More than 1,800 runners will participate this weekend in what may be one of the most scenic half marathons in the country.
Racers in the Other Half follow the course of the Colorado River along at State Route 128 starting at the historic Dewey Bridge and ending at the oasis-like Sorrel River Ranch Resort. One of four Moab Half Marathon events, The Other Half is known as the most serene and intimate race, and also the most challenging.
“I think it is a beautiful course,” said race director Ranna Bieschke. “There are six hills between Hittle Bottom and Mary Jane Canyon. None are huge, most are gradual and there is always a reprieve to catch your breath.”
Taiko drummers greet runners at the top of Mary Jane at mile 12 of the race.
“There is inspiration on that last hill,” Bieschke said. “You can see Sorrel. You can see the lush green of the fields. And there is beer at the end.”
The race itself begins at 8:30 at the Dewey Bridge. It follows along the Colorado River amid backdrops of desert sandstone, cliffs and canyons. Runners can view prominent landmarks such as Fisher Towers, Castle Rock and the La Sal Mountains before finishing at Sorrel River Ranch Resort. Aid stations are available along the way.
“We’re hoping the weather will be great,” Bieschke said. “It should be a beautiful weekend.
This is the 9th year for the race which draws runners of all ages and abilities. The course record belongs to Paul Peterson, who turned in a time of 1hour and 9 minutes.
State Route 128 will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon between Milemarker 17 and 30 to give runners three and half hours of free reign during the race.
Spectators are encouraged to come out to cheer on runners from the finish line area at Sorrel River Ranch.
Karah Leveli-Rinaldi, Grand Junction, Colo., has run The Other Half every year but one since 2007. It’s an event she doesn’t like to miss.
“The Other Half is one half marathon to really soak it all in and enjoy it,” Leveli-Rinaldi said. “It’s such a welcoming environment to all runners, from the fastest and the elite among the field to the people who are doing their very first race. Everyone kind of gets a warm welcome.”
There is a vendor fair that is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday at the Moab Valley Inn. There is also the Pasta Dinner provided by the Youth Garden Project between 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday. All proceeds go to benefit the Youth Garden Project programming.
“It’s all you can eat,” Bieschke said. “There’s always a yummy dessert.”