Benefit trail race supporting Wildland Firefighters & their loved ones in time of need.”


*52K distance CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE due to the course being damaged in the Cerro Pelado Fire of 2022. See below for more information.




WILDLAND BACKYARD ULTRA is a “Last Runner Standing” endurance event.  ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT wildland firefighters and families in the event of a line of duty injury or death.

The course is a single loop (of sorts) 4.16 Miles in length – Elevation Gain per loop is 378’ feet.

The course start is at 7996′ and consists of old two track with some single track in rolling terrain through the aspens and ponderosa forest, with peekaboo view of Redondo Mountain.  Due to the elevation, weather may vary considerably.  Be prepared for hot days, rain, hail, wind or snow; expect the night to bring cold temps.

COURSE MAP AND GPX FILE will be available October 1 on the Wildland52.com website.

LOCATION:  Redondo Campground, Jemez Springs NM.

The course will consist 4.16 miles of trail accessed from Redondo Campground.  The race will be staged in a loop that we have reserved; this loop has 12 camp spots which we will share among 40 runners and volunteers.  Due to that parking is restrictive, as is the use of tents (please see AID/COMFORT/CAMPING below).

RACE FORMAT/CONCEPT:  Run 4.16 miles under one hour, again and again. And again.  Whether you come to run a few loops with some friends, want to put your endurance to the test, or strive to be the last runner “standing”, we promise it will be a fun event and all for a great cause!

All race proceeds go to the Eric Marsh Foundation to help our wildland firefighters, their fire family and loved ones in their time of need, whether line of duty death or accident, or illness.

Please learn more about why we created the Wildland 52 and our passion for supporting wildland firefighters on our race website http://www.wildland52.com and the organization we support at Eric Marsh Foundation for Wildland Firefighters.  Even if you don’t run with us, please consider donating to them; every bit counts!

RACE ENTRY:     Limited to 40 runners

Rules for entry MUST be followed!  

REGISTRATION OPENS JUNE 1, 2023.  Beginning June 1, 12:00am:

  1. Email cheryl@wildland52.com with your intent to enter.
  2. Response with waiver will be returned to you once 10 emails of intent have been received.
  3. Runner has 24 hours to donate $75.00 to The Eric Marsh Foundation (please notate to them that it’s for the Wildland Race) AND
  4. Return receipt and waiver (receipt within next 24 hour window) to secure your registration.
  5. We will email directions, instructions, printable parking placard.

*Failure to follow these steps may result in runner not being registered, as registration will not be held over 48 hours.



RACE CHECK-IN will be Friday 10/6 starting at 3:00pm to 8:00pm and 10/15 at 7:00 am.

WILDLAND BACKYARD ULTRA will start at 8:00 am SHARP on October 7, 2023!
Before the start of each loop, the race director will go through the following protocol indicating time until the start.
–3 minutes before the start (whistle will be blown 3 times)
–2 minutes before the start (whistle will be blown 2 times)
–1 minute before the start (whistle will be blown 1 time)
–30 seconds will be announced before start
–10 seconds will be counted down before the start
–START (Cowbell will be rung)

You have ONE HOUR to finish the loop once it has started. If you finish a loop within the hour, you have the opportunity to START the NEXT hour provided you are IN the start corral when the next hour starts. If you do not finish within the hour, you are OUT of the race and considered a DNF.

1) Once you are on the course, you are not allowed any aid from your crew, pacers or otherwise.

2) If return to the race HQ once the loop has started you will be disqualified.

3) You must be ON and STAY on the course, unless you need to use the bathroom (please do so off the trail or road discreetly and practice “LEAVE NO TRACE” ethics.  There will not be a port-a-potty on the course but there are two sets of pit toilets at the race start/finish.

4) No artificial aids (including trekking poles) are allowed.

5) Once you are back to the start and assuming you’ve finished within the hour, you may use the bathroom, eat, drink, sleep, ponder the next loop, etc., but you MUST be back in the start corral, or you will be considered a DNF (NO EXCEPTIONS). This means you MAY NOT start late (even if you are in bathroom).

6) You may also choose not to continue though you will be considered a DNF. Make sure you inform the race staff your intention to drop!

7) If you are one that needs more time in between loops, then run faster so you have more time, but you might burn more energy. You may also choose to run slower which will give you less time back at the start/finish area, but you will burn less energy. You have to choose which strategy works best for YOU.

8) Runners are allowed ONLY TWO PERSON CREWS.

9) One PACER allowed per runner during dark hours only; pacers are responsible for their own aid.  No muling allowed.  Pacers must check in before proceeding onto the course the initial time and check out if they are not continuing on another loop.

10) Runners will continue until ONE runner completes a FINAL lap. (i.e. If there are two runners left and one does not complete the loop, then the one that completed the loop will be declared the winner). That runner will be considered the winner of the Wildland Backyard Ultra and will move on to the Silver Qualifying event “Saguaro Showdown” (January 20, 2024) for the Backyard Ultra National Team, which will compete in the World championships October 14, 2024. At the world championships you will represent your country, as well as compete individually for the national championship!


Runners are responsible for their own aid including calories, but we will have water, Tailwind and coffee for RUNNERS ONLY!  Please bring your own cup!!

Near the start/finish line, runners will have a small area where they may set up a chair with a drop bag or one milk crate (or equivalent) for quick access between loops.

PIT TOILETS are available near the start/finish area; there is no running water.

Each runner will be able to set up ONE SMALL tent if they so choose nearby.  If running with a friend/friends you may share a larger tent (2 people/2 person tent, 4 runners/4person tent). Parking may not be near your tent.

We respectfully request that runners who have DNF’d to move their tent to a location farther from the start so runners still participating can be closer to the start/finish; runners that DNF during night time hours are exempted until dawn.

Runners may opt to use a vehicle (nothing larger than what a normal parking space can accommodate (no RV’s), please) in lieu of a tent.  We cannot promise a parking spot near the start/finish as they will be “first come, first serve”.

*Unfortunately, there may not be enough room for support crew/spectator tents.  The rest of Redondo Campground is “first come/first serve” and crew/DNF’d runners may opt to get there early to reserve one of those spots; please refer to SFNF/Jemez Ranger District website for more information.

PARKING:  DUE TO LIMITED SPACE, ONE VEHICLE PER RUNNER/CREW allowed in the campground loop; SECOND CARS (to include crew/pacers/spectators) will need to park off premises; map will be included in packet emailed before the race.  Carpooling is encouraged!!

Awards for the Last Woman Standing, The Last Man Standing and overall.
All other runners will receive a Wildland BU token with the number of laps finished.

SWAG:  Tri-blend Tee’s will be available by pre-order only.

POST RACE: You’ve just DNF’d this epic race (unless you are the winner of course). Enjoy the amount of miles you just ran, sit back, relax and don’t forget to hang out/cheer on all the remaining runners.

REFUND/BIB TRANSFER POLICY:  Due to your entry being a direct donation, there are no refunds or roll-overs.


52k Mountain Race

*UPDATE!!* Due to the Cerro Pelado Fire (started 4/22/2022), the Wildland 52 and Vertical Challenge is CANCELLED. The heart of the course, including the two main ascents of the course and the saddle between were burned over; recently (August 2022) the area has seen major flashflooding and erosion. I have not yet set foot in that area, but suspect it will not be useable due to post-fire hazards (tree fall, stump holes, flooding, etc.) in the near future. Portions of area in the Santa Fe National Forest are under a “closure order”.

While we had hoped to hold a Backyard Ultra in it’s place, numerous hurdles arose for this year’s event, so please keep an eye out for one in 2023.

Thank you for your patience. We hope that you will consider donating to The Eric Marsh Foundation who helps support our wildland firefighters, as this has already proved to be a trying and long fire season.




In 2018 and 2019 the Wildland 52 kilometer course featured over 8,000′ of elevation gain and 6,500′ of elevation loss. Much of the elevation change is in condensed sections with few switchbacks, but there is much runnable terrain in between. The course varies from dirt roads, faint two track, established single track, dozer lines, primitive trail, and “no-trail”. In some areas the track is well defined, others will be flagged and the line you take is “runner’s choice”. While 50% of the course will be on maintained single track, dirt or gravel or rocky roads (not necessarily smooth) so you can open up that stride a bit; the other 50% is rugged, unimproved, steep and very technical, requiring your full attention and grit.  

The course was intended to help display the rigors of wildland firefighting; regardless of the terrain, obstacles, physical discomfort or conditions, they must contain that fire. Often, they will use roads as containment lines, but will have to link those barriers by handcutting containment lines straight up the steepest sections by hand. The routes they choose is not the easiest, but the most effective and often the most direct (you won’t find switchbacks on a fireline, no matter how steep). Dozer lines may be cut as wide breaks, and while at times wildland fire trucks may be driven up them, most often crews will hike these lines, carrying between 35 and 90 pounds of water, gear and tools, even dragging hundreds of feet of hose with them.

September 29, 2018 we held the first annual Wildland 52k Ultramarathon. Our goal was to donate half of each entry to two non-profit organizations dedicated to the safety, mental and emotional health, and assistance in the event of a tragedy to wildland firefighters, their families and crews. I am so excited to share that with the generous support from our sponsors and private donations, we were able to exceed our anticipated $650.00 donation goal and instead split over $2,500 between the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and the Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute!

In 2019, we split 100% of the proceeds ($1,096 plus direct donations from runners) between the Eric Marsh Foundation, Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute; both organizations were created after the Yarnell Hill tragedy, when 19 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots perished.  The GMH was in the Jemez fighting the Thompson Ridge Fire just weeks before they died; working alongside the La Cueva VFD and USFS Jemez Ranger District fire fighters.  

In 2020, we did a small, (nearly) unsupported “fun run” with a “mountain marathon” length course, and had runners donate to their favorite wildland firefighter charity; most gave more than the required $52.00 for entry, and in total gave $1,467.00!  Wonderful sponsors like Jemez Valley Credit Union and San Ysidro’s CWW Feed Store, Tailwind Nutrition and Blackboot Coffee, as well as the ever-willing and amazing La Cueva VFD and a few other incredible volunteers made the event memorable for our runners!

20% of this year’s proceeds will go to La Cueva VFD; this volunteer fire department covers the majority of the Jemez Mountains, providing medical, structural and wildland fire fighting and SAR/high angle rescue services to the residents and thousands of visitors to our beautiful mountains; they also make time to volunteer for this race, even though they could spend the weekend getting some R&R after the busy summer/ tourist season winds down (talk about endurance!)!  This is the first year we have donated to them, but I feel it’s well earned and also overdue…


COURSE:   The course will start on an old “jeep trapped” section of road; you can go up and over the 20 some hills or try to navigate around; your choice!  From there you follow an established XC trail through a short section of old burn scar; there is always potential that trees may fall so please, keep your ears open and no earphones and move quickly through this short section which will be well marked and cleared to help you navigate it quickly.  A beautiful single track brings you through a meadow with new aspens; if we are lucky they will be in fall splendor!  Once you leave the single track the climbing begins, up an old road, then a fun rolling single track to a faint game trail that comes and goes over some deadfall up the western face of Los Griegos to the base of the dozer-line.  Follow the old dozer-line up the steep, rocky and loose flank of the mountain until it gains the ridge.  The trail will follow the top of the ridge, and may drop to the left a few feet below it on the first two humps and to the right on the third, but you should always find yourself back to the center of it as you make your way across the three summits.  Make your way to a high meadow and beautiful lookout point before beginning your descent off trail through the grass, until you reach an old but well established single track to a gate.  At that point, it’s all (almost) downhill on the old two track to the finish!

ENTRY: **Runners MUST be willing and comfortable traveling off-trail on steep, rugged, loose and rocky terrain**  This is NOT a good beginner trail!

Runners must provide a receipt of donation made to the Eric Marsh Foundation with the runner’s name on it.  Donation must have been made from between 8/2021 to 10/2/2021

Contact us with questions about the race, entry, volunteering or event sponsorship!!

Thank you,

Cheryl & the Wildland 52 Crew

email:  runwildland52@gmail.com       phone: 505-554-8858

FOLLOW US!  Facebook   and Instagram: @runwildland52

The Wildland 52 course is held on Santa Fe National Forest; permit has been issued by the Jemez Ranger District.  Written permission has been granted by Private and State landholders for the other 10%.

 We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our amazing sponsors, past and present! Thanks to them, we are able to donate 100% of our race entry fees to support our wildland firefighters and their loved ones! 

Jemez Valley Credit Union, Returning PARTNERING SPONSOR!!!

Full Color JVCU_logo



Get up ‘n GO provided by Black Rifle Coffee



Tailwind Nutrition (returning sponsor)


Icebreaker Merino  

CWW Feed Store                  Amanda’s High Country Store

Classic Air Medical Project Aware, Alive Monica’s Firehouse Grill 2nd Alarm Brewery

Runner’s High Herbals, 550 Recruiting Blackboot Coffee

La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department (medical support)

Dr. Halloway at Grant, Gibble & Davis Dental 

Jemez Monument & Historic Site

The Fitzgerald Retreat and Renewal Center