One of the most scenic half marathons in the country will celebrate its tenth year this year.
The Other Half is one of four races produced by Moab Half Marathon. It is known as the most serene and intimate race of the four Moab Half Marathon organizes, but also the most challenging.
“I think it’s 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.”
More than 1,800 runners will run along the Colorado River on State Route 128 from the historic Dewey Bridge and ending at Sorrel River Ranch Resort. In between the start and finish, racers can enjoy views of prominent landmarks such as Fisher Towers, Castle Rock and the La Sal Mountains.
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.”
Spectators are encouraged to come out and cheer runners from the finish line at Sorrel River Ranch.
Two runners will celebrate their tenth year racing the Other Half. Ray Jensen, 48, from Grand Junction, Colo., and Emily Box of Salt Lake City have come to Moab each year to run the fall race.
“It’s my favorite race ever,” Box said.
The first Other Half was the first race she has ever finished.
“There are so many things I love about this course: the beauty, the fabulous people at the aid stations, and now the memories.”
She said that it has become a family event. This year her brother from Chicago and her sister from Texas will race with her.
“Part of the fun is wandering around at the start looking to see who I know that is there,” Box said. “With so many friends and family members who love this race, it feels like a giant party every year.”
A new record was set for the Other Half in 2012 by Boulder, Colo., runner Kenyon Neuman with a time of 1:09:09. The previous record was set by Paul Peterson in 2009 with a time of 1:09:50.
Race winner Neuman said it was the most beautiful half marathon he had ever won.
“The first eight miles seemed really fast, especially if there wasn’t wind. It’s a great half marathon to extend into a camping trip and to visit Canyonlands,” Neuman said.
There will be 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 a pasta dinner between 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday. The feast includes pasta, veggie and meat marinara, pesto, salad, bread, garlic butter and dessert.
“It’s all you can eat,” Bieschke said. “There’s always a yummy dessert.”
All proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Grand County High School Marching Band.