Speedgoat 50k is an International Skyrace!

Speedgoat 50kLate last July, I headed over to the west side of the Wasatch Crest to run in Karl Meltzer’s Speedgoat 50k. Karl bills the race as the “Toughest 50k in the US” and I’ve yet to see anything that comes close. My own Speedgoat performance, in what was my final UTMB tune-up, solidified that opinion. Endless, huge up-and-downs (11,420′ of climbing), seemingly rocky hell on the only flat sections (I enjoyed this section.), and the mental beatdown that accompanies such terrain. The beautiful high Wasatch terrain (The race must average 9,000′ in elevation.), excellent organization, and supply of PBR at the finish helped offset the trauma.

Seriously, Karl puts on a great race for everyone with a little something for the top runners. There’s a guaranteed $3,000 prize purse – 1st $1,000, 2nd $400, 3rd $100 – and a $500 course-record bonus… and you’d better believe that Karl will do whatever he can to put more bread on the line. Last year, the race saw the likes of Nick Clark, Joe Grant, Nick Pedatella, Ben and Bethany Lewis, and Becky Wheeler. This year the field once again promises to be primo with an entrants such as Max King, Nick Clark, Timothy Olson, Ben Lewis, and Becky Wheeler. Update: Less than a week after I published this article, Kilian Jornet added his name to the mix.

Recently, the International Skyrunning Federation named Speedgoat one of five races in the Federation’s inaugural Ultra SkyMarathon Series. That ought to bring in some more talent… maybe even some from overseas.

Speedgoat 50k

Back to the rest of us. Not only does Karl put on a great race, he brings on a slew of sponsors that shower us with schwag. By the time things wrapped up at the finish last year, 131 of 202 starters walked away with prizes. Pretty incredible, huh?

If you’re looking to run Speedgoat this year, entry is now open. The race starts July 28 at 6:30 am MDT at Snowbird Resort in Utah’s Little Cottonwood. You will be challenged!

Call for Comments

  • If you’ve run Speedgoat, share your thoughts and memories.
  • If you’re thinking about running Speedgoat this year, what’s drawing you to the race?

There are 26 comments

  1. Doug (aka Snurfer)

    Last years Speedgoat was my first experience with an ultra and it was very challenging. Karl, Scott and all the aid station folks make this a really fun event and I'm looking forward to doing it again this summer.

  2. Nick P

    Karl definitely puts on a good race, and like you said plenty of beer and pizza at the finish! It is great too that he puts his money where is mouth is by putting up decent cash. Will be interesting to see if being part of the skyrunning series does much in terms of the field.

    Oh, and I am not really sure where these 'flat' sections are that you speak of!

  3. Michelle

    I ran it last year and LOVED it..I have two fist size scars on my bum to show for it after sliding down the snow in hot pants (Nike short shorts)…I left behind a trail of blood and flesh but crossed the finish line with a smile on my face..I signed up for 2012 this time no hot pants…

  4. Danny

    I've never run it and I'm not registering this year, because I honestly have no idea where I'll be in July. Nevertheless, I'm drawn to this race in the future because I love hilly courses. How could I possibly pass up 11,000'+ in a 50k?! I've never heard of such madness!

  5. Steve Pero

    Try a certain 50K in the White Mountains in NH. 18,000' of climb. I finished 2nd there a couple of years ago in 12:20, last year I ran Speedgoat in a tad over 8 hours (not even in the top 50)…but I've discussed this with Karl and he's still saying his race is the toughest because the eastern one is a fat ass event.

    Not sure about SG for me this year, it's just a couple of weeks after Hardrock…but do sign up for it, it's a fantastic event. Pizza and PBR at the finish! (if you can eat) ;-)

    1. Reid L.

      I'd be interested in learning the details of the NH 50K, too.

      Also, what does the low-key no-fee status of the NH 50K have to do with comparisons of toughness?

      1. Steve Pero

        The 50K in NH is an under the radar event, if you're interested contact me offline (through my blog, linked below) and I'll get you in touch with the RD.

        The event in NH is not a true "race" because there is not entry fee, whereas SG has an entry fee and is on the schedule. But I'll stand by my description of it's difficulty. Here's my blog post about it http://tinyurl.com/73v7y9z
        But this is about Speedgoat and I will say I was just as challenged at SG as I was at the NH event. Here's my blog post on last summer's race. http://perogoats.blogspot.com/2011/08/speedgoat.h

        1. Reid Landes

          Thanks for the info & explanation.

          And, yes, it is great to hear that Karl Meltzer's race has been put on the International Skyrace line-up. It's international confirmation that this race is (1) really tough and (2) well-organized. Way to go, Karl!

        2. KenZ

          Oh my God, that report took me back… Thank you. Howie and I went to grad school together around 1992-96. I remember back then him telling me about running 50s and 100s, and we all thought he was nuts. I didn't catch the bug until 2008. Hearing his name dropped and seeing he's still at it is awesome; that's some serious staying power. And Tuckerman's Ravine as well! I lost two arteries at Tuck's one spring… Nice steep skiing though.

      2. Speedgoatkarl

        The "run" in NH is tougher in terms of climbing and technicality,the only thing it does not have is altitude. Still, the "route" in NH is tougher than Speedgoat,however, if I want to say I'll put on a Fat Ass race like the one in NH and make the toughest "race", I could easily go nuts and put together a 50k with 25k of climb, all above 8000',but permits don't allow, just like in NH. A permittable race is what it required for someone to call their race the toughest. It's gotta have entry fees, all that crap.

        Also at the NH race, I don't believe an "elite" runner has run it before, so the winning time or "record" is definately soft. (no offense Steve.:-) )

        I can assure folks that the Speedgoat 50k,being a Sky Race will attract a number or fast Europeans, and behind closed doors, I know a bunch of fast guys and girls that are gonna enter in due time.

        The runner limit is 300 and we now have 116. It will fill eventually,and the more elite runners I get,the more cash I'm throwing into the pot…from my own pocket, cuz' I want to see a real race!

        1. Steve Pero

          Brian Rusieki, who is considered a New England top runner on trails, won that year in around 11:45, about 35 minutes ahead of me and Howie.. But he was clearly out of his element and was with several of us at about the mid point, hiding behind a boulder as a moose mom charged us while protecting her two calfs on the Wildcat ski slope. Brian is a little guy and I was hiding behind him ;-) So that certainly added some time to our finish times…but Karl, I'd love to see you take a shot at the course being a New Hampshire boy!

          People, run Speedgoat, you won't be sorry…but you will be hurtin' ;-)

          1. speedgoatkarl

            yah, Rusiecki is fast, I'll take back the "elite" runner comment. Any run in the Presi's is super hard, if you can call it a run at all. "Racing at 3mph. My next east coast run will likely be Kathadin to Washington. 332 miles of brutality. :-)

  6. ChrisG



    — Not talented but regardless headed to Snowbird/SLC for 11000+ climbing. There better be enough rocks that I forget the boring I-80 drive through Wyoming :)

  7. Jared T.

    I've been debating signing up for this race and this post pushed me over the edge. I can't pass up a supported mountain run in my own backyard.

  8. Dfay

    Like Chris, also not talented, but it's a great chance to run an awesome course with some elite runners. Living in SLC, I can't pass this one up.

  9. Jim Skaggs

    I did the dumb move of "running" Speedgoat last summer in between two of the slam races. I paid for it. I'm already signed up for this year, hopefully to "run" a little faster time.

    Karl, nice to see you signed up for the Buffalo Run.

  10. Sheamus

    Anton is racing, too. I keep hearing about this amazing lineup, but can't find a confirmation of exactly *who* is attending. Do you have an up to date list you can link to, Bryon? Thanks!

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