Sage Canaday won first place at a previous Moab Trail Marathon. [Photo courtesy of Danelle Ballengee]

Charlene and Herbert Stash began running as a family a few years ago after their oldest son, who was a high school freshman at the time, announced he was joining the school’s cross country team. Their son, Tyrese, had been a video-game-playing “couch potato” prior to that, Charlene Stash said.

So, “we joined him with practices; we encouraged him,” Stash said.

Tyrese went on to win state and national championships. Now in college, Tyrese continues to run 3-6 miles, two or three times a week. His parents and two younger brothers have also kept up with the sport.

“Overall, we run as a family,” Stash said. “Now that the older one is in college, we still carry on running together. He got us all into running — we appreciate him doing that.”

The Stash family will participate in the 10th anniversary Moab Trail Marathon, on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3 and 4.

Charlene and Herbert Stash and 13-year-old Tyler will run the half-marathon, while 12-year-old Tyrell plans to run the 5K.

The family also runs races at the Navajo Nation in Red Mesa, Arizona, where the Stashes are from originally; running is part of their Navajo culture.

“Our elders always said, ‘Run before the sunrise,’” Charlene Stash said. “It will make your day start off good.”

This will be the fourth Moab Trail Marathon event the family has both participated in and volunteered for. They like the scenery, Stash said.

“It’s just so beautiful out there, especially running as a family,” she said.

The Stashes will join about 2,500 runners for the annual race that is taking place on trails along the Kane Creek Corridor — including Pritchett Canyon, Hunter Rim and Jackson Trail. This year the race is also hosting the National Championships, which draws professional runners from across the country. A couple from France on their honeymoon are among those signed up for the race, event organizer and owner Danelle Ballengee said.

On Saturday, Nov. 3, 1,700 people are registered for the marathon, half-marathon and 5K events. Approximately 700 are registered for the half-marathon on Sunday. The top runners in the marathon event will be recognized as the national champions, and share the $4,500 prize purse.

While the area will remain open to other day-users, if you’re craving outdoor solitude this weekend, you might want to recreate elsewhere. Spectators are allowed in the event parking lot (the overflow campground before the Kane Creek parking area) which is serving as the start and finish area. There will be lots going on in the spectator area, Ballengee said.

“The Fiery Furnace Marching Band will perform just before the start of the race, as well as in between the various waves of runners,” Ballengee said. “Spectators will be able to see kids start and finish at the site, as well as the start and finish of other events. The marathon runners will come through the area before continuing 2.5 miles farther to the finish line.”

Designed by Ballengee, the rugged and scenic course crosses a path where the local legendary runner fell 60 feet in 2006. She spent two nights out in freezing temperatures, stranded with a shattered pelvis before her dog led rescuers to where she lay injured. The story was featured on the shows “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” and “20/20 in an Instant.”

The event starts at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Top finishes are expected to complete the course in three hours, with a cutoff time at eight hours.

“Trail Runner” magazine has named the event as one of the top 10 “bucket list” races.

Many people volunteer at the event in exchange for a donation to a nonprofit they represent — such as Community Rebuilds, Humane Society of Moab Valley, and Grand County High School’s cross country team. Ballengee also donates proceeds to the trail-building group Grand County Trail Mix and to the Grand County Search and Rescue team.

Navajo family among the local contenders

When: Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3-4

Where: Starts at Pritchett Canyon entrance

Cost: Various fees for different events (registration is full)


“Our elders always said, ‘Run before the sunrise.’”