Moab Taiko Dan drummers show their support for The Other Half runners during a previous race. Runners are encouraged by the driving rhythms as they close in on the last mile of the race. [Photo courtesy of Moab Half Marathon]

Ranna Bieschke is not surprised to hear from runners who say The Other Half is their favorite Moab Half Marathon race course.

Of the four main events that the organization hosts each year, the 13.1-mile half marathon race along scenic state Route 128 on Sunday, Oct. 18, is perhaps the one that the race director would choose over the others.

“If I had to pick one to run, I would definitely pick this one, even though it is harder,” Bieschke said.

But coming from Community Church of Moab pastor Keith VanArsdol, the praise for what others have called the “Cadillac of half marathons” is rather unexpected.

“It’s so funny, because he’s a pastor, and he thinks it’s better on a Sunday,” she said.

Featured as one of the “Best Destination Half Marathons” in Runner’s World magazine, The Other Half is a point-to-point half marathon that starts at the historic Dewey Bridge at 8:30 a.m. and ends at the Sorrel River Ranch Resort. The USA Track & Field-sanctioned course follows the Colorado River through a dramatic red rock canyon with gorgeous views of the surrounding terrain. Near mile 5, runners enter “Postcard Alley,” with views of prominent landmarks such as Fisher Towers, Castle Rock and the La Sal Mountains.

“It’s a neat area,” VanArsdol said.

This weekend, VanArsdol will be returning for his fourth year as an Other Half runner, joining 2014 champion Nathan Krah of Salt Lake City, as well as athletes from 41 states and four countries.

VanArsdol is a familiar face at other Moab Half Marathon events, including the Canyonlands Half Marathon. But he said he enjoys The Other Half’s unique feeling, from the scenery and the race course itself to the smaller crowds it attracts.

“You get to know the people a little better,” he said. “It’s a smaller race than Canyonlands, and I kind of like that.”

Along the course, Moab Taiko Dan drummers will pound their hearts out to those runners, and volunteers will provide course support and well-stocked aid stations every 2 miles.

Expanding its commitment to the environment, The Other Half has eliminated the use of plastic water bottles and course aid stations will use compostable Gatorade and water cups. All waste will be sorted into trash, recycle and compost. Leftover food will be donated to local nonprofit organizations. Sponsor Moab Adventure Center will provide local buses to reduce the race’s carbon footprint. The commemorative race bags are also reusable, attractive, and sturdy.

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

A pre-race expo will be held at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC), 111 E. 100 North, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. Participants should bring their confirmation cards and photo IDs to receive their race packets.

Race amenities for all participants include long sleeve soft-tech race shirts, unique finisher medals, durable race bags and a fresh variety of post-race food, with locally brewed beer from the Moab Brewery served in commemorative pint glasses.

The Grand County High School Marching Band will be hosting a post-race pasta dinner at the MARC from 5 to 8 p.m. Anyone who purchased tickets when they registered will be included on a list at the door; door tickets will also be available to purchase at a cost of $14 per adult and $6 for children under 12.

Other Half race returns on Sunday, Oct. 18

If I had to pick one to run, I would definitely pick this one, even though it is harder.”

When: Sunday, Oct. 18, at 8:30 a.m.; mandatory shuttle service departs from the Moab Valley Inn and Helen M. Knight Elementary School at 6:30 a.m. Shuttles are also available at the gravel parking lot near the finish line. Post-race shuttles will leave Sorrel River Ranch Resort and return to Moab on an as-needed basis between 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Where: Race begins at Dewey Bridge and ends at Sorrel River Ranch Resort; state Route 128 will be closed to vehicles between mile markers 17 and 30 from 7 a.m. to noon.

Cost: $99; Entry fee includes a long sleeve technical race shirt, a unique finisher medal and beer!

For more information, or to register, go to, or call 435-259-4525.