Bighorn Trail Run -- Cameron Brings Home 2nd Place



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.


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.


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



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!


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!!





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. 





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



Bighorn Foot Model



The Pain is Real
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