Don’t Run A-fowl

Halloooo, Backboners. If you haven’t done so already on our website, the head chicken respectfully requests that you take a good peep at the game rules. They are  important. Please read them.


The Backbone Trail has been a vision of Southern California runners and hikers for over 50 years. Because of the exhaustive and oft-unrecognized efforts of park rangers, elected officials, property owners, environmentalists and hundreds of community activists and volunteers, you have the opportunity to traverse this truly sacred ridgeline trail. It is our supreme privilege to be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains; honor this privilege by leaving no trace of your time here beyond the flashbacks amazing memories it will afford.


Once you sign up and receive our seal of approval, evidence of which will be in the form of a charge to your credit card, you have until February 1, 2013 to change your mind and receive a refund, less a $25 processing fee. After that, your entry fee will serve as a generous donation to those still in the game. Oh, and no bib transfers, sorry.


If for any reason the event is cancelled, be it an act of nature, National or State Park Service permit issues, or any other unforeseeable circumstance, the race management will make every effort to refund all unobligated funds to entrants who provide the necessary contact information. As with any wilderness outing, Mother Nature, state and federal authorities hold the cards, and there can be no guarantees that all entry fees will be refunded if the run is not held as advertised.


Your safety, and the preservation of the wilderness environment, are the top priorities at all times.

  • Multiple factors are evaluated by the Park Service to approve races, and we are in the process of securing the numerous permits and approvals necessary to hold this event this year. To help us retain the possibility of future events, it is essential that you leave no evidence of your time on the Backbone Trail. Properly dispose of your trash at Aid Stations and respect the natural environment through which you are running.
  • While crews and pacers are not allowed out on the course itself, we have designated aid stations (see table here) that are accessible to those who wish to encourage you at various points along the way. Too, the staggered start format is designed to ensure you have as much companionship as possible from your fellow players along the way, so do take advantage of the bonding time.
  • Stay on the course! If you get lost, retrace your steps to get back on course. If you must leave the trail for any reason, leave your pack or water bottle on the trail at your point of exit.
  • Bib numbers must always be visible from the front for runner identification.
  • Check in and out with the radio volunteers at every aid station. Do not assume they saw you enter or leave as we will need to account for every runner along the route. It is our only way to know where to look for you in case of an emergency!
  • Event management (which includes volunteers out on the course) retain the right to relieve you of your official entrant status when you violate normal protocol for trail events, like cutting switchbacks or taking aid at other than designated sites. Should we take this option, you’ll be relieved of your bib number and will be expected to leave the course.
  • If you are defrocked of your race bib or bail voluntarily, you must notify the nearest aid station captain and hand over your bib number. Leaving the course without doing so could initiate a costly search and rescue operation that you will be required to pay for.
  • Aid station cutoff times are not negotiable.
  • After the final runner passes through each aid station, a safety sweep will be running the course and removing ribbons. If you leave an aid station, you must be prepared to make it to the next one.
  • Do not try to return to a prior aid station, as the course markings may already have been pulled if you are near the back end of the field of runners.
  • Please be courteous and kind to race volunteers, they are there to help you and are enduring much inconvenience and discomfort on your behalf. Fawning and other extreme displays of gratitude are highly encouraged.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Run A-fowl

  1. Peter Fish

    Hi, Looking forward to a great run. I have a request….. At the moment I’m working on a ride to the start, but for now, please leave me a spot on the bus. Could I be moved to the 6:00 start time(I’m now at 9)? After the run, I’m hoping to get enough sleep to make an early trip back to Santa Cruz to enjoy Easter with my family Sunday am. With the 9 am start, I’m guessing I won’t be finished until 1 or 2 in the morning, if I’m lucky. This doesn’t bode well for a safe drive home. A 6am start would give me a bit more leeway for my plans. Thanks, Peter (Langusto) Fish

    Sent from my IPad

  2. scott

    Do you expect or have plans for a drop bag aid station or do we need to carry flashlights etc from the outset? S


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