Just a quick update on the situation in Monument Valley.
- Valley Drive (this is the road that we need to be open in order to access the "Hogan Aid station" and a large section of the course) is drying our but still has several areas that it has been washed out that are in need of repair for vehicles to get through. Crews were working on it yesterday. It does look promising that it can be repaired, but as of now it remains closed and impassable.
- We will be able to run an alternate route, even if the main valley section of the original route is not open. This alternate route will still be one of the most scenic routes in the world. I say that with full confidence. In my opinion, this race is our most visually rewarding event that we put on, even with a modified course. If you are not blown away by the scenery, you must be from another planet. We are so lucky to be able to run in the areas that this route accesses- you would have to spend a couple of days and a lot of money taking horseback and 4wd tours in order to see the places that you will see. You will likely be the only non-Navajo people to see these areas on foot for years. On top of that, there is the whole cultural aspect of this event and the opportunities it presents to connect with the Navajo people on a deeper level and really experience things in ways most visitors don't. When people ask me which is my favorite race that we put on, it feels like they're asking me which of my children is my favorite so it's hard to say because you love them each for different reasons, but everyone kind of knows that this is my favorite for those two reasons- visually and culturally, it is a life changing experience.
- While the sandy sections will be favorable for running after all of the moisture, it would still be a good idea to have gaiters. A buff is also a good idea for the wind if we see the windy conditions again like we did last year.
- We will have Russ from Skycall Satellite phones on site during the event. Russ will be renting out satellite phones for only $35 for the weekend, including minutes. There are parts of the course that don't have cell reception, so if you or your crew want to be sure to have constant coverage, he will be at the start/finish area renting those out.
- George and I were able to make a trip out to deliver some supplies to the emergency relief effort and meet with local officials yesterday. It was a very worthwile experience to connect with community members in a time of need, just wish that we could do more and that we'd have been there sooner when things were even more difficult. Here are some photos from the meeting https://www.facebook.com/ultradventures/posts/788492674578889
- George and I could see that the donation that we made for families living in rugged, remote areas of the reservation was greatly appreciated. Many of you have expressed interest in helping out. Even if the gravity of the emergency situation has subsided by race weekend, many of the families that live in these areas would still appreciate the help with food items. Most of the people receiving the supplies don't have running water or electricity. We would like to collect non-perishable food items for donation to the fire station, which will distribute them afterwards. We will have an area at the start/finish line that you can drop these items off. Blankets, toiletries etc. are also appreciated.
I'll keep you updated on the route conditions when I have more information, but plan on running an amazing course either way!