Racers run alongside the rail line on State Route 279, the new course for the “Thelma and Louise Half Marathon, an all women's half marathon to be held on June 1. [Photo courtesy Moab Half Marathon]

The second annual Thelma and Louise Half Marathon, an all-women’s half marathon, will be held Saturday, June 1.

The race was inspired by the 1991 award-winning film “Thelma and Louise” about two good friends who find themselves on the run—literally and figuratively—and end up in the desert.

The race course has been altered this year and will take place on Highway 279, Potash Road, covering a stretch with virtually no change in elevation.

“The Thelma and Louise Half is an out-and-back running along side the Colorado River,” said race director Ranna Bieschke. “There are sure to be fast times, as this course is flat and fast.”

Portions of the movie “Thelma and Louise” were made in the Moab-area, including the cliff where Thelma and Louise make their final escape at the end of their movie, known locally as both Thelma and Louise Point, or Fossil Point. The road to the point begins at State Route 279 where the race is held, but is accessed by several miles of four-wheel drive road.

Racers will have the opportunity to decide whether they are a “Thelma” or a “Louise, choosing which name to sport on their running bibs.

The Thelma and Louise Half Marathon is one of four races that The Moab Half Marathon organizes each year, including The Other Half in October; Winter Sun 10K in December and the Canyonlands Half Marathon in March.

The inaugural Thelma & Louise Half Marathon, which took place last May, was so successful that registration has doubled to nearly 800 runners for 2013, Bieschke said. The out-and-back nature of the course will allow for well-provisioned aid stations to serve double-duty creating shorter stretches in between. Gold Bar Campground, the start and finish staging area, will have live music and refreshments for runners and spectators alike.

“The gorgeous scenery and proximity to the river will be a great end reward,” Bieschke said.

Runners will be supporting two organizations that support women and girls.

Girls on the Run, an international program, seeks to develop confidence and positive self-image in pre-teen girls through thought provoking lessons and running. The Moab Chapter of Girls on the Run is now in its third year.

Seekhaven Family Crisis Center in Moab, founded in 1990, provides services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Bieschke said that Moab Half Marathon strives to be as low-impact as possible with each event.

“Positively affecting the environment and our community is an important part of our mission,” Bieschke said.

All waste generated by the event will be sorted into trash, recycle and compost; race bags are durable, attractive and reusable; plastic water bottles have been eliminated from the start, course, and finish and replaced with compostable cups.