Where and when is the Hairy Bison?

Where is it?
Harbison Stat Forest. I mean, we ARE the Harbison Trail Runners. Honestly, this should be obvious.
Harbison State Forest
5600 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC, 29212

When is it?
Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

What is the Schedule?
Friday Eve (Nov. 22nd)
BIB PICK-UP: Friday Night 6pm at the British Bulldog. You are nuts if you wait until race morning to get your bib. Nuts.

race morning (Nov. 23rd)
PRE-RACE CEREMONY: 7:15am (Sharp)
START: 7:30am (Sharp)
YOGA: 10:00am
GIVEAWAYS: Every 15 minutes starting at 9:30am
RAFFLE: 10:30am
NAP: 2:00pm

When should I arrive?
6:30AM or EARLIER. Honestly, the run is becoming very popular. Show up EARLY. Early birds get best parking. Carpoolers get the really good parking. Might want to arrive closer to 6:00am. Are we making this clear?

Why so early?
You'll need to park, do whatever pre-race ritual you've cultivated, get your bib, sign a waiver, and get to the pre-race ceremony by 7:15am. You do not want to miss the never-to-be-missed pre-race ceremony.

So you’re saying I should be there early?
Yes. For the love of Zeus, yes.

Rain or Shine?
Yes. We are trail runners. Please.


Sign Up

How do I register?
We are big league now. You register over at SimpleRace. Do it! DO IT NOW!

Is there a registration deadline?
Yes. Registration closes at 11:55pm on October 31st.

What if I forget to Register?
If you do not register, you are not a part of the race. No bib. No results. No Raffle. Honestly, registration is next to Godliness.

Why are you limiting the registration for a free event?
We want the best possible experience for those who have registered. Simple as that. The Bison is flattered but have you ever drawn custom bibs for a zillion people? Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is REAL.

Don’t you love us?
We’re doing this BECAUSE we love you.

How much does registration cost?
The blood, sweat, tears of your intense training.

How many American dollars?

When is Bib pick-up?
FRIDAY EVENING: 6pm at the British Bulldog Pub EXPO. For the love of all that is good an true, get your bib the night before the race.

RACE MORNING: 6:30am (or earlier). We suggest EARLIER.

WOAH, there's an EXPO?
Yup. Friday night at the British Bulldog you can sign your waiver, get your bib, pick up your pre-ordered club shirt, and buy a beer. AVOID THE SATURDAY MORNING RUSH.

So I should pick up my bib Friday evening then?
Have you not been reading? Yes. A thousand times yes.

I hear the Bibs are all unique. Can this possibly be true?
Actually, yes. You get a free, unique bib, custom-created with love and care by repressed, award-winning, local, free-range, artisanal graphic designers.



Where do I park?
Those who carpool with 3+ people per car will enjoy priority parking, nice & close to the start by the Education Center. Luxuriously close parking. You will be envied. Everyone else will be directed straight down the gravel road to park at the next available spot, which could be a bit of a hike.

Will there be people on hand to direct parking?

I’ll just arrive kinda later than I should, so my parking space will still be awesome, right?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Now I’m scared, should I carpool?
Please. Please. Pretty please. With sugar on top.

Will I have to walk very far once I’ve parked?
The later you arrive, the longer you’ll walk. But walking is really great for cardiovascular health.

So I should carpool?
Y E S.

Does it cost money to park?

How much?
Parking is covered if you already have an annual parking pass. Daily parking passes cost $5. Annual passes cost $25 which you can get online (see below). This is honor-system stuff.

So where do I get these super-special parking pass things?
At the front parking lot, you'll find a bright yellow box. You can buy a daily pass there. Or, if you're lucky, a parking volunteer will hand you the daily pass envelope. You add your 5 bucks.

I am a sophisticated Web user, can't I buy an annual pass online before the race?
Of course. Thanks for asking. Just go buy an annual pass on the interweb cyber place.

Woah Chatzky, you said the Bison was FREE. What gives?
The Bison is free. Forever free. However, you must pay the Forestry Commission to park at Harbison Forest. Before you have a first-world meltdown over parking fees, consider that Harbison Forest is a working forest, supported only by logging revenue and user fees. So pay that parking fee with a smile on your face and song in your heart.

Bureaucratic Particulars

I have to sign something?

A waiver. The sun rises in the East, taxes are due on April 15th, and races have waivers. Not even the Bison is immune. You must sign a waiver that says forever in perpetuity you are responsible for everything and anything that happens to you in the forest. That means everything north of a skinned knee is entirely your fault. This includes psychological damage. Also your fault.

When do I sign this waiver?
Sign either at the British Bulldog Friday evening at 6pm, or race day near the starting line (beginning at 6am).

It’s better to do this Friday night you say?
We do say.

Pack-In / Pack-Out
Leave the forest precisely as you found it. Leave no trace. This is non-negotiable, and your sacred duty as a steward of the forest.

Can I fight City Hall?
Not recommended.



What does it cost?
The Hairy Bison is utterly FREE and will always be.

I hear I will be PAID to run the Bison. Is this true?

For every outer loop you complete, you will collect a buffalo nickel. Run one loop (15k) and you earn five cents. Run two loops (30k) and you earn ten cents. We've done the math. You keep the coins. They "pay" your way into the post-race raffle.

What if I WANT to pay?
We’ll have donation jars ready at registration. Your gift will help us continue to put on the best trail party EVER.



What is the course like?
We run the standard Harbison "outer loop."

Surely there is an amazingly designed map, right?
Surely. View the boss course map.

How long is the outer loop?
Give or take 15k (9 miles).

So how do you get to 30k?
We consulted an array of scientists and civil engineers. After an exhaustive study, they recommended we run the loop twice. We then consulted an unemployed philosopher, who suggested we run the second loop backwards. We agreed (and gave him a few bucks for his trouble).

Where is the starting line?
We start in the field behind the Harbison Education Center.

Is there a pre-race briefing?
Yes. It starts promptly at 7:15am. It is the best pre-race briefing your ever attend. Hands down.

Do you hold any preview runs?
We hold 51 official preview runs each year, held each Saturday. You are without excuse.

Is there a course map?
Shockingly, yes. You can find it on this nifty website.

Is the course marked?
The course is marked as well as it ever has been. Which is to say, it is not marked, not even a little bit. You are gloriously on your own. We suggest finding a buddy. Or, consider getting lost part of the overall fun.

Is there a sweep?
Yep. But really, it's more of an informal sweeping situation. Best to not rely on it.

Do you offer pace groups?
We guess. Follow someone and you will finish at their pace.


Aid Stations

Are there any aid stations?
Yes. There is one aid station on the course. It is near the Boy Scout Camp just under half-way around the outer loop. Remember to pick up your buffalo nickel for the raffle. Remember to stop and enjoy the shenanigans there.

So this is some kind of crazy, epic aid station, yes?
Oh yes.

Different shenanigans every year?
Oh yes.

Will it melt my face?
90% chance. Depends on your taste.

Will you take my bottle/gel/salt tabs/map/belt/backpack/spare socks to the Aid Station?
Yes. We are very nice that way. We'll bring your stuff from the start to the aid station and have it there waiting for you. We'll even bring it back to the start after the race. If you are running the 15k, this works well.

But wait, I'm running the 30k. What gives?
We'll break down the aid station while some people are running the second loop. Life, as they say, is not fair. So, if you are a 30k person, assume that your stuff may not be there your second time through and plan accordingly. 


Timing and Awards

Is the race timed?
Yes, we time the race, but you'll find no timing mats or timing chips anywhere. Rumor has it we'll have an actual clock this year. Deep breaths.

Do we get bibs?
Yes. Pick up your bib at the British Bulldog Friday evening (6pm) or at the starting line before the race. You will look like an official runner and everything. No two bibs are alike. All are hand-crafted keepers.

Are there awards?
The only awards given will be to the first male and female finisher of the full 30k. They will be crowned Mr. and Ms. Bison respectively. So, if you want an award, you have to WIN the long race outright. 

Come on, how about age group awards?
Ha ha ha. Nice try. No. 

So I get nothing for kicking butt in my age group?
Respect is worth more than gold and jewels.

Do I get a participation medal?
No. DO you honestly need ANOTHER one of those?

Are results posted?
Yup. Right here on the Harbison Trail Runner's website.As soon as we get around to it. Bribes accepted.

When are results posted?
Dude, relax.


SWAG and Raffle

Do I get a finisher's shirt?
Nope. We do hand-out the pre-ordered club shirts at the Hairy Bison. We always order shirts in September, before the Bison.

Can I order club shirts at the Bison?
At this point, no. Scarcity apparently makes the heart grow fonder.

I've heard there is a raffle. How does it work?
At the only aid station on the course, you pick up a buffalo Nickel. 15k runners will pass the aid station once and get one nickel. 30k runners pass it twice and thus get two nickels. Each nickel buys you a ticket for the grand raffle. And you can still keep the nickel.

So the Raffle is pretty great, right?

It has lots of great stuff?

So I'm guaranteed to get something then?
Come on, man. This is America, not Sweden. You may win something in the raffle. But then again, you might simply hang out for a while and get only the benefit of beautiful fellowship. So really, you win no matter what.

No really, what do I get no matter what?
Ok honcho, everyone definitely gets:

  • A coupon for a free beer or $5 off an appetizer at the BRITISH BULLDOG.

  • Buffalo nickel(s) from the aid station.

  • The opportunity to bask in the company of the resplendent trail-running community on a glorious autumn day.

Who provides goodies for the raffle?
We have amazing sponsors for the raffle. You are EXPECTED to purchase something from them in the coming year.

Will SWAG make me happy?
Temporarily, yes, especially if you get a freakin' wicked backpack. But ultimately, you'll feel empty inside again. Fortunately this is solved by running on trails.


Killing Time Before the Raffle

I ran the 15k. What do I do while waiting for the raffle?
Glad you asked, here's a brief list:

  • Get your picture made with the one-and-only Bison. If you are from the area North of the Mason-Dixon line, you may get your picture taken with the Bison.

  • Enjoy some deliciously autumnal post-run grub and soup. Try the Bison Cookies®.

  • Get a FREE massage.

  • Attend a real-deal, free YOGA class.

  • Peruse some of the vendor tables.

  • Become a member of Friends of Harbison State Forest. It’s only $10 on Bison Day and you’ll be put in a drawing for dang sweet SWAG.

  • Meet new people.

  • Volunteer a bit. We can always use the help.

  • Go get a bagel and come back.


Giving Back

What's the first thing I can bring?
Bring old shoes and clothes. We'll collect them and deliver them to migrant workers in desperate need.

Seriously, what else can I give to defray the costs of the Hairy Bison?

Donate to the general fund (at the starting line). This helps us pay for race insurance, port-o-johns, and such. Give some $$ and we'll give you a Harbison Trail Runner magnet, sticker, or button (or all three).

What are some of the costs of putting on the Hairy Bison?
The Bison is a labor of love, but there are some real expenses. Chief among them are the insurance permit, Port-O-Johns, food and incidentals, Stickers, buttons, magnets, signs, etc.. It adds up. But these costs are very easy to bear if everyone contributes a few bucks.

Do y’all make money at the Bison?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Can I volunteer?
Of course. Contact Rick Stroud or Dean Schuster on the Facebook and we'll hook you up.


After the Race

I just finished the race and I am hungry. What do I do?
Fortunately we've thought of this. We'll have soup, chili and drinks at the finish for you. Yummy! Two more words: Bison Cookies®.

I just finished the race and my back is sore. What do I do?
Might we suggest a FREE massage at the finishing area? 

I heard there's a post-race celebration. Is this true?
YES. We meet at the British Bulldog for lunch after the raffle. 

What if I have no money for beer?
Nonsense. Just use your FREE BEER coupon you received at the race, courtesy of the Bulldog.

How do I fight post-Bison depression?
Run Harbison with us again on Sunday morning, November 24th. 


Transcendent Miscellanea

What's this I hear about a live bison?
Every year, the Harbison Trail Runners gather the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They focus their good cheer and happy trail-running spirit toward the forest in hopes of summoning the Hairy Bison from the misty woods. If they are sincere and true, the Bison will grace us with a visit.

What will the bison be like this year?
It’s a surprise. Better than Christmas.

What is Rick Stroud really like?
Possessor of more arcane facts than you care to know, Rick is also a fine actor who has starred in such films as Platoon, and Spider-Man (the first one, with Toby Maguire, who was ok we guess). Check him out on IMDB under his stage name.

Am I allowed to approach Dean Schuster?
That’s not necessarily wise, especially given his notoriously intemperate disposition.