop during the evening hours. It is highly recommended all participants bring night gear (lights, vests, extra batteries). A covered pavilion will be available for use to store all gear.

Registration does include camping fees (currently $95), so participants can set up at 6 pm Friday and pick up their packets. Day of event packet pickup will be available at 6 am. There will be aid stations and restroom access at the start area, but no aid on the course. It is recommended that participants bring additional food items to fuel for this kind of event. Registration will close the week before the event (April 11th) or when they hit the cap of 50 participants, whichever comes first. A portion of the proceeds are going towards the nonprofit, all volunteer Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue group.

The backyard ultra format is in my opinion the best way to test out an ultra for first timers. The fairly short loop (4 miles) allows for adjustments to be made in fueling and gear without a major crisis. Champoeg park is not overly technical, allowing participants to be aware of form to reduce fatigue and chances for injury. The mid April event date means that the weather can be a wild card, but with access to a covered area and the proper gear, that should not be a major issue for the average runner used to training in this area.

Banana Slug Backyard Ultra

When: April 18th

Where: Champoeg State Park, 239 NE Champoeg Rd., St. Paul

Distance: 4.1667 miles x your limit, winner is last man standing, must complete a loop

Cost: $95 online

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