Costumed runners jump during the 2012Canyonlands Half Marathon which took place on Saint Patrick’s Day. [Action Sports Images/ Courtesy Moab Half Marathon]

The 38th annual Canyonlands Half Marathon and Five Mile Run is Saturday, March 16.

Begun as a local road race, the Canyonlands Half Marathon has attracted runners from all 50 states and countries all over the world to travel to southern Utah for 13.1 miles of spectacular red rock scenery and small town hospitality.

The half marathon begins near Milemarker 11 at the High Point on State Route 128, which has a gradual down-hill run along the Colorado River into Moab. The Five Mile Run will begin at the mouth of Negro Bill Canyon near Milemarker 3. The state highway will be closed to vehicles between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to ensure safety for the runners.

Runners will be greeted by thundering Taiko drummers two miles from the finish line. At the finish line at Swanny Park there will be live music by Grand Junction based Jack Plus Jill, varied food and retail vendors, as well as the addition of the Moab Brewery’s beer for racers and spectators over 21 years of age.

Moab Half Marathon presents three other road races: Thelma & Louise Women’s Half Marathon on June 1, The Other Half on Oct. 20, and the Winter Sun 10K on Dec. 7. It has worked hard to shift the race’s popularity into awareness of and support for various non-profits including the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Girls on the Run. The 2012 race helped raise over $100,000 for these organizations and others like Moab’s Youth Garden Project.

“We receive a great deal of community support for this event from many organizations throughout the community, without their support it wouldn’t be possible to make this event so successful,” said race director Ranna Bieschke.

Bieschke acknowledged that growth brings challenges, too.

“We have impact in mind as this event gets bigger,” Bieschke said. “Positively affecting the environment and our community is an important part of our mission.”

Canyonlands Half Marathon uses compostable cups at the expos, race starts, along the course and at the finish line. Volunteers and race crew will collect these cups in special cans and later transport them to a commercial composting facility in Grand Junction,

Race participants are encouraged to look for and use the special cans for their water and Gatorade cups, in addition to the recycle cans that will be available. Other green efforts include sturdy reusable race bags. The utilization of local buses from sponsor Moab Adventure Center also helps to reduce the race’s carbon footprint.

Canyonlands Community Recycling will be providing volunteers to help racers set aside recyclables and compostable materials. Last year CCR was able to divert 1300 pounds of recycling and 1705 pounds of compost from the Moab Landfill last year during the Canyonlands Half Marathon held in March and The Other Half held in October.

Volunteers are needed from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at Swanny City Park.

To volunteer with CCR, email or call 435-210-4996.