Taking it to 11: A 2024 Fat Pursuit Race Report
Riders, skiers, and runners who lined up for the 2024 Fat Pursuit in Idaho earlier this month faced brutal temperatures and several feet of fresh snow. Photographer Eddie Clark was on the ground, and he shares an up-close and personal look at the memorable 11th edition of the race. Find his report here…
For 2024, race founder Jay Petervary decided to take the Fat Pursuit to 11 in celebration of the 11th year of hosting the unique winter endurance event. Taking it to 11 was more of a joke than serious intent, but Mother Nature didn’t care and rose to the challenge by unleashing an incredibly cold winter storm that brought several feet of snow and sub-zero temps to the network of somewhat-groomed snowmachine trails in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. For the fat bikers, skiers, and runners who showed up to contest the 200K or 60K backcountry courses in Island Park, Idaho, staying warm was as big a challenge as just finishing.
After racers completed their mandatory gear check, it was on to registration and then a cold outdoor racer meeting where Jay gave the 200K racers a pep talk and provided essential race details. Notably, the importance of staying warm was at the top of the list, with temperatures predicted to fall below -20°F (-29°C). Undeniably, the Fat Pursuit is the gnarliest winter race in the Lower 48, and it serves as a springboard for athletes looking to take on the fabled Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska.
From Aid Station One, racers headed out onto a longer remote section of the route, which entailed a lot of pushing in the dark. At this point, the temperatures plummeted to below -30°F (-34°C) along much of the route. Racers who didn’t reach this aid station by the 7 p.m. time cut were required to return to the venue base area via a few miles of trail. It was also time for me to return to the staff house, download and edit photos, eat, and get a few hours of sleep before catching up with the leaders at the second aid station.
It was evident the 200K race would become one of extreme attrition as all but five of the 63 starters scratched during the night and the following morning. With his hand forced by the extreme conditions, race director Jay Petervary made the call to delay the morning’s 60K start by an hour and also shorten the race for safety’s sake, as the 60K racers were not required to carry the same amount of survival gear as the 200K racers.
You can find full results from this year’s Fat Pursuit here.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.