Vic Bruno crossed the finish line at a past Canyonlands Other Half Marathon. [Photo by Action Images / Courtesy of Justin Ricks]

Vic Bruno is hoping to beat his personal record this weekend at the Canyonlands Other Half Marathon. 

“I’m training more than I have ever trained,” he said, “so we’ll see what happens.”

Bruno was born in southern Italy and has lived in Moab for 11 years – he and his wife own the Desert Hills Bed and Breakfast in Moab. Bruno has run seven of the last eight Canyonlands Other Half Marathons, and set his personal record in 2015. 

“I remember I was number seven in my age group and, like, number 70 of all the participants [in 2015],” he said. “I want to do better than that. Especially because I’m getting older – I don’t know how long I can do that for.” 

This will be the 15th year that Moab will host the Canyonlands Other Half Marathon, but the last year that it will continue under the same name.

Justin and Denise Ricks, owners of Mad Moose Events, will be directing the race on Sunday, Oct. 14, for the second year since acquiring the event – and several other Moab races – from Ranna Bieschke last summer. They are looking for ways to increase participation, and a name change is one of their strategies.

The current name makes sense as a companion to the Canyonlands Half Marathon that takes place in Moab in the spring, but Justin Ricks says only a tiny percentage of runners participate in both events.  In 2019, The Other Half race will be called the Arches Half Marathon. 

“We believe that ‘Arches’ does a better job of selling the quality of the event, compared to ‘The Other Half,’” Ricks said. “‘The Other Half’ seems inferior, and it seems like an afterthought.”  

Participation in The Other Half, and other Moab road foot races, has been dropping over the last 10 years or so, according to Ricks.

Eight years ago, he said, there were around 2,500 runners in The Other Half. This year, Ricks expects about 600. He hopes to bring more people to these Moab events, but he doesn’t expect a quick fix. 

“… To stop that skid is going to take more than one year,” he said.

Bruno thinks the drop in participation can be attributed to the rising cost of lodging in Moab.

“People come from Salt Lake City, from Denver, just for one night – Saturday night – then they have to get back to work on Monday,” Bruno explained.

After paying for gas, lodging, dinner, and the race package, Bruno estimated that out-of-towners could be spending around $500 for the weekend. 

“I think that’s their biggest hurdle right now – the hotels, how expensive they are,” Bruno said. “That’s something they have to figure out.”  

But both Bruno and Ricks are confident in The Other Half’s quality and appeal. 

“It is an amazing course – it’s one of the most beautiful races in the United States, probably,” Bruno said. “I would love to see more people, to make sure that this thing keeps on going.” 

Ricks believes that the course will draw more people in the future.

“Canyonlands [Half Marathon] was actually just voted by Runner’s World as one of the top 50 races in the world,” he said, “and we believe that The Other Half is a better event than Canyonlands, as far as the views go, and where it finishes and things like that. So we have real high expectations for this event going forward.” 

A big turnout will contribute more than just business for local hotels – Mad Moose partners with various local nonprofits.

Aid stations will be staffed by volunteers from several teams from Grand County High School – boys’ and girls’ basketball, cross country, and debate – as well as volunteers from Young Life, Community Rebuilds, the Youth Garden Project and Second Chance Wildlife Rehab Center. Ricks estimates they will donate between $8,000 and $10,000 to these groups. 

Registration for the race closes on Thursday, Oct. 11. The medals and the glory will go to the racers, but you don’t have to run 13.1 miles to enjoy this event.

Spectators can party at the finish line at Sorrel River Ranch, basking in the red rock scenery, indulging in beer from the Moab Brewery, and watching a live performance from Jack + Jill, an indie/alternative band from Grand Junction, Colorado.

“We want it to receive the recognition that it deserves, ’cause it really is a great event,” Ricks said.

For more information, go to:

Annual fall race will continue under a new name after this year

What: Canyonlands: The Other Half Marathon

When: Sunday, Oct. 14, at 8:30 a.m.

Where: Course starts at Dewey Bridge and finishes at Sorrel River Ranch

Cost: $105


It is an amazing course – it’s one of the most beautiful races in the United States.