Roughly 800 individuals from around the country, plus participants from other nations are expected to run in the 14th Canyonlands The Other Half marathon on Sunday, Oct. 15.
The 13-mile course parallels the river with views of Fisher Towers, Castle Rock and the snow-capped La Sal Mountains. Runners will experience a somewhat gentle course for the first seven miles, before it becomes hillier for the next five miles, before concluding with a fast downhill that ends at Sorrel River Ranch Resort.
This will be the first event for new owners Justin and Denise Ricks, who took over from long-time race director Ranna Bieschke, who retired in July.
“We already hosted trail events here in Moab (through Mad Moose Events company) so it was a good fit for us, and for her,” Denise Ricks said.
Not much will change, except an updated logo, and the website has been joined with their Mad Moose Events site, Ricks said.
“Otherwise, the race is the same – Ranna was already doing a great job with these events,” she said. “Community groups will continue to volunteer at the aid stations and at the finish line.”
The race begins at 8:30 a.m. at mile marker 30 on state Route 128, at the historic Dewey Bridge site on the Colorado River, about 30 miles northeast of Moab.
State Route 128 between mile markers 17 and 30 will be closed to motorized traffic from 7 a.m. to noon. For that reason, runners still on the road after that time will be required to board the sweep vehicle. Cutoff times will also be enforced at miles 2, 6 and 10 – both for safety and permitting reasons.
Both Denise and Justin are runners, as well as their two teenagers, a boy and a girl, both of whom participate on the Grand County High School cross-country team. They will be working as opposed to running in this event, however. The teens will be volunteering along with the rest of the cross-country team, Ricks said.
In fact, members of the high school basketball team, the debate team, National Honor Society and the Girl Scouts, plus other community volunteers, plan to turn out for the event to ensure things run smoothly.
In exchange for their support, as always, the race organization will donate money to each of the groups represented at the event.
Sean Meissner and his wife are coming from Durango, Colorado, to participate in the marathon. He said he considers it “preparation,” or “training” for another marathon they plan to run next month.
Plus, “we like the race directors,” Meissner, 44, said. “They put on really good events.”
While this is his first time participating in the Canyonlands marathon fall event, Meissner ran in the last two spring marathons, as well as a race in 1999, or 2000, he said.
Aid stations are placed every two miles, where volunteers will be serving up water, Gatorade and sometimes snacks. Meissner said he grabs a drink and keeps on going.
“The volunteers cheering us on helps, also,” he said. “It’s a pretty run through the canyon.”
Meissner is hoping he’ll do as well as he did in 2016, when he won the Master’s for 40 and older in the spring marathon. One of his prizes was free entry into the 2017 spring event.
This event’s winners will receive a ceramic piece airbrushed by Herbert Stash, Ricks said.
Thursday, Oct. 12, is the final day for early registration of $105. The cost after that date is $125.
About 800 runners expected for Oct. 13 race
“They put on really good events.”
When: Sunday, Oct. 15; start time at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Race starts near mile marker 30 on state Route 128, at Dewey Bridge
Cost: $105 if you register by October 12; Cost is $125 after that date