Moab resident Warren Ohlrich might just be the oldest person running in the Moab Spring Trail Run. Ohlrich, who turned 77 on Feb. 15, ran in last year’s event and is looking forward to participating again this year on Saturday, March 5.
“I love the course,” Ohlrich said. “(Organizer Danelle Ballengee) always runs a good race; it’s well-marked. It’s really beautiful, with a lot of ups and downs, and slickrock.”
Ballengee said that while the drive to the race’s starting point is a bit barren and boring, the trail itself is gorgeous. The event takes place on the Klondike Bluffs Trails, north of Moab.
“The whole area, once you get there, is a wonderland of unique rock formations,” Ballengee aid.
Runners will follow along a creek bed for a while and see water-filled potholes before coming to a section of trail referred to as “a dinosaur dancing floor,” with hundreds of Theropod dinosaur tracks embedded in white slickrock. The route also includes grand views of Arches National Park, the snow-covered La Sal Mountains and Salt Valley.
There are two events on March 5: Participants can choose to run and/ or walk 8 kilometers, or do the half-marathon, which continues along the Dino-Flow single-track trail. Both events loop around to the start location.
On March 6 is the Moab Off-Road Duathlon, where participants start off running 8 kilometers, then switch to mountain biking for 13 kilometers.
“It’s similar to Saturday’s half-marathon, but on a mountain bike instead (of running),” Ballengee said.
For an extra $10, up to 50 participants can take part in the “nature lovers scavenger hunt,” which benefits Grand County Trail Mix, a committee of volunteers who build and maintain Moab-area trails. Participants bring along digital cameras or smartphones to snap 15 different listed nature scenes – such as a juniper tree, dinosaur tracks and cryptobiotic soil. Everyone who captures each item will win a prize.
“It’s a distraction from the pain of running,” Ballengee said. “It’s a fun thing, and helps people be more aware of their surroundings. That’s what is neat about trail running – appreciating what the outdoors offers.”
Ballengee said people should stay on course, and especially avoid trampling the cryptobiotic soil, a crusty soil full of living organisms important in arid ecosystems like Moab.
The Moab Spring Trail Run is limited to 300 participants, some of whom come from mountainous areas in Colorado and near Salt Lake City, to get away from the snow and soak up some sunshine, Ballengee said.
Each person who completes the course will receive Finishers medals. Awards will also go to top finishers in various age groups. Prizes include items that athletes can use, such as stainless steel coffee cups and a $25 gift coupon for a company that makes athletic products, Ballengee said.
Ohlrich, who plans to run the half-marathon, has been talking up the race with his friends. A couple of Colorado friends are running, one for the second time, he said.
“I’ve been running for a long time. I will keep doing this.” he said. “There are some great trails out there.”
March 5-6 event at Klondike Bluffs helps kick off spring season
What: Moab Spring Trail Run and Moab Off-Road Duathlon
When: Saturday, March 5, through Sunday, March 6; event starts at 8 a.m.
Where: Klondike Bluffs Trails, north of Moab
Info: Online registration at www.IMathlete.com; email@example.com
For more information, go to www.trainingrx.com/springtrailrun.html0, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.