"Fat Ass events are an ultrarunning tradition. The tradition dates back to 1978 in California when Joe Oakes needed to come up with a 50-mile qualifying time for the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run. The only local distance event he could find was the 50 mile Christmas Relays which required a team of 7, so he entered himself for each of the 7 legs and attracted 10 teams to accompany his solo attempt. Organizing the relay was a chore, so the next year (1979) Joe just invited anyone who wanted to run an informal 50-miler to join him. He called it the Fat Ass 50.

The concept of low-key, no frills, low or no cost events has struck a chord with experienced, self-sufficient runners. The name Fat Ass has stuck for this type of event and numerous Fat Ass events have sprung up around the world.

Another Western States 100-mile participant, Ean Jackson, hosted the first Fat Ass 50 kilometer run in Canada on New Years day in 1993. Inspired by Joe Oakes, his objective was to create an annual hangover cure for himself and a few ultrarunning friends that could be totally managed over the Internet, leaving him free to run with his friends rather than fret about the details of event management.
The concept of providing detailed course directions to each participant and minimizing course markings was an early innovation."

This is the blueprint for the Fat Ass Trail Run that started 10 years ago with 23 people and has grown to over 700. We hold this event on private property so are limited to what, when and how we can mark things as well as we always try to limit our impact on the natural surroundings. Trail running typically requires runners to be more vigilant about their surroundings and requires them to take the responsibility of knowing where they are. We have increased our markings and directions year after year as more runners not familiar with trail running participate but there are limits to what we can or are willing to provide. A bigger concern for us is keeping the cost low while the value high.

Common comments:

mile markers...if you need to know how far you've gone wear a Garmin.
Aid stations...one every 3-4 k is sufficient. If you need aid more frequently carry your own.
Trail markings...ribbon and arrows are what you will get. Keep your head up and your ear buds out so you can hear instructions given at those junctions where we do provide a willing volunteer who will stand in the cold for hours to show you which direction to go. If you miss a turn back up, get back on track and let us know so you can be considered for the most lost award.
Porta potties...1 per 100 hundred runners is the formula. There are 3 indoors for women, 6 indoors for men and we provide 2 porta potties. That is 12 opportunities while the most we have had running is 700.

Erin M:  "I really like the idea of no frills/ low cost events. I've got enough race shirts and finisher medals- what really appeals to me is the chance to race, have a good time, and not pay a small fortune to do it. I had a blast , and I'll be back next year for sure."

 

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