Race Preview: 2021 Backcountry Rise 50 miler/50k/20 miler

DayBreak Racing puts on some of the most beautiful trail races, and once I’m back to “ultra shape” again, there are a few of their events on my bucket list. The 2021 Backcountry Rise 50 miler/50k/20 miler is one of them, and this year it will occur over the weekend of July 17-18th, 2021. This race will take place at the historic site of Mt St Helens, with it’s gorgeous backdrop of the lakes and mountains, such as Mt. Margaret Backcountry. This is truly an unforgettable location for a race and a good reminder of why we are so fortunate to live in the Pacific NW.

All three distances will start and finish at the Mt. St. Helens Science & Learning Center, a fascinating volcano observatory.  The 50 miler and 50k will occur on Saturday, July 17th and the 20 miler will be the following day, Sunday the 18th. All will be challenging and often remote, with large ascends and declines, and stunning views of the Cascade Volcanoes and the surrounding beauty of the backcountry and nature all around.

The 50 miler will start at 6:00AM. There will be two clockwise loops on mostly single-track trails. Six aid stations will be available out on the course, and ultra experience will be required, as there is a total elevation gain and loss of 11,800 feet on this challenging course.

The 50k will take off an hour after the 50 miler, starting at 7:00AM. Though this distance is a bit shorter, it will also be very challenging, with some very rugged and difficult sections. This is most definitely NOT a beginner’s 50k and there is one “epic” clockwise loop, also on backcountry single-track trails. You can expect 8,000 feet of gain and loss, and there are three aid stations on this course. You’ll also be treated to views of Mt Rainier, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, and Mt Hood, as well as Mt Margaret Backcountry’s lakes and ridgelines.

Lastly, the 20 miler will take place that Sunday at 8:00AM. This course follows a large clockwise loop and there is about 4,800 feet of gain and loss. Most of this course is on single-track trails and is also considered very challenging. There are two full aid stations for runners.

As previously mentioned above, prior experience is required for all 50 miler and 50k entrants. All must have completed at least one mountain trail 50k prior to race day, and will be prompted to enter a finish result from a previous ultra-distance race when registering. There will be significant distance between aid stations and many sections of the trails are very remote as well as rugged, which means infrequent maintenance of the terrain. Also, at minimum, all racers are REQUIRED to  have capacity for AT LEAST 35-40 ounces of hydration/water, a lightweight jacket, and a safety whistle. If you show up on race day without these items, it’s possible that you will be disqualified from the race.

There will be race day cutoff times, which are listed on the website. Please keep these in mind when attempting the Backcountry Rise. Drop bags will be available at the Johnson Ridge Aid Station, so plan accordingly.

Aid stations will be well stocked with water, Tailwind energy drink, Skout Backcountry trail bas, GU gels, PB&J, soda, fruit, chips, gummi bears, and some other ultra fair and basic first aid supplies. This is a CUPLESS race, so please don’t leave your hydration vessel behind.

The 20 miler is currently sold out, but you can add your name to the waiting list for free. There are still spots available in the 50k and 50 miler but you’d better hurry!!



What: 2021 Backcountry Rise 50 miler/50k/20 miler

When: July 17th & 18th, 2021

Where: Mt. St. Helens Science & Learning Center, Toutle, WA

Cost: $180 for 50 miler, $150 for 50k, and $110 for 20 miler.  20 miler is SOLD OUT but wait list is available!

Register: Here

About Author

I'm the owner of Healthy Girl Fitness and I'm a personal trainer, certified AFAA group exercise instructor, and an RRCA certified running coach in SW Portland. I am also the mother of two young boys and am on the board at my youngest son's school. I led a relatively inactive life throughout my 20's until I discovered the world of fitness and running. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and haven't looked back since.

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