Here's the last update. Everything is on track to run the original courses. While the main valley drive is still closed to the public, they are letting tour groups in which means that we will be able to get supplies into the Hogan Aid Station to open up that section of the course. NDOT (Navajo Dept of Transportation) will be working on the road all week and there's a good chance that it will be open by race day, but if it's not, there will be no crew access at the central Hogan aid station, and thus the entire race (with the exception of mile 36 for the 100 miler.) So be prepared for that scenario, as it is still a possibility.
The 100 mile course will be marked in pink ribbons with reflective tape. Whenever another route overlaps with the 100 mile route, pink will be the default color to follow. So the 50 mile will be following pink the entire route as well, as there is 100% overlap with it and the 100 mile route. Green flags will mark the short 50K route variation and orange flags will mark the short 25K route variation. Junctions and difficult sections will be labeled with signs and flour arrows.
It is the responsibility of the runner to check in at each aid station (coming in only, no need to check out of the aid station unless you are dropping.) Seek out the aid station worker wearing the fluorescent orange vest and give them your bib number. Failure to check in at an aid station can result in disqualification. If you drop out of the race and do not let the nearest aid station captain know, not only will you be responsible for all related search party costs, but you will not be allowed to enter any of our future events.
We are very fortunate to have Tailwind as the hydration drink sponsor at our events this year. This is the only sports drink available at the aid stations, so plan accordingly.
The nights will be very cold, it could dip down below freezing, so be prepared for that. It will still be pretty dark at 7am, so it would be a good idea to have a cheap headlamp that you can drop and label at the first aid station and pick up after the race with other drop bag items.
Be mentally prepared for a tough course. Just because the elevation change is minimal on this course it will still challenge you in many other ways. The sand is obviously very saturated this year, which makes it much better for running those sandy sections. There will likely still be some snow in the shady patches next to the mesas and on top of the mesas and you will likely have puddles and even some washes with water in them that will get your feet wet, so plan for that as well.
We will have a course preview meeting at 6:30pm both Thursday and Friday for those interested the night before where either Rick or myself will be giving an overview of the course conditions and answering any questions. We will also be playing this flyover video at the starting area during checkin. After the course preview meeting we will be priveledged to have Larry Holliday as our guest speaker and performer. You don't want to miss this. His daughter will also give a special performance. She is raising money to represent her area in an international native pageant and will be selling raffle tickets if you can support her. Larry is an amazing liason and we are so priveleged to have him involved.
Don't miss the prayer ceremony on both Friday and Saturday mornings at 6:45am. Please keep noise level down and be respectful during this ceremony.
On Sunday morning starting at 10am, runners that woulId like to experience a traditional Navajo sweat lodge can meet at the Hogan Aid Station to participate in a session. Please bring a $10 donation per session. I highly recommend this after doing it last year, it was the highlight of my trip.
Checkin is located at the start/finish line area, which is on the west side of the parking lot for the visitor's center. Feel free to pick up your bib any time between 2-8pm. Your meal tickets will get you Navajo tacos, prepared by Carlotta, who also made the 20k finisher awards. She and her niece Val (who made the overall winners' tomahawks) will be selling their jewelry at the start/finish line. The Lorraine and Jamison Black family will be selling their jewelry there at the Hogan aid station. They could all really use your support so consider buying some authentic, handmade, traditional jewelry or maybe an extra Navajo taco or two for your crew. Lorraine will be preparing frybread as well as mutton and veggie stew for runners at the Hogan aid station for the 100 milers.
I hope you're planning on getting out and seeing some of the beautiful land features unique to this area while you're here, as part of our Trifecta Series. If you're unaware of what that is, you can read more about it here: http://www.grandcircletrails.com/trifectas/ It would be a shame to come all the way out to this area and not see some of these other amazing things that are in the nearby vicinity. If you go on a horseback tour with any of the local companies you can count that as a Trifecta as well and get a discount for a future event. To tour the main valley, contact Lorraine Black at Dineh Trailrides- 928-209-2692. To tour the Utah side of the valley (Brigham's Tomb/Stagecoach area) contact Joe Atene- 435-450-2626. To go for a ride that leaves near the start/finish line, contact LeRoy from Monument Valley Trailrides at 435-459-2980. It is an amazing experience to see the valley on horseback and see how the Navajo treat their animals. They let them out each evening and the horses run free throughout the valley and in the morning they're out waiting for their owner to let them back in their corral. These Mustang/Quarter Horse mixes are the most well-trained and friendliest horses that I've ever been on.
If anyone is interested in staying in a real hogan nestled between the West and East Mittens, give Marlene Salazar Smith a call or email. I love sleeping in a hogan, they're so warm at night and cool during the day. Imagine waking up in a hogan and stepping out of the door and having the mittens towering over you. I just met Marlene the other day and told her I'd help her get the word out (she was volunteering with the flood relief effort and she's also a school teacher). Her number is 435-237-7123 and her email is email@example.com
We will have a photo competition after the race via our Instagram account. Photos can be taken before, during, or after the race. They can be photos of the course itself, from one of the trifectas, something funny at the event, your roadtrip, whatever. You have a two week window to submit them (a week before the event and a week after it.) Hashtag #ultraadventures to enter. The top vote getters will be awarded some great prizes from some of our sponsors such as Altra, Orange Mud, Smith Optics, St. George Running Center, Joe Trailman Gaiters, and High Desert Drop Bags.
Remember that we put on Zero Waste events. This means that we'll need your help by putting any waste in the appropriate container. The most important thing to separate is any organics/compostable items. Any left over food etc. please put in the "compost" buckets. Once that potentially smelly stuff is out of the way, it's really not that big of a deal if we have to do a little extra sorting. So please don't put food items in the trash or recycle containers. We will also have little buckets out at the aid stations for you to put your used gel packets into.
All of the toilets used at our event are composting toilets. If you're not familiar with what a composting toilet is, it's just a dry toilet with a carbon source medium (usually sawdust) added to the toilet chamber after each use (#2 that is- no need for #1). Please put a nice scoop of sawdust over your turd to aid in the composting process and keep things looking nice for the person coming after you :)
Here's a link to one of our ambassador's (Adrian Stanciu) table that he made to help with his 100 mile plan in case you'd like to use it as a reference or a pattern to design something similar for yourself.
Don't forget to bring any non-perishable food items or feel free to make a donation at checkin to the flood relief effort. We will deliver everything that we collect on Sunday afternoon to the fire station. These items will be distributed by local volunteers to families that live in the most remote areas and greatly appreciate the help.
See you soon!