New year, new course! Due to continued construction on SR-9, we will be running the Zion Half Marathon on Smith Mesa in 2018. The course is going to be a gorgeous run on the West side of the park.
While you run, you’ll get amazing panoramic views of Zion. Though not technically "trail" the course is all dirt road, and will be running on the outskirts of a private ranch. (Please note, the course is subject to change.)
The start and finish will be at the same location (no shuttles!) and the race expo will be held in either Virgin or Springdale.
*We plan to return to our original Springdale course once construction on highway 9 is completed. It is forecast to be complete in 2019 sometime.
If there is substantial rain in the days leading up to the race, the road to Smith Mesa becomes dangerous and impassable for all but 4-wheel drive vehicles. We have an alternate course lined up that is all on road in case of bad weather. We have moved this race to a later date in the year to minimize the chances of rain. If we get rain during race weekend, we will need to move the race to a plan B. We will not know if this will be necessary until the week of the race. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation if that happens. We will update all of our runners immediately if we have to move to plan B.
Mile 1- The race will start on the edge of a 1000+ acre pasture. Expect the ground to be hard packed, flat, and great for running. About ½ mile in runners will turn onto Smith Mesa road. A dirt road that is mostly hard packed but with patches of soft dust. As soon as you turn onto the dirt road, you will see a big hill and you may hear some soft cursing from those around you.
Mile 2 - Once you get to the top of the first hill, you will get to run downhill, only to be faced with yet another hill, albeit smaller than the first. I would encourage all runners to stop for a minute and look behind them and to the left to realize you just climbed the stairway to heaven. The view here might make you cry (or maybe it was the hill, either way...).
Miles 3-4 - The next two miles run along the dirt road with some rolling hills and gorgeous views, and once you hit mile 3.5 you will turn onto the southern edge of another pasture.
Miles 5-7 - You will continue to run around the pasture on double track road. This section is almost entirely flat.
Mile 8 - There is a gradual hill here as you climb back up to and cross over Smith Mesa Rd.
Mile 9 - You will cut through another pasture and will hook up with a double track road. The pasture section may be the least run-able section depending on what happens in the spring. An early thaw or lost of moisture could lead to softer running terrain. The second half of this mile will be closer to trail running. While it will be on double track, there will be rocks and bushes growing on or near the course. There is a short but meaningful hill here as you club back up to the pasture.
Mile 10 - You will get back to running around the pasture until you connect back to and cross over Smith Mesa Rd again (for the last time).
Mile 11-13 - You will find yourself on familiar ground as 2.5 of the final 3.6 miles will be the same as 4-7. You will run around the pasture and will end up back at the same place you started.
The alternate course will be used in the case of meaningful rain in the week leading up to the race. It will almost entirely on paved asphalt, utilizing Kolob Terrace Road and will gain about 900 feet in the first half of the race while losing 900 ft in the second half. It is a super pretty run but will be challenging during the first half of the race. You will negative split the alternate course if we have to use it.
JULY 14, 2017 AT 8AM (MDT)
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