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The Challenge Is Back

The 2019 Big Timber XC Challenge last November was a huge success, with more than 300 participating runners over four challenging miles of grass and dirt.

For 2020, we have made some modifications to the course to provide the option of running it as a 3-mile or 5-mile distance. And because of COVID, we’ve made some changes to the race format to allow for social distancing and a safer environment for runners, staff and volunteers.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the legendary creek crossing!

We invite and respectfully ask that you  “Come, Run Safely and Cross the Creek, and Leave.” No congregating crowds, no post-race awards ceremony, and (gasp!) no pancakes. Only a morning of running through the woods and beating the challenge.

There are registration restrictions to this event, so be sure to sign up early.

The Basics


Sunday, November 1st


Camp Big Timber (CBT), Big Timber Rd at Tyrrell Rd, Elgin (approximately 1 mile south of I-90 and 1 mile west of Randall Road)


Approximate 3-mile (one loop) and 5-mile (two loops).

Start Time

Race 1: Open 3-Mile                   7:30am

Race 2: Open 3-Mile                  8:30am

Race 3: Open 5-Mile                  10:00am

Race 4:  Open 5-Mile                  11:30am

The Course

All races will have a wide cross-country style start in the large grass field south of the Main Lodge and parking area.

Runners will be on the gravel roadway for the first half mile before turning onto a mowed grass pathway to head up a small hill, where they will begin the circuit around the perimeter of the CBT property.

Runners in the 3-mile race will make ONE loop on a course around the perimeter of the camp property, while runners in the 5-mile race will make TWO loops.

After completing the loop(s) of the property, runners will come down the backside of the hill and onto the gravel roadway to head back to the Start/Finish.

The finish will be wide (NOT a single-file chute). Chip timing will be used for determining official finish position.

Much of the course is wide mowed-grass pathways or gravel roadways. There are also a couple of short sections of narrow dirt trails and three short footbridges – please do NOT pass other runners in these sections or on bridges.

There will be NO water stations on the course. You should carry your own water/drink and fuel, and please do NOT share your supply with others.

A bottled water will be available to each runner at the Finish.

This is a trail running event, and you WILL encounter uneven ground, exposed tree roots and rocks and other natural challenges such as low-hanging tree branches, mud/snow/ice on the ground, wet/marshy ground or possibly a fallen tree trunk or broken tree limb laying across the trail. And, of course, there is the creek.

The creek is approximately 15-20 feet wide and it will be COLD. Depending on rain or snow in the days before the race, the water may be only ankle deep … or possibly knee-high. There will be a rope suspended between the sides of the creek that you can hold onto, if needed, as you cross. Do not let the creek intimidate you – in some ways, it is the best thing about this event!

Heed The Scouts Motto of “Be prepared!”: Because of the creek, it is recommended you wear old shoes and bring a towel and/or a change of clothes with you to the race. You will get wet, and it will probably be cold, so have what you need to make the ride home a little more comfortable.

Course Preview Video

Race Day Safety Guidelines

Please understand our goal is to provide a challenging and competitive event where everyone can “Come, Run Safely, and Leave.” With that in mind, please observe the following guidelines:

  • If you have a fever, are feeling ill or have been in recent contact with someone unrecovered from COVID-19, please do NOT come to the event.
  • You MUST be able to finish the 3-mile race in 60 minutes or the 5-mile race in 90 minutes or you may be asked to leave the course in consideration of others in the next race.
  • Per the Illinois Department of Public Health recommendations, it is requested a face mask or face covering be worn by everyone when not on the race course and social distancing should be observed.
  • NO SPITTING! Participants should carry their own tissues or hand towel for spitting, blowing nose, wiping sweat, etc., before, during and after their race.
  • Spectators are discouraged from attending the event. If a family member or friend must attend the event with you, they must wear a face mask at all times and should NOT yell out or shout encouragement to their runner.
  • Each race is LIMITED to (45) pre-registered participants. There is NO race day registration and anyone who is not pre-registered will not be allowed to run.
  • Unless you are with someone living in the same household, participants should not engage in traditional forms of physical contact such as handshakes, high-fives, hugs, partner stretching, etc.
  • Signs, directional arrows, ribbons, and flags will be used as much as possible on the course to cut down on the number of course marshals. Please view the course map and know where you are going before coming to the Start.
  • Parking at Camp Big Timber is limited. Please do not arrive hours before your race, and please leave the site as soon as possible after your race to open up parking for others arriving for a later race. If you want to hang out with friends afterwards, Carmina’s Mexican Restaurant on Randall Road is less than a mile from race site and would be great for a post-race warm meal or cold brew.

Age Groups

Due to COVID, there are NO age groups this year, only the five races as detailed above. This eliminates the need for everyone to hang around in a potentially-infectious large group for a post-race awards ceremony.

ALL finishers will receive a custom 2020 BTXCC mug.

Official results will be posted online as soon as possible after all races have been run.

The Overall Male and Female Winner of the 3 mile and the 5 mile race will be notified by race officials and arrangements will be made to get their award to them.

Post Race Pancake Breakfast

We know many of you enjoyed the post-race Boy Scout pancake breakfast last year. Unfortunately, because of COVID, there will NOT be a breakfast this year. Water and some munchies will be available for you to grab after running, but our objective this year can be summed up in three words … COME, RUN SAFELY, and LEAVE. There will be a receptacle at the Main Lodge for the Boy Scouts and for the Boys & Girls Club that you can toss in a small monetary donation if you’d like, but we do not want any large post-race gatherings for pancakes or awards (or perhaps cold beer in the parking lot).

And while we’re here, the same is true for pre-race gatherings. The Main Lodge will be open for race-day number pick-up and bathrooms, but please wear a mask and refrain from large gatherings while inside the building. Wait in your car for your race or do your stretching and warm-up alone or with your best friend outside away from others.

Gear Check

Due to COVID, we regret we cannot provide a designated Gear Check in the Main Lodge or at the Start/Finish. Keep your things in your car or with someone who is not running.

Entry Fee

** NOTE: this event will be limited to (350) TOTAL runners **

Open 3-Mile/5-Mile

Early (Until September 30th)             $40.00

Late (October 1st – 31st)                       $45.00

No race day registration for this event.


  • The opportunity to run a bona fide race
  • A printed 2020 BTXCC lightweight sweatshirt
  • A printed 2020 BTXCC finisher’s mug (but you gotta finish to get it!)


We will also be drawing numbers for raffle items while each race is in progress. Be sure to check the board at the Finish to see if you have won a prize!

Packet Pickup

Friday, October 30, 6:00-8:00pm at Dick Pond Hoffman Estates store

Saturday, October 31, 2:00-4:00pm at Dick Pond St Charles store

Sunday, November 1, starting at 6:30am at race site

Please wear a mask if picking up packet on race day


Yes, we need volunteers to help on race day with registration and packet/bib pick-up and to serve as course marshals and start/finish helpers! You will receive a printed sweatshirt and the eternal gratitude of the race organizers, sponsors, beneficiaries and runners.

If you would like to help on race day please contact Wayne Haworth at


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COVID Cancellation Statement

While we have every intention of putting on this event, the health and well being of all runners, spectators, volunteers and organizers is our paramount concern. As a result, if our sponsors, beneficiaries and/or government health officials deem it unsafe to run these races as outlined, we will CANCEL the event and NO REFUNDS will be issued. If the Health Department rolls the state of IL back to Phase 3, the race will be cancelled. If we do need to cancel, everyone who is pre-registered will be able to pick up their shirt at the Dick Pond Athletics store in St Charles on a to-be-determined date during regular business hours. Remaining proceeds will be shared with the race beneficiaries.