CASPER, Wyo. — Hundreds of runners are expected to flock to South Pass City for “Run the Red” races, a celebration of Wyoming public lands that kicks off on Saturday, September 25 in South Pass City. However, there are a host of other activities surrounding the event,
Governor Mark Gordon signed legislation in 2019 recognizing the fourth Saturday of each September as Wyoming Public Lands Day.
“This holiday recognizes the millions of acres of public lands in Wyoming that belong to everyone,” a Tuesday announcement of the festivities that are being organized by the Wyoming Wilderness Association, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the Wyoming Outdoor Council.
Races as part of “Run the Red” include a half marathon, a 50-kilometer run and a 100K run across Wyoming’s Red Desert.
There will also be a series of tours, speakers, live music and food available. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast at 6:30 a.m served by volunteers and members of organizations including the Equality State Policy Center, Citizens for the Red Desert, Red Desert Audubon and others.
“The bulk of the family and community events begin around 9:30 a.m., which include tours of the Carissa Mine and the Flood & Hindle Trails, a nature hike led by ethnobotanist John Mionczynski, and an Oregon Trail presentation by Randy Weiss,” the announcement states. “Kids will also be able to enjoy gold panning, and a kids fun run will be held around 10:30 a.m.”
Food trucks will be providing food to the public, including the Hungry Buddha from Rock Springs and Monahooboo from Wind River. Beer will be available from Square State Brewing, a Rock Springs brewery.
Music from the drum group Big Wind Singers and performances by Wind River Dancers will kick off the main celebration at noon.
“Following the cultural celebration, members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes will speak about the cultural significance of the Red Desert and the meaning of their dance and song,” the announcement adds.
Wyoming Outdoor Council Wind River Organizer Yufna Soldier Wolf added: “These lands are ancestral lands of the Shoshone, Bannock, Ute, Arapaho, and many others.”
Elected officials and other state leaders have also been invited to speak about the importance of public lands.
Music by Ten Cent Stranger will begin at 2 p.m. In the evening, John Mionczynski will give an old-time piano and accordion performance.
The festival is open to anyone and people can find a full schedule on the Run the Red website.
“This is much more than just a race,” NOLS Public Policy Director Jonathon Williams said. “Run the Red is also a gathering for the many communities that use and love the desert — hunters, ranchers, horse packers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts — and a chance to connect with the history of the Northern Red Desert.”
The first Run the Red was held in 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the Wyoming Wilderness Act.
“The event has grown over the years, starting with just 30 runners and growing to over 200 with multiple courses,” the announcement adds. “Last fall, a short film from Patagonia further elevated the race to a national profile. Run the Red begins in the former gold mining community of South Pass City and takes runners through the Northern Red Desert — a maze of buttes, canyons, badlands, wilderness study areas, and miles of open country. Parts of the course even traverse the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails where some 500,000 emigrants traveled in search of new beginnings in the 1800s.”