Buffalo National River Biathlon and Trail Run

Tom KrohnBuffalo National River

National Park Service Logo

For Immediate Release

October 17, 2016

Contact:  Sybil Craig 479-966-4211

Buffalo National River Biathlon and Trail Run

With the benefit of beautiful weather conditions and near perfect river levels, 126 competitors completed the inaugural Buffalo National River Biathlon and Trail Run on Sunday, October 16, near Yellville, Arkansas.  Twenty-one people completed a 13.6-mile run on the Buffalo River Trail from Dillard’s Ferry (Highway 14 Bridge) to Spring Creek Road and back.  Fifty-seven individual athletes and twenty-four 2-person teams completed the biathlon by running 6.8 miles on the Buffalo River Trail from Dillard’s Ferry to Spring Creek, and then paddling 4.6 miles back to Dillard’s Ferry.  Racers were greeted by enthusiastic spectators at the finish line and bald eagles flying overhead.
The race was co-organized by the Buffalo National River Partners, the Lower Buffalo River Association, and Buffalo National River as part of the National Park Service Centennial celebration.  “We are proud to be a part of the race and it’s a great example of what we can get done when everyone pulls together,” said Bill Scruggs, spokesperson for the Lower Buffalo River Association, referring to the many partners who worked to make the race successful. “There are so many people and organizations to be thanked and commended.  Adventure Subaru of Fayetteville and Nature’s Wonders of Harrison were official sponsors for the race. We had really great support from the National Park Foundation’s Active Trails grant. Harp’s of Yellville provided bottled water.  The folks from PaddleArkansas.org were onsite and helped with promoting the event.  Buffalo River Float Service, Dirst Canoe Rentals, and Wild Bill’s Outfitter provided boats and shuttle services. Larry Davenport at Buffalo Point Concession put on the spaghetti dinner the night before the race and the Mellow Mountain Band drew a great crowd.  The Master Naturalists from Mountain Home did a great job with trail work before the race.  The trail was in great shape.  And the park service did a great job.  It was a really well run event.”
“We couldn’t have asked for a better capstone event for the Centennial celebration at Buffalo National River.  Weather was great, river came up just in time, Everything just came together  … and the racers and spectators were so enthusiastic and supportive.  It was a great weekend for the park and our partners. We even had four park employees complete the biathlon. On behalf of the National Park Service, I want to say thanks to all the racers, visitors, and support staff for making this weekend a huge success,” said Kevin Cheri, Superintendent of Buffalo National River.  The race is the last major Centennial event of 2016 at Buffalo National River.  Other successful Centennial events included the Iron Ranger Challenge which kicked off on January 1; a National Park Radio concert and Yoga in the Park during National Park Week, and the recent Ozark Folklife Festival that was held at Tyler Bend in partnership with the Searcy County Chamber of Commerce.
Just days before the race, it was feared that water levels would be too low until rains midweek brought them to “high,” covering all the gravel bars on the lower river.  But by Sunday morning, conditions were perfect for an early morning start at Dillard’s Ferry.  Comments from the still-panting racers were overwhelmingly in favor of holding the race again next year.

Runners pass the Kimball Bluff checkpoint. (Photo: Terra Fondriest/NPS)

Going with the flow on the return leg downstream. (Photo: Terra Fondriest/NPS)


Spectators waiting for the first returns.  (Photo: Terra Fondriest/NPS)


Casey Johannsen

Centennial Coordinator
Buffalo National River
2229 Highway 268 East
Yellville, AR 72687