Race participants in the 2018 Behind the Rocks Ultra. This year’s race is on Saturday, March 23, at the Behind the Rocks trail. [Photo courtesy of Mad Moose Events]

Behind the Rocks Ultra is an opportunity to do some off-roading. Off-road running, that is.

Taking place on Saturday, March 23, Behind the Rocks Ultra starts and finishes at the Behind the Rocks trail, along the border of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area.

There are several courses from which to choose. Runners tackling the 50-mile course will start at 6 a.m. and runners in the 50k will start at 7 a.m. The 30k runners will begin at 8 a.m., with all other participants in the 10-mile course starting at 8:30 a.m.  

The start and end point is about 13 miles south of Moab, and race organizers describe the trails as “remote” and an “opportunity to enjoy the desert solitude.”

“From smooth doubletrack to sandy washes to technical doubletrack, to challenging singletrack, Behind the Rocks Ultra will test you mentally and physically,” the race organizers say on their website, madmooseevents.com.  

Also according to the website, all runners will receive a custom race shirt, custom BOCO Gear Technical Trucker hat and a finisher’s medal.

Justin and Denise Ricks are the directors of Mad Moose Events. In addition to Behind the Rocks Ultra, they organize other Mad Moose Events popular in Moab, such as the Canyonlands Half Marathon and the Winter Sun Run 10k.  

“Behind the Rocks Ultra is a more remote race,” said Denise Ricks. “A lot of the runners camp out at the start area. It’s special because it creates a really cool community feel at the event.”

There are designated spots for dispersed camping so that people stay in their tents, RVs and campers at the start and finish point. Toilets will be provided, and race participants do not need to make a campaign reservation. Rules for the race include no littering and no cutting through the switchbacks.

This year will be the sixth year for the race, but the first year of the “Triple Crown of Moab” series.

The Triple Crown races kicked off with the Dead Horse Ultra in November and included the

Arches Ultra in January.

“Finish any distance at each of the events to finish the Triple Crown of Moab,” explains the Mad Moose website.

Prizes will be given for the top three finishers and a “masters winner” in two categories: those runners who have either participated in the 30K or half-marathon distance at all three events, and those who ran two 50Ks and a 50-Mile race. In each category, times will be added together to determine an overall winner.

Tony Russ is an employee at Mad Moose Race Events and said he is looking forward to the race.

“I do a little bit of everything,” he said. “We don’t really have positions, we just all work together.”  

Russ said he ran the 50k at both the Dead Horse Ultra and Arches Ultra and will be doing the 50k at the Behind the Rocks Ultra.

“Behind the Rocks is one of my favorite courses,” Russ said. “The course is beautiful, just like all of the Moab courses. The start/finish line is my favorite part because most people end up camping there, because it’s far out of town. It creates a cool scene.”

Race is ‘finale’ of Moab Triple Crown

Race directions to starting line:

From Moab, head south on U.S. Highway 191 approximately 13 miles. As you head out of town, the highway is a single-lane road. As you begin to head up the first steep hill, the road will open up to a passing lane. Once you get to the top of the hill, the dirt road will be on your right. The turn is just past mile marker 113. If you pass the rest area, you have gone too far. Take a right turn, and follow the road approximately 2.5 miles to the start. You will see the start line on the left. The dirt road is difficult to spot. The road is technical, but passable. Please allow plenty of time to find the start. There will be parking attendants pointing out parking spots. If you park in an unacceptable location, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will issue tickets. Please adhere to parking attendants’ instructions to avoid tickets and ensure we can continue to work with the BLM for the Behind the Rocks and future events hosted by Mad Moose Events.

When: Saturday, March 23, at 6 a.m.

Where: Behind the Rocks

Cost: Prices vary from $95 to $160; see website for details and registration

Info: Visit madmooseevents.com

“A lot of the runners camp out at the start area. It’s special because it creates a really cool community feel at the event.”