Bighorn Trail Run — Cameron Brings Home 2nd Place

by Shay Mann on June 17, 2007

in Training

PHOTOS THROUGHOUT BLOG
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Dwight Schuh and Cameron Hanes at the start of the Bighorn Ultramarathon

After all the daily blogging, showing anyone and everyone interested what I do for success on the trail and in the mountains on the hunt, we finally have closure to this chapter of my life – The Bighorn Trail Run 2007 is in the books. If you followed the last three weeks of my “Day in the Life” of a backcountry bowhunter blog, hopefully you learned one thing about me? If I set a goal, I am committed 100%, physically and mentally, to be the very best I can be. This goes for anything I do, bowhunting, running, working, shooting, etc. So, as the blog spelled out, all the recent diet and training was geared toward one goal-to run the crazy tough, 32.4 Mile Bighorn Ultra in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming and complete the run with my best ever ultra marathon finish. My best before this race, was a 6th place finish at last year’s S.O.B. Ultra in Ashland, Oregon. The by-product of this goal, was to hopefully show those who might have the wrong impression of hunters, that we are a passionate group of people. All the effort I expended in regard to conditioning is for bowhunting, period.
 

Next to my family, bowhunting is my life. I know there are many out there, non-hunters or whoever that have this “bubba” image associated with what we do. Thinking we all just drive around with weapons hanging out the windows of the rig or guys in back of a truck ready to shoot at anything that moves. I know the truth. We all know the truth. Successful hunters, especially guys that hunt the mountains, are as dedicated group of people as there are. I have received hundreds of emails and a number of postings on my blog from guys who want to know more about training, want to do more, and are motivated by this topic because they believe it can make them a better hunter. They are right. Success in the mountains is directly tied to preparation. They want to increase their commitment to the tradition of hunting because it MEANS that much. Getting emails and notes from all of you who’ve been inspired is another key part to “what drives me.” I think together we can “redefine” what it means to be a hunter in the eyes of individuals that don’t know the feelings associated with achieving a life long goal in the mountains. These people will never know the proud feeling of laying it all out on the line, coming to the end of a blood trail deep in the wilderness and wrapping your hands around the incredible antlers of a trophy bull elk you’ve brought down with an arrow. I’ve been there. I’ve looked skyward with my eyes closed and said, “Thank you.” It sends chills up my spine to think about it now as I type this on the plane back from Wyoming. To me, my experiences in the mountains have been life changing, because above all else, it proved to me that a small town kid from Oregon can set lofty goals, give everything and achieve them. I love the wilderness because, unlike back here in the real world, who you know and how much money you have or make doesn’t mean anything. It is all about preparation and hard damn work. To many bowhunters, that is all we want. A chance. For those of you new to the backcountry, know above all else, if I can do it, anyone can-but you will have to earn it. Bowhunting in big country for big bulls or bucks is the pinnacle. Some have the goal of experiencing backcountry success, but when the going gets tough, and it will, they throw in the towel. Keep this quote in mind – put it on your bow somewhere and look at it when faced with stiff challenge in the unforgiving mountains – “The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward.”
 

The best part to all this, as I alluded, together we can take hardcore hunting to a new level – earn more respect for what we do from people who might not hunt. Instead of thinking “bubba” when the topic of hunting comes ups, we can illicit thoughts of “passion” and “dedication.” We can make a positive influence on the great tradition of hunting and to me, that is what it is all about. We are the next generation coming up – let’s take it to the next level.
 

After that little “soapbox” digression, let’s get back to the race. Here are the dirty details. I finished 2nd overall in 4 hours 53 minutes and 9 seconds. Nasty race, but I had a plan. My plan was to go out hard and try to “break” all the other runners by hammering out the first 14 miles, which included some tough ascents (up to 9,000 feet) and brutal descents on game trails. Jumping over logs, slipping through the mud, sloshing through snow – this section had it all. I went down hard twice. Tripping on the steep down hill and flying like Superman, except not really flying, I was skidding down the hill over rocks, sticks and mud with my arms out. That part was like Superman.
 

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Getting It All Ready

 

The other deal with this was it was wet up there. Lots of water in Wyoming this year. Wayne Endicott will love it as he drew a killer tag for the country we were running in. Those bull should have every opportunity to get big! The bad part is my shoes were soaking wet and muddy and would be for the entire 32 mile run. This is real hard on feet – lots of painful blisters for most the run. This ultra had me hurting and more banged up as I have ever been on a run.
 

Ironically enough, I moved into first place at about mile 7, as we were running on an elk trail and must have spooked a herd. There were fresh tracks running down the trail – this gave me a shot of motivation. I was in my element. That part of the race took me back to times when I’ve had to hustle to head off a herd of elk while in the wilderness. I envisioned myself running with my bow down the trail casting glances through the dark timber for any sign of elk. It was awesome and I knew that after passing the guy who had been leading, he was going to be non-factor – a bowhunter running in some of Wyoming’s best elk country is a tough guy to beat. This section included a long 5 mile uphill section where the runners behind me would be able to see me from a great distance. I made it a point to hammer this section out as hard as I could, hoping they would say, “Damn, that Under Armour guy from Oregon is a machine. The race is for second.” I arrived at the top of the hill after completing the 14 mile section with at least a four or five minute lead. Perfect. I grabbed a few goodies, shed my shirt (it was warming up fast) and was off. The bad part, hammering out that portion had my quads and calves on FIRE. I had to be on stage though – there was still 18 miles left. I needed to pretend that it was all good to squash the hopes of the guys behind me, who were no doubt looking for a sign I was spent-hands on the head, bent over, hands on knees, whatever. My plan worked, almost. I led the race until mile 24 or 25. The problem the race didn’t end at mile 24 or 25. I stopped at an aid station to refuel, feeling like crap (stomach issues – could have been the altitude? Living at sea level, I am not real accustom to running at 9,000 feet – ended up hurling a couple of times post race. Nice.), and two runners zipped in grabbed some stuff and were gone before I was. There were spirits broke and it wasn’t theirs.
 

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2nd Place Overall Award

I keep hammering away, caught the guy for second (Trey Warren from Lander, WY), but never could catch the winner and it is no wonder. He is a machine. Goes by the name Matthew Hart out of Seattle, WA. He is Sean Meissner’s buddy, who was slated to run a 100 mile race but decided to run my race instead. I wish he would have run the 100. Talked with him and Sean afterwards – both great guys who run for Montrail – very talented runners. They are on an ultra running road trip and the Big Horn was but one stop. 

Check out more about the dude that beat me here – Click Here. He is an endurance machine.

Here is Sean’s link- Click Here

 

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Cam and Sean Meissner – Oregon Ultra Stud

 

And, last but certainly not least my good friend and bowhunting mentor, Dwight Schuh. For those of you who’ve followed my blog, you know that the Big Horn was to be his first ultra. Wow, he picked a tough one, but at 62 years old, he is no doubt in his PRIME! When the gun went off we all started together and Dwight was on his way – first ultra – awesome. Six hours and 51 minutes and 37 seconds later DS broke the finish line after a great and noteworthy run. He looked like a stud out there – a real mountain ultra runner. Me and Guy Eastman, who came over the hill to film, were very impressed with how strong he looked. I think Dwight will inspire and motivated many to believe they can achieve more! Great job Dwight – 3rd place in his age group!
 

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Dwight Schuh – His First Ultra
 

It was a great day to be alive! Despite the misery on the run, I feel so grateful to have the ability to run the mountains. It gives me so much confidence for my true passion – bowhunting. Both disciplines are so similar. They are very difficult, there are many mini-mental battles that go on over the course of a race or a hunt. In both, success finds those that prepare the most, work the hardest and are the strongest mentally. On almost all the races I run, at some time or another, I want to stop. I want to throw in the towel and similarly, on many tough hunts, I want to quit and go home to the good life. To my family. But, mountain hunting has made me tough and that helps me on the runs. The runs make me tough in another way and that helps me in the mountains. Like I say all the time, “It is all mental.” If you believe you can do it, you can. We all have virtually limitless potential. Our bodies are capable of so much more than what we ask of them. Take off the mental handcuffs, get out there and start on your way today. Start on your way to becoming a better hunter and a more confident hunter – by committing yourself to fitness. Gotta believe to achieve!!

 

 

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Here’s A Mountain Dew To Ya – After The Race

Note: A big thank you goes out to Guy Eastman for taking time out of his life to film this experience for me. He did a great job. Look for the footage soon. 

RESULTS LINK

 

 

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Top 50k finishers –
For The Entire List of Runners Click RESULTS

 

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Bighorn Foot Model

 

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The Pain is Real

  • http://www.uhrighuntzone.blogspot.com Darryl Uhrig

    Congrats Cam, You could have finished 20th and it still would have meant alot to us who follow you! The greater the sacrifice the greater the reward…need you say more! Keep up the great work as I look forward to every post.

  • Jake Weston

    Right on! Success on the race, success on your hunts, success in your career and writing, you’re right it all stems from “hard damn work.” And from your daily blogs, there’s no question why you continue to reap success! Truly motivating.

    Love this:

    “…These people will never know the proud feeling of laying it all out on the line, coming to the end of a blood trail deep in the wilderness and wrapping your hands around the incredible antlers of a trophy bull elk you’ve brought down with an arrow. I’ve been there. I’ve looked skyward with my eyes closed and said, “Thank you.” It sends chills up my spine to think about it … I love the wilderness because, unlike back here in the real world, who you know and how much money you have or make doesn’t mean anything. It is all about preparation and hard damn work…”

    By the way, I haven’t done pull-ups since high school. After reading your routine, now I’m doing at least three sets a day at work. I figure when I’m all holed up behind a small patch of scrub pine, pinned down to stay out of sight, It’ll make that craning, off-balance, straining full draw that much easier. Thanks!

  • http://www.canadiandeathrace.com/v2/MainPage.html Mike Philip

    Way to go Cam! And way to go Dwight!

    Its no wonder you guys always shoot the big ones.

    Regards,

    Mike Philip

  • Jason Huhtala

    Congrats Cameron, it was very motivational to be able to follow your preparation and the payoff at the end. I hope to have some success to share with you after this bowhunting season!

  • http://www.westernbiggamehunter.com Trevon Stoltzfus

    Cam,

    Congrats and thanks for making us a part of this journey. I appreciate your charisma and hard work. You are truly a motivator !!

  • James Petker

    I knew you would come out on the top. With as hard as you have been preparing and focusing there was no doubt that you would come out on the top. Congrats to you and Dwight you guys are true motivators, not only in the field but in life.

  • http://www.wildcountryoutdoors.com Marc Smith

    Sweet!!!

    Bout Dang Time! You are the man!! Really appreciate having you as the “Face Man” for all of us Western D-I-Y mountain boys!
    You do the job you were meant to do…very well.

    Thanks Bro!

    Marc

  • Leif Moen

    Cam…..Unbelievable!! Just another chapter in your already great legacy. Thanks to your two incredible books, EBJ, and the net, I’ve been able to follow your success for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to create a venue for all of us to continue to be motivated by all that you do and stand for. Congratulations!

  • http://www.trailrunnermag.com Michael Benge

    Hey, Cam,
    Congrats on your fantastic race and thanks for all your motivation. Also, I thought it was super cool that Dwight Schuh ran the Bighorn too; he’s been a longtime hero of mine because he is understated, hunts the backcountry and is a great writer.
    I faced my own demons last weekend too, running the San Juan Solstice 50 miler in Colorado—13,000 feet of climbing, 9 miles on the Continental Divide, thigh-deep stream crossings, steep snowfields. My quads are trashed. During the race, I swore, “Never again.” But now I’m thinking, “That wasn’t so bad.” Funny how the mind works …

  • http://www.jesseshunting.com Kirk Edgerton

    Cam,

    A big congrats on your finish, sub 5 hours for a trail 50K is absolutely huge! I’ve followed your comments and training log for a couple weeks now, it’s definately motivated me and countless other to get out there and train harder.

    Again, congrats on a very strong race!

    I think I hear ‘Western States’ calling your name?

  • http://www.thebowrack.com Wayne Endicott

    Cameron
    Big congrats. What an awesome accomplishment. We are blessed to have you as a roll model for bowhunting. Reading your account of the race puts a new perspective on mental bravery. Now you got me thinking about running the Butte to Butte here on the 4th of July. And I am never bringing up age as an excuse ever again. Congrats to the Stud Spider Dwight Schuh. Looking forward to reading a full race summary in the next EBJ.
    Again, thanks for the motivation.
    God Bless
    Wayne Endicott

  • zack watkins

    Cam, big congrats. With no doubt when you set out to accomplish you succed. I loved your daily blog it truley inspired me to work harder, maybe you could continue doing something like it for the upcoming hunts? You are a machine, keep working hard the hunts are almost upon us.

  • http://www.cameronhanes.com/ Cameron

    Hey guys, wow, you don’t know how humbling it is to read the nice comments from all of you. A few have posted here on the site, many more have emailed me, but to all of you I just want to say thank you for the support. Keep those comments coming in…inspiration and motivation in contagious.

    Honestly, this support no doubt helped me during the Bighorn Ultra. Like I said in the race re-cap, long hunts and long races are similar in that there are many mental challenges. Where at one time you truly think you can’t go another step, the next you toughen up and again are on your way. I thought of all you hardcore bowhunters out there, following my exploits and how I didn’t want to let you down when I was at my lowest and weakest during the race. It was never easy — the most rewarding accomplishments in life seldom are, but because of my “bowhunting brothers” I got through it. So, again, thank you!

    Keep hunting hard, stay focused and never give up — the dream lives! Cam

  • Jeff

    Wow, what an accomplishment. I too have been following your training blog over the last few weeks. Very interesting and motivating.

    On a related note, what can you tell me about the Vitamineral Green supplement that you take? What benefits do get from it?

  • http://www.pactimo.com/peloton-gallery_48.htm Corbett Mortensen

    Cam,

    Nice job on the race. I chuckled as I read your tactics as I like to use similar ones in mountain bike races and triathlons. I’ve been racing a long time and I can appreciate the effort you’re making.

    I’m new at bowhunting. My friend lent me your book and I’m now hooked much to my wife’s chagrin (another hobby). I’ll be heading to CO this fall going after elk with my bow. I’m looking forward to the break in training and racing as I’m relaxing with a 60 lbs pack at altitude this fall. : )

    Again…nice job! Any spot on the podium is great! Nice toenails by the way. That’s why I like biking!!

    Corbett

  • George Bettas

    Dwight!

    Congratulations! You old dog still have your legs…and lungs!

    See you in mulie country!

    George Bettas

  • Jess Miller

    Congratulations! You make all sportman proud.

  • http://www.cameronhanes.com/ Cameron

    Corbett,
    Thank you for the feedback. I have only been doing ultras for two years now, so I have a lot to learn in regard to racing strategies. I would welcome any advice you have. From the little research I did on your accomplishments, you are no doubt the “real deal”. Welcome to the awesome world of backcountry bowhunting my friend. Tell your buddy “thanks” from me for spreading the word on my book. Sincerely, Cam

  • Rich Howarth

    Cam,

    Nice job to say the least, that time is awesome!

    Of course I know the advantage fitness gives a guy in the backcountry, and I’ve been working hard to get ready this year. But now I’m truely thinking of it as a year-round mission – and you’ve had some influence on that change in mindset. Who knows, maybe start with a half marathon and work my way up?
    Anyway, congrats again on the great race.

  • completesportsman

    Congratulations, good work! I don’t know how you find time to do all the things you do! You have been a great motivator for me the last couple of years, I feel I am in better shape now than I was when I played High School sports, and I’m 31 now. I like the toenails too, thats exactly what mine looked like after my hunt last fall in MT.

  • Shawn B-N-MO

    Cameron,

    Awesome site. I visit at least once a week to catch up on you.
    As I sit here typing this; my copy of Backcountry Bowhunting is sitting next to me. Let me tell you it’s full of more highlighter ink and post-it notes than any other book I ever had in high school or college! On top of that my topo map of the back country we are hunting this year. I’m bringing home an animal this year! You are a motivator and innovator keep up the great work.
    oh, one more thing.
    Nice truck.

  • Cory Gilchriest

    Congrats! I just started to train for trail running…hope to run a few 1/2 marathon trails next spring and work up to the ultras…Great motivation! Thanks! Keeps me in great shape for the WY area 7 elk tag burning a hole in my pocket!!

  • Brad Johnson

    I always see you with the necklace on. Does it have some meaning or no? where did you acquire that?

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