Jolesch Photography

Official Race Photo site is Here

Send us you stories, comments and anecdotes HERE. We will publish them!

Pictures of race taken by DSM Weather.com

Video 1

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Minn. blog

Pictures of race taken by Des Moines Register.com

Video 2

Garmin report

















LHF 2010 Comments and stories are below.
1st, had a great time in the race this year even though I got caught up in traffic at the start but thats why I will be back next year...Then problem is that I have to bid for vacation days on December 3rd so can you tell me that date for next years run? I am assumming it will be around the 20th again and I want to be there....thanks again, very well run race and it was a great time

D D, Genoa Illinois

As soon as my husband’s uncle Doug found out I was a runner, he started prepping me for the Living History Farms Race in Urbandale, Iowa. He told me about the costumes, the creek crossings and the mud (lots about the mud). Every time he talked about it, he had an ear-to-ear grin and a joyful glow coming from inside. There was no doubt this was a beloved race, but I kept turning down his invitation. Some people call it “cross country,” some say it is “extreme off road.” The website says it’s “the largest cross country race in North America.” But, after venturing into the below-freezing weather on Saturday morning, I’ll attest that it’s unclassifiable!

I admit. There was a part of me that was worried I couldn’t handle 7 miles of trails, ravines, woods and mud, but that part evaporated as soon as I got out of the pickup. There were characters everywhere! A Wheaties box was doing warm-ups, an entire bunch of bananas were huddling together in the cold, and Dr. Seuss’s Thing 1 and Thing 2 were joined by their blue-haired buddies all the way up to Thing 18. There were some regular runners, but more than half the field were dressed to impress. Doug and I wore all white with red sashes at our waists and necks. The LHF Facebook page promised that if we dressed as the Pamplona runners, there would be bulls on hand to chase us. Running as a group in costume was great! See more race photos and costumes.

There were so many people (a registration malfunction meant more than 8,000 ran this year) that it took us quite a while to start running. When we finally got to trot, it was a herky jerky run. Every time we got a decent rhythm, something would come up: a deer scared out of her wits, a thigh-high creek for us to cross, a hill so steep it should be illegal, or a narrow trail through the woods. Whereas we type-A runners are quick to grumble about the wrong brand of sports drink or inaccurate mile markers in every other race, we all turned crazily carefree on Saturday. It was one for all and all for one, crashing through the woods to get to a creek faster, then boosting a fellow runner up a slope, just to get splashed with mud from a complete stranger. There were course markers, but they were largely ignored. There were timing chips, but dozens were lost on the trail.

I looked down at my Forerunner 310XT a few times, just to find the display caked with mud. I thought about how proud my engineer coworkers would be, how I was really giving the 310XT a good test of the elements. Many of the runners recognized my Forerunner, though, and asked me for the time or distance. No one cared too much about pace, though!When we finally crossed the finish line, the volunteers congratulated us with hot beef stew, pumpkin bread and hot cider.

But, even with the warm food in my stomach, the adrenaline started to wear off, and I realized how cold I really was. My soaking-wet, muddy legs and feet were starting to get miserable, and all I could think about was a long, hot shower. (Everyone knows that’s the best part of any winter run!)

Back in my office chair, on a day when the high temp is expected to reach 60, I’m glad I have the pictures and Garmin Connect data to prove my weekend adventure wasn’t just a good dream. And, strangely, I feel this joyful glow coming from my face as I tell people they MUST run this race with me next year. I guess Doug knew what he was talking about!

Flatho,K.C. (?)

What fantastic coverage on the website, with so many pictures, letters and results all so quick and easy to browse. Sure hope all the people responsible can keep having fun putting on the race, because I think you are right on target. As a race committe member for some small races and some large ones for about twenty years, Living History is the best production I have ever seen, hands down.

Peter Hawley, President, Hartford Track Club,

Chairman, Masters & LDR, USATF/Connecticut.

Hey All,
I was just reading through the other comments made on the website and have to agree with most all of them...the BEST run ever!!! I ran for the third time this year (with my sister-her 2nd- and a friend-her first) and we had a blast. We are still talking about it!!! We have never run in costume (have always talked about it) but next year it is a definate!!!
The course was fantastic (didn't miss not having a water stop) and at one point I was laughing so hard I couldn't walk (let alone run).
As my sister stated, "It will be hard to top this run." and I agree. So well organized (even with the over-registered), well stocked with volunteers, and so many happy, helpful runners throughout the course.
My only recommendation: Have two!!!! One in late spring and one at this time of year! I hate having to wait so long for another LHF run!!!!!
Thanks again and see you next year!

I really liked all the costumes, but I loved the Santa and reindeer group. Even though I didn t get to see them grazing in the field, my husband and other friends said they got to see that. How adorable! Did anyone see if Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion & Scarecrow skipped along? J

Thanks a million to all the people who put this on!!!

The picture on the race results page I recognized as my own. Yes, my spandex were too short! Yes, my smartwool socks still allowed my feet to be cold! Yes, my Adidas trail shoes still allowed me to slip and slide on some of the creek crossings and ravines. Did I have fun? Absolutely! It was a fantastic race! Looking forward to next year!
Thanks to ALL involved!

Mankato, MN.

It was my 3rd year running the race. Each year I love it more and more. Thanks for everything. Great event. It is not easy pulling this type of event off but you have done an incredible job. Keep up the great work!


THANK YOU for all of the volunteers and race directors for a fantastic and fun event. I have done a few marathons and other races, but this was the most fun I have had. It was far more than I expected. It was worth getting up at 3 AM to get on our Team Red bus from Byron, Minnesota. I can't think of one bad thing. The weather was great, fan support wonderful, and amazing plentiful food. Great to see so many runners of all levels out moving and enjoying a fun event. Love the finishers shirt. Hats off to all of you. I will be back. Dalene from Rochester, Minnesota

ROCK ON! It was cold, wet and brutal - but I crossed the finish line with plenty of room for bragging rights. I'm coming back in 2011 with some prime creek crossing training under my belt.

More comments on the facebook page.

We had a GREAT time this year! This was my fifth year, and my 12-year-old son's first. He got tired of waiting for mom after 2 miles and ditched me; despite face-planting in a stream, he still finished in 1:11 (25 minutes ahead of me) with a huge smile on his face! We can't wait for next year! When will it be? Is the date set yet?
Thanks! Melinda

Year 33! We have the race scheduled for the 19th of Nov. 2011. Its the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day. Be sure and it on your calendar.

Ran the LHF race for the first time in 15 years. My 12 year old daughter and I had a blast. You couldn't pry the smiles off of our faces, even when stuffing them with beef stew and pumpkin bread. Thanks to all of the volunteers. We will be back.


Thanks again for a wonderful race experience. I do approximately 20 races a year, from marathons, triathlons, a handful of Half Ironmans, Exterra Triathlons, and mountain bike races. I travel all over the country. LHF remains one my favorite races, each and every year. The athletes, and especially the cross country teams, make it a fun, enjoyable atmosphere. You have it organized very well, given the space constraints that you have to work with. This race is certainly not for everyone, but for the right person, it's perfect.


Great job. Pass on my thanks to all the volunteers.
Will be there next year. Don't change a thing.

What an amazing experience. I ran the race with my 17 and 12 year old daughters. This was by far the furthest I had ever ran in my life and I had a smile on my face the entire time... it was like being a kid again. My wife and I are already discussing arrangements for our four year old for next year so that she can join us. I had heard about this event when I first moved to Iowa five years ago and I was intrigued at the time. I am SO glad we decided to run this year (our first year). I have never competed in an event where everyone is just happy to be there. Keep up the great work and see you next year.


I love your race and look forward to it every year! My 13 year-old son ran for the second time and we both had a blast. Everything is super well-done and organized. I like that you e-mailed the registration numbers prior to packet pick-up, It was nice to be able to skip one step in the process. It did seem like there was more walking/waiting in line during the race this year because of the large number of participants. I know that you limit the number, but were there more people this time?? Both my son and I had times that were about twenty minutes slower than last year....believe me, we don't worry about our times, but it did seem way more crowded than it has in the past! Thanks again for a wonderful time and kudos to all of the dedicated people that make this race what it is!

This was my third race in a row and again I had a blast! My husband couldn't run with me this year so I invited my friend Melinda. She had never run more than 3 miles or so. I thought for sure she'd give up and walk half of it -- as she was threatening to! I was pleasantly surprised when she only walked the last "killer hill" part way and otherwise ran the course. We had so much fun. At one point I almost peed on myself laughing so hard when her leg slipped off the log she was crossing and she was wet up to her thigh! At the end of the course she told me how much she enjoyed herself and liked the way the race was set-up; that it definitely wasn't boring. She would like to run again next year.

Thank you to you and your team for organizing yet another successful race. My husband and I plan to see you again next year; hopefully Melinda too.


More comments on the facebook page.

This was my first time running LHF, and I had a blast! The course was incredibly well-marked, the obstacles were challenging, and the volunteers and crowds were absolutely wonderful. I was surprised at how willing other racers were to stop to give a tug up the slippery banks or a push at the top of the rope climbs. It was like being on an 8,000-member cross country team. A big (albeit muddy), Thank you! to everyone who worked so hard to put on this race!!


Just wanted to let you know that I had a great time yesterday! As usual, the event was well run and I'll no doubt be back next year.
I just posted this video on YouTube from yesterday's event. I also posted the link on your Facebook page. Hope you enjoy it!

All the best,
Anamosa, IA

Thank you for all the hard work you put into making the LHF race a success. This was my first time running in it and I had a wonderful time. I appreciate all the time and effort you and everyone involved have put into planning the event. I can't wait until next year!!


I saw some of the letters that were written complaining about the event. I wanted to write and tell you about my experience.

This was my first ever cross-country race of any kind. I've been a road-runner for the last decade or so and have run marathons, but I would either hike trails or run roads, never run trails. Some friends told me about the race. I had some trepidations, but I was fully informed and knew what to expect. I knew about the 8 creek crossings. I had been watching the temperatures all week and I had seen the video.

I had a FANTASTIC time and I would do it again. I thought the race was very well run (no pun intended) and I commend you for that. Managing an event of this size is no small feat. All race logistics went very smoothly and I appreciated the timeliness, thoroughness and frequency of race-related communications. Well done!

I confess, too, that I was so cold and wet that I was truly miserable by the end of the race. That, however, was more due to waiting for the person with the key to my van to show up and let me in to warm up! It had nothing to do with you, your staff or the way the race was run. It was just par for the course, as the saying goes.

My only wish had been a water stop about mid-way. I read your explanation, though, and it makes perfect sense. It's not so difficult to carry water and I will probably do so for future races.

In conclusion, THANK YOU for providing me with one of the most memorable experiences of my life! I hope this event continues to benefit the Living History Farms in the way it was intended and that generations of future runners get to enjoy this annual ritual and right of passage.

With appreciation and gratitude,

:) This was the most fun race EVER!


More comments on the facebook page.

Thank you for the awesome experience! Everything was so well organized, everyone was friendly, and the mud and mess was exactly what we signed up for.

This year, in desperation to find someone to run the race with me, I recruited my 12 year old son. He'd only started running 5Ks just a week before I signed him up, so I was plagued with worry about his experience. He'd never run that far before, would he get trampled, would he whine about the mud and the cold, and would I have scared him away from running for years to come?

I shouldn't have worried. He finished well ahead of me and he had the biggest smile on his mud splattered face. That was an absolute blast and we can't wait to do it again next year.

R. T.

I loved the race! The course was fun and exciting every step of the way. It is something that I am definitely going to try to do every year!

My only suggestion on how to do things differently, is the start... I think you should try to implement a system like the Bix 7 has, where people put in a sort of qualifying time, and then you put us in places at the start for it. Two of my friends and I pushed our way as close to the starting line as we could, but still started in about 1500th place or so... we spent the first 1.5ish miles weaving through people who did not belong at the front of the pack, it was dangerous. By the time we cleared the congestion, we couldn't even see the leaders... I realize everything can't be perfect for everyone, but it is just a suggestion to make those who want to compete actually have a chance to run with the leaders.



We've tried this in the past and it hasn't really done much but we are willing to give it another try. maybe the younger generation is more willing to follw directions.


Another wonderful job steve. Thanks for this and all the great stuff you do. Next year I won't harass you on tv.

Kevin C

Results are here

I am sorry to say that I did NOT enjoy my time today as I ran this LHF race. There were WAY too many people so half of the time was spent walking not by choice because there were so many people in my way. The second complaint I have is that there were no water stations. I seriously cannot believe that a 7 mile course would not provide water stations and no i'm not going to drink the water in the creek as one of the staff memebers told me to do. I saw 3 different men urinating in there and it was quite sickening. I was very disappointed and I will not be running this race again in the future.

One more complaint. My team got there 2 hours early to get a good parking spot, and we were directed to park all the way by the girl scout club, literally in the corner right by the road, yet we're seeing other cars directed to go by and park closer to the starting line. I dont' understand what type of program is being run here. There were plenty of spots closer to the start of the race and we arrived before Hickman was even backed up, yet we had to park the farthest away. Again I'm very diappointed and I will never be running this race again.


As the race director for the event, I am very sorry that you didn't enjoy the experience. We have to make some tuff decisions when it comes to the various issues regarding this race.

1. I don't know what to tell you about the numbers. I myself enjoy a much smaller event.
However, it is quite obvious that many people enjoy the atmosphere of this one (2500 runners in 2001, 7500 in 2008). That is why we limited the field two years ago. We have gotten many more complaints for limiting it than we have ever received for it being too big ( it's about 33 to 1 ).

1. Water stations on course? This is a "GREEN" decision that has been made based on the historical and cross country aspects of the race. We don't want to trash the LHF. If you have ever run in a race this size before, you hopefully can understand that paper cups, blown by the wind, would be in places that would be impossible to police effectively. As it is we spend the rest of the next year picking up trash left behind by some of the runners. I am also extremely confident that the comment on the stream was made in jest (farm animals live here also).

2. As for your final complaint, you might look at the other side. You were actually parked there so that you could get out easier. Some of the seasoned runners know that the closer to the starting line they are, the longer it takes to leave (some people have to wait in line over 45 minutes getting out). Obviously, you weren't one of these.

Again, I want to say that I am sorry for your experience. We try to let people know what it is going to be like with all of the pre-race publicity. I knew on Thursday that I was going to have some newbies when I got the email regarding "if the race will be rescheduled in the case of rain and too much mud". Some events are just not to everyone's taste.

Steve Bobenhouse, Race representative

Results are here

Whatta fantastic, well-planned event! Even down to the details of car-parking...directions were given from the entrance to the actual stall to park in! Just one complaint, though...I can handle the guys dressed in only speedos...but thongs??? In our running group, we had two guys dressed in thongs with their behinds totally exposed. Even the girls in our grouping were discussed with having to run behind them. I feel sorry for the people who had to follow them up the creek embankments!!!

This was a bucket list race for me since I started back running last year. Not only did I check it off this year, but plan to make it an annual event, along with Dam to Dam. 7 miles of cold, wet, hilly mud. It was a blast. Who knew?
My thanks to the ample number of volunteers who make this event what it is.
Ames, IA

Thanks for an awesome run! This was my first LHF Race and I'll be back next year for sure. I was getting worried during the first couple miles that it wasn't going to be messy enough, but by the end, I was caked with mud. Good stuff! The beef stew, chocolate milk, hot cider, doughnuts, pumpkin bread and cookies at the end were very much appreciated.
Milan, IL

This is why we ask you not to do this. This is the first letter that I received this year.

Hello, I want to apologize for two entries, and hopefully, the results can be changed. Xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx and xxxxxxx xxxxxxx are 2 of my cross country runners. They slept in today, and we had to leave them in Omaha. My friend and his friend said that he wanted to run but didn't have a number. So I let him use the girls numbers. We did NOT win the XX XXXX title, although I would hope that one day we will. Here are the 2 guys names and ages.

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

I'm very sorry about this and hoping it doesn't cause too many problems. Thanks for allowing our kids to participate in this great event! We went to the Black Hills this summer and made our own running camp for a week. We where having a goals discussion around the campfire and I had each of the students tell me which race was the one that they were most proud of and enjoyed the most, about 90% of the kids said that "The Farms race was it". Thanks for all you do!

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