Interactive (Google Map) [updated 2018-07-05]
Wilderman Full (2018) (PDF) [updated 2018-07-11]
Wilderman Half (2018) (PDF) [updated 2018-07-10]
Spectator (2018) (PDF) [updated 2018-07-05]
Full Bike Course GPX (2018) (right-click, save as) [updated 2018-01-10]
Full Run Course GPX (2018) (right-click, save as) [updated 2018-07-11]
Half Bike Course GPX (2018) (right-click, save as) [updated 2018-05-31]
Half Run Course GPX (2018) (right-click, save as) [updated 2018-07-05]
Distances may change slightly as we set up the course.
- The current planned route of the Wilderman is 2.4 miles swimming, 110.9 miles on bike and 26.7 miles on foot. [updated 2018-07-05]
- The current route for the Half Wilderman is 1.2 miles swimming, 63.2 miles on bike and 15.6 miles on foot. If your math is as good as mine you’ll quickly realize this is slightly more than half. We considered changing the name to the Slightly More Than Half Wilderman, but it doesn’t have the same ring. [updated 2018-07-05]
Overall the course will get progressivly harder as you go. Here's why -
- The swim will take place in the Mt. Carmel recreation area reservoir, outside of Langdon, ND. It will be a two loop swim with a beach start. Water temperature should be in the upper 70’s or low 80’s.
- The bike course will start at the reservoir, connect to a loop through the gorge which will be completed twice, and end at a remote location. Bikes will be transported from the remote location to the finish line for you. About 1/3 of the bike leg takes place on a state maintained multi-use trail system. General mountain bike skills are all that is required and although there are many hairpin turns and undulating terrain, the trails are relatively wide and don't require expert biking skills. There may be a few short sections of tougher terrain, but if conditions are dry the bike course will awesome. The balance of the miles will be on gravel or minimum maintenance roads. Again, lots of climbing, though no single climb will be bigger than 400' of ascent. Each loop will involve at least one river crossing (without a bridge), which in most years is fordable at thigh deep or less levels. If it is a high water year we will provide lifejackets at the crossing and possibly a rope and/or raft (for ferrying the bike). Normal or low water years you will be responsible for your own bike at the crossing. Average bike time for all full riders is about 11.5 hours. [updated 2019-07-06]
- The run is a doozy. It will be extremely grueling. Starting at the remote location, the run is a continuous one way trip to the finish line. 75% of the run's length will be in the gorge proper on a network of hunter trails and creek bottom running. 20% will be on gravel roads. Less than 5% will be pavement. It is spectacular country but the ascents and descents, although relatively short, will be frequent, sometimes very steep, and often punishing. There are approximately 6 miles of creek bottom running. Some is easy, shale bottomed creek while some is more rugged with possible boulders, deadfall, and/or other obstacles. The trails will vary signifigantly from good double track to rough and rutted (and at times partly overgrown) ATV trail, to very narrow singletrack. The run will involve one significant river crossing, at which lifejackets will be provided in the event it is too deep to ford (extremely unlikely). Most runners will be tackling the run at least partially in darkness which adds to the difficulty. Average run time for all full runners is about 11 hours. [updated 2019-07-06]
Half racers will do one lap of the swim and one lap of the bike -- with a few extra miles at the beginning and end of the bike this means they will do about 63 miles of biking total. They will then face the second part of the run. This means that they won't have nearly as much elevation gain as folks on the full course but will have some of the tougher creek sections, and the river crossing on the run. The run will be about 17 miles. Good times!
The relay course will be the same as for the full race.
- July 19 (Friday), 5:00-6:00pm - Race check in, Frost Fire (11950 Co Hwy 55, Walhalla, ND 58282)
- July 19 (Friday), 5:30-6:30pm - Pre-race dinner, Frost Fire
- July 19 (Friday), 6:45 or 7:00 pm - Pre-race meeting, Frost Fire
- July 20 (Saturday), 7:00am - Race start (full and half), Mt. Carmel Dam Recreation Area (east of 104th St NE and 108th Ave NE, Langdon, ND 58249).
- July 21 (Sunday), TBA morning - Awards (full and half), Frost Fire
- July 21 (Sunday), 11:00am - Cutoff (full and half, 28 hours), Frost Fire
We will not have SPOT trackers for racers in 2021, so it is important to make sure you check in (and out) with every volunteer you see. Do what they say and take their advice. [updated 2021-07-12]
This is a difficult endurance race in a remote setting. Much of the course does not get cell phone coverage. Although we will have ATV's on hand to help with medical emergencies, extraction of racers from some sections of the course will be difficult and time consuming, and much of the run portion is simply inaccessible except on foot. Racers should approach this event with a 'self rescue' mentality - particularly for the run course and at the very least, understand that in an emergency situation (broken bone, etc.) it may take a signficiant amount of time before help arrives. Racers may choose to carry a SPOT satellite tracker or similar device which may speed up response time. If an injury occurs to a racer without such a device, we will likely only know once a fellow racer who passes them and becomes aware of the situation reports it at the next manned checkpoint/aid station. Racers carrying emergency devices will be responsible for making sure emergency signals are communicated to the appropriate race staff (numbers will be given before the race start) either directly or through a third party (loved one following their progress at home, for example). Mandatory gear will need to be carried on both the biking and running portions. The list, published before the race, includes essential items such as water purification, space blanket, a light source, basic first aid, and navigation gear (GPS or compass). Your phone will most likely not work in the gorge; if you intend for people to follow along from home, you will need a satellite tracker (we love 'em, but here are some other thoughts). (updated 2016-07-12).
Runners are encouraged to use GPS capable devices as navigational aids. The bike and run will be marked with Wilderman signs, white trail markers or white trail markers with black arrows for turns. Some of the arrows are reflective. Areas of night travel will also have reflective Wilderman emblems on some markers. In some key places, and especially at the ends of the creek running sections, there will be larger arrow signs. We also use lots of surveyor’s tape to make the course route clear. More on this at the prerace meeting. If you bring a phone for navigation, please note that you will have poor or no service while in the gorge, but GPS will still work. (updated 2016-07-12)
This is an unsupported race outside of aid stations. Feel free to bring your caravan along to cheer, but they can't stop, fix your bike on the course, and fill your water bottles outside of official volunteer aid stations. Please respect this rule, as it allows the most people to race in near-solitude.
Mosquitos are present in the area. At dusk and dawn they can get particularly bad if you are moving slowly. Also, Dermacentor andersoni and Dermacentor variabilis are present. (Wood ticks and dog ticks. We have not seen any deer ticks, Ixodes scapularis, but have heard that some may be lurking.) We recommend bringing spray with a high DEET content for areas with dense bush, using permethrin-treated clothing, and/or nylon long pants/sleeves, or just not stopping!
There is some poison ivy along sections of the course although racers staying on trails should not be affected. Racers with severe poison ivy allergies may want to wear long pants/socks/calf sleeves during the running portion. Race creator Andy is personally severely allergic to the plant but has only ever had an issue when he's been off trail.
Pre-race meal (Friday night) for full and half wilderpeople. All finishers of the half will get a non-transferrable $50 credit for entry into the full next year. Other prizes will be awarded to top finishers of both the full and the half depending on sponsors and race numbers, but please don't do this or any ENDrace for the prizes--prizes are not our focus--quality suffering is.
Rules and Required Gear
Swim cap required (provided by ENDracing, or bring your own)
Wetsuits are optional
2 loops of 1.2 mile course for Wilderman competitors and 1 loop for Half Wilderman competitors, keeping buoys to your left.
Report to volunteer (standing on bottom allowed) between loops.
Use of swim-it or swimmer safety devices are allowed, but they cannot be used for forward progress.
Racers are allowed one small transition bag/bin at T1, labeled with name on it. This bag will be returned to the finish line by race staff.
Outside help during transition is not allowed.
Bike: Cross bike or mountain bike. Cross bike tires must have a minimum width of 32 mm (equivalent to a 1.25 inch mt. bike tire).
Helmet. All racers must have and wear a helmet at all times on the bike portion of the course.
Ability to carry at least 50 ounces of water.
Front and rear bike lights (hopefully you won’t need them but some of you probably will so make sure they work!)
Cell phone with full battery (preferably with GPS capabilities)
Follow traffic rules (not a closed course, some ATV traffic may be on trails)
Report to volunteers (racer name) at aid stations and other volunteer locations
If it has been wet, portions of the trail system may be muddy and a bike with good tire clearance is recommended, or else you should be prepared for a very annoying slog.
Bikers will ford the Pembina River with their bike. There will be race personnel on hand with safety equipment as needed. [updated 2019-07-06]
There will be 4-5 aid stations per loop of the bike. These will have water and Hammer Nutrition products or something similar. There may be food items at some of the aid stations, but no details yet.
Outside help between transition areas is not allowed. Includes (but not limited to) water bottle fills, mechanical issues, etc. Plan on bringing what you need in order to keep yourself moving until the next aid station.
Headlamp; and strongly recommend a handheld light and extra batteries. If you are doing the full race, you WILL be running in the dark.
Cell phone (preferably with GPS capabilities) -- but there will not always be service
Ability to carry 50 ounces of water
Water purification method (iodine tabs are fine)
Pacers are allowed after the first gorge section (beginning at Aid 4), approximately 40% of the way through the run. This is a pretty spectacular part of the course, and pacers will have fun!
You must leave Aid 4 carrying at least 1L of water. You will need it, and it's easier to bring it along than to stop and filter/purify.
Pacers cannot carry a runner's mandatory gear.
There are three sections of creek running for the Wilderman, and one creek section during the Half Wilderman. These are unmarked except for the start and end. Once you begin a creek section follow the creek until you see a sign and/or tape indicating the exit point. Trails and all intersections are marked. Exits are marked very well.
There will be 2-4 aid stations on the run. The run is through remote terrain and racers should plan on being self-sufficient. Runners will ford the Pembina River; it should be no problem this year and there will be race personnel there.
Please treat this as an unsupported race (except for your drop bags and official aid stations). As noted above, outside help between transition areas is not allowed.
- All swimmers must be out of the water by 9:30 am (2.5 hours after start).
- Must transition from bike to run by 10:30 pm. This is 15.5 hours after the start. If you do not finish the bike section by 10:30, you will be diverted to the run route for the Half Wilderman. Trust us, this is still challenging.
- For the Half Wilderman – The time cut offs are the same, but you probably won’t need them.
- All participants must be at the finish by 11am, Sunday morning (28 hours after start).
What bike should I ride? The most popular bike is the mountain bike, but the advantage of each will depend on the year. If dry, a cyclocross bike could be faster. If wet, a mountain bike would likely be faster. The trails aren’t too technical that make a mountain bike a necessity, but a mountain bike with suspension would surely be welcomed at times.
Are you guys affiliated with IRONMAN? Heck no! We are a small grassroots company that has a passion for extreme endruance events and favor low entry fees, no frills, and brutal courses. Ironman is a big multi-national corporation that puts on huge, expensive, high profile events and has a whole bunch of merchandising tie ins. Yeah, the distances of the Wilderman are the same as that of an Ironman and we both have letters made into people as part of our logo, but thats the end of it! In fact, our logo is meant to parody Ironman, which is often heralded (by triathletes anyway) as one of the toughest event there is. If Ironman is your limit, don't even bother with Wilderman!
Can you tell me about aid stations? You will have access to a drop bag three times (or two times if you are doing the half race) during the course. We hope to have various other goodies at aid stations (electrolyte drink, a variety of food) but won't know the details until closer to the race date. Best to prepare to bring all the food you'd want for the race and then modify based on the information we give you closer to the event.
Prepare one (optional) bag for each of the aid stations and label them with your name and aid station # accordingly. We will not be moving bags from station to station this year, but everything will get to the finish line eventually. Leave all bags at Start or T1 (we will have a place for them).
- Finish line bags - a good place to keep your car keys. These will end up at the finish line (even if you don't). *Every racer should have this unless you have a support person.
- Aid 1 - Bike. Pass at bike miles ~12, 61, 109 (full only) *half racers may not need/want this
- TA 2 - Bike to run. Access at bike mile 64 (for half), 112 (for full). *Every racer should have this unless you have a support person.
- Aid 4 - Run. Pass at run mile ~14.
How will the logistics work? There are three primary race locations - TA 1: the start and swim/bike transition (same location - Mt. Carmel Dam Reservoir); TA 2: the bike/run transition (a remote location), and the finish line. Racers will meet Friday night at location C (the finish line) for pre-race meal and meeting (time TBD). Also Friday night they should drop bikes and get their swim/bike transition set up at TA 1, in the event they are staying in town and not camping at the Mt. Carmel campground (which is TA 1). The transition area will be manned overnight by race staff and bikes locked together. Race morning there will be two options -- racers having supporters with vehicles can simply meet at TA 1 30 minutes prior to start time, ready to go, to be checked in. Otherwise, racers can choose to take advantage of a shuttle option, parking their cars at the finish line to catch the shuttle to the start. The shuttle will leave the finish line for the start line approximately 1 hour prior to race start! After the race it will be the racers responsibility to return to the finish line (we will provide directions) once they are recovered to pick up their bikes. We will transport any transition gear left at TA 1 to the finish line, but make sure it is all together in a clearly marked bag so that you get it back. Make sense? Hope so! Ask more questions if you got em! firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a list of lodging opportunities that we know of, but feel free to search around more. The Pembina Gorge is located approximately 2 hours drive from Grand Forks, ND and 1.5 hours drive from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Race Start - 0 miles from swim start, 17 miles from finish -- This is Mt. Carmel Recreation Campground, a great camping spot.
Mt. Carmel Recreation Campground (Facebook)
701-256-2220 or 701-256-396 (direct line to the office at the campground)
10850 104th Street
Below are links to the tourism/business directory websites for nearby towns, which include lodging options.
- Walhalla, ND - 20 miles from swim start, 5 miles from finish
- Sanctuary Guest House is now Holly Street Bed and Breakfast.
- Langdon, ND - 12 miles from swim start, 30 miles from finish
- Cavalier, ND - 45 miles from start, 35 miles from finish