Thank you!!!

What a weekend.  What highs and what lows.  It was amazing to watch runners cross the finish line and be able to talk to them. My family, friends and even strangers stepped up and helped out soooo much, expecting nothing in return.  I came out feeling more connected to the important people in my life and the ultrarunning community than I ever imagined.

What an amazing group of people you guys are.  So effing amazing.  It is so cool to rub shoulders with people that attack life in the same way.  You set out to do the impossible, and in the process when things go wrong in the darkest hour or something out of your control gets in the way, you handle it with such dignity.  You guys have won over the hearts of my family and the volunteers and I have no doubt that we will be able to do amazing things with this race in the future now that they are 100% on board.  All of these minds behind the race are now firing on all cylinders thinking of ways to make it a success.

I am still in the process of taking down the course markings and it has been an eye opening experience for sure.  Gooseberry at night is a whole different world. There is no such thing as “running” the Goose at night.  You just try not to get lost.

As a gesture of saying thanks for having enough faith in us to join us in our first year of existence and as a gesture of saying “We’re sorry” for the sub-par performance on course markings, keeping up with the leaders, keeping aid stations well-stocked for the back of the packers, and not being able to deliver on several key items that I said that we’d have in place- I’d like to extend a 50% discount off of next year’s race to anyone that toed the 100 mile starting line on race day.  We would love to see you back here, and are confident that we will have the above mentioned glitches worked out.

Also, for anyone that DNF’d the 100, but went more than 50 miles, we have a 50 mile finisher’s medallion for you.  Please send me an email if you’d like to have us ship that out to you.

Drop bags- if you send a check for $10 to: Matt Gunn, 810 S. Peachtree Dr., Toquerville, UT, 84774 and include the address that you’d like your items shipped to. We’ll get those sent out to you- most likely sometime next week as we still have about 40 miles of trail to take down and clean up and a lot of organizing of supplies to do.

We’ve got some really cool course improvements that I’m excited to let you guys know about in the future.  Next year is going to be epic!!!

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36 responses to “Thank you!!!

  1. Danny Widerburg

    I will be paying full price for next years 100 , I have no complaints at all ! Matt , You and your crew did a fantastic job ! I was 100% impressed ! When do sign ups open up for 2013 , like I said , I will be running and at full price !

  2. Thanks, Danny! But it is also meant as a “THANK YOU!” which I would have offered even if we didn’t have all of the glitches. Without you guys taking a chance on us as a first year event, we couldn’t be where we are. Just want to say thanks for having that confidence in us, taking that chance, and being so freaking positive through that blistering heat on race day!!

    Also, I want the peoples’ voices to be heard that did not have the best experience, because they did have a legitimately shitty experience.And in many cases, if I’d have stayed focused on the most important things (trail marking and basic logistics) instead of a bunch of cool details (most of which I wasn’t able to pull off anyways) their story could have been different. And those people do deserve an apology.

    Anyways in the grand scheme of things, we’re going to do alright next year. We’ll be ready to open it up to more runners, most of the supplies necessary to run the event have been purchased, and our staff has now seen what it takes to make one of these things work and is pumped to knock this next one out of the park!!! We want to say thanks to those that have either A) stood by our side from the get go (you) or sorry to those that took a chance on us and didn’t have a great experience in part due to basic logistical issues that should have been covered better. No excuses. (Even though I have a lot of really good ones that I wish I could share!!)

  3. BTW Danny, Registration will open up in June sometime. Want to get the course and date finalized first.

  4. There were certainly some hiccups but overall I was very impressed with the level of organization. Especially from a first year race. If you keep up your current level of enthusiasm for improving and doing things well then I would suspect that in the future this race will fill up very quickly.

  5. Terri bidwell

    I did the 50. It was a great event. Sure there were some nav problems, kind of expected this in a first year race. At least we didn’t have to run at night. My sister also did it and she got lost…or confused as to whether or not she was lost and got pulled. I thought it was a really great effort especially by the volunteers!! And Matt of courses. Just great someone had the dream to create this race because it is a wonderful setting.

  6. I should also say that I completely agree that the course could’ve been marked better. The ribbons were too small, dull and in some places infrequent. The 1″ square reflective markings were hard to spot. The glow bracelets used as markers didn’t really glow. There were some important turns that could’ve used signs or something that really grabbed people out of their heat comas. I dropped at cattle grate as did a few people. There was no way set up to get me out of there, I basically had to hitch hike out. I wasn’t really expecting anything, I knew that I was the only person really responsible for getting me back to civilization but I do think that a quitter shuttle would’ve been a good thing to have at that point.

    Now here’s what I LOVED about the race. The aid stations (maybe with the exception of the one at 51 which had unmotivated teenagers as volunteers). The “half station” at the top of the second major climb was better than many full aid stations that I’ve seen in other races. The people crewing it were exceptional. The water/sponge buckets were amazing. The electrolyte slushies were way more than a person could ever expect. The vegan broth was very much appreciated as was all your efforts of having stuff for those of us who are more picky about what we eat. The medical staff was a nice touch as well. I really appreciate the effort made to make sure everyone stays safe. I think it’s very important to monitor peoples health because it’s dangerous to send a bunch of bonked out zombies off on their own into a night time wilderness. Although the ultralive updates were not flawless it was still way better than nothing. It was nice to have a way for family and friends to monitor my progress. The course was amazing, you definitely picked a great beautiful venue to have a race. Above all I appreciate your desire to improve and your abillity to realize there were things that could’ve been done better. That type of attitude is what will make this race even more amazing next year.

    I know some people were a bit blind sided by the difficulty of the course, we all were. I don’t think everyone was planning on such technical trails or that kind of heat. But that is at no fault of your own. It was a first year race, it was uncharted territory and I knew that going in. It ended up being too much for me this year but I appreciated the opportunity to be one of the test subjects and look forward to coming back next year.

    • Shawn- I’m excited for you to come back and see the course we’ll have laid out for you- new areas to explore even closer to the park (and less of the gnarly desert cattle trails), more crew access, more experienced staff, cooler temps, and trail markings that “Stevie Wonder could follow!” (Direct quote from Errol “The Rocket” Jones!)

      • shawn wood

        Please leave some gnarly parts. I really enjoyed the technical parts. At least I enjoyed it when my legs and body were still functioning properly. :)

      • There will still be plenty of gnarliness! Most likely to include Grafton Mesa (a downhill mtn. bike trail similar to the Flying Monkey), Eagle Crags trail, and possibly the Guacamole trail! The Goose will still be the heart of it all, but we’ll likely follow the more direct South Rim all the way out instead of the Secret Harris trail. The area that we’ll definitely be cutting out will be miles 31-45 through the exposed desert on those crappy 4 wheeler trails that are nearly impossible to find any rhythm on. There’s enough of that type of terrain up on the Goose. We’ll instead take the more direct route across the desert up onto Gooseberry that the 50 milers took. We’re going to be a strictly 100 race in the future- 100 miles or 100K- like the Javelina Jundred. One start time for all. 100 milers can drop at 100K and pick up the finish there if they can’t finish out the 100 miles.

      • i will miss the flying monkey trail, the wash/singletrack, and my dip in the river….overall, i enjoyed the loop north of virgin! i thought i would be more depressed at the cattle grate, but the dirt road was a welcome relief after the secret harris trail, which thankfully i ran the week before the race!

  7. James Wedekind

    Zion Team,
    We had a great experience at the 100! Sure things could have gone better in a few isolated situations (they always can), but you’ve got the 90% solution. We were able to follow the markings w/o any problems and the aid stations were running like well oiled machines when I arrived. All of the volunteers were extremely kind/helpful, and they went out of their way to move quickly and efficiently even when they were bombarded with runners. I especially enjoyed my encounters with the lady who helped me with my drop bags and manned AS 42. We traded some verbal jabs and laughs while she shooed me down the course with a twinkle in her eye.

    Thanks again!

  8. Matt, I ran with 3 other runners. We had one drop right before the big climb, he started throwing up and couldn’t keep anything down. The rest of us were able to finish. The only suggestion I have is the course markings on the Goose. I have biked the Goose and I think that helped us get through that section without any problems. We ended up back tracking a few sections, but didn’t get too lost. From then on it was much less tech and eaiser to navigate. The long single track sections at the end of the race were beyond amazing. I have never had so much fun after 90 miles.

    The aid stations were amazing and stocked well. The volunteers were terrific, and very helpful. The course and views were amazing and I personally liked the different terrain, from exposed desert running, to slick rock and trees. Zion is a beatiful area. Thanks for all the hard work. Loved the experience and will be back next year.

  9. Matt Pulsipher

    Matt,
    It was a great experience to be able to be a part of the inaugural Zion 100/50. I ran in the 50, which in my opinion was well prepared. My only concern were the light pink markers that tended to fade into the desert terrain, maybe something a little brighter? The aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers were incredible.The two that stick most in my mind were the Rogue aid station making fresh ice slushies, and the Gould’s Rim aid station. No one could have foreseen the extreme heat that was encountered. Over all for a first race you did a great job. I will be back next year for the 100!

  10. Jared Thorley

    Matt,
    Thank you. Well frickin’ done for a first year race. I did the 50 miler (my first ultra) and couldn’t have picked a better showcase for what this whole running-ridiculously-far-in-the-hills thing is all about. It was a humbling, inspiring, rewarding experience. Kudos to you and your team for the amount of passion and soul you guys put into pulling this thing off. I was born and raised in St. George and loved being able to pop my ultra cherry at home. I will definitely be back for at least the 100k next year. I’ve heard rumors of date changes. What are you thinking? Seems like such a crapshoot with there being snow up on the mesas in May some years.

  11. It’s looking like late March thru mid April and we’ll take our chances with the cold and rain, but nothing has been agreed on yet. I know that I’d much rather run in the cold so that doesn’t bother me, but the mud makes 75% of the course unrunnable. Which means that we would be doing 4 loops on the only part of the course that remains runnable in the snow/mud if it came to that.

    • Matt, my vote would be to keep the date later than earlier. This course is exceptionally beautiful! It would be heartbreaking to miss any of it. I would take the risk of hot weather with runnable dry trails over the risk of being forced to do loops in bad weather. My two bits.

      • i agree with susan….this past winter was not very winter-like! i think the second half of april at the earliest. the buffalo run on antelope island has 100/50 mile races in late march and there are at least a few of us that did both.

  12. Janet Thomson

    Matt, you all did a fabulous job with a first-year race. It was your honest and frequent communication that made me (and others, I’m sure) be willing to try a first-year race. We all know that things can’t go flawlessly the first time, let alone for any 100-mi race. From my perspective, you did an amazing job. The ice water drops in between aid stations were absolutely invaluable, and you all did a great job of getting those out there. That electrolyte slushy thing was just about the best thing in the entire world. Yes, the route markings could have been better, and a couple volunteers or signs at key turnoffs would have been great, but otherwise the overall organization, communication, and support was superb. Despite the heat, this was one of the most, if not the most, enjoyable 100s I’ve ever done. Keep that excitement and flame alive, keep reaching out for help and ideas, and this race will go gangbusters. I will be back!
    Janet

  13. I thought this was a fantastic race with above average support. Yes, there are some tweaks that I’m sure other, more detail-oriented, wordy participants have already told you about, but for a first event it was really good! I’ve been to a number of events where they strive for a bar lower than you attained. And it’s only going to improve!
    Please keep the course hard and not looped!
    I liked miles 31-45 :)
    FYI- I got lost, ran out of water at a point or two and ended up dropping, but I loved every minute of it. That’s why I was out there!
    Thank you!

  14. Excellent race. I agree with the others about the aid station at the top of Gooseberry. It was AWESOME. Near the top of the Gooseberry climb a volunteer – I have no idea who – came flying down the trail and grabbed my handhelds – ran to the top – and them brought them back with ice cold water. He might as well have been an angel – because that and the electrolyte icees at the top turned my race around.

    One recommendation – towards the top of the Gooseberry climb – there was a traverse that had very, very sketchy footing. It seemed unsafe to me – and reading a few race reports I’ve seen a few people mention the same thing. That might be another place to have a rope to hang on to.

    Other than that – I thought the course and terrain were great. Can’t imagine improvements – but I guess I’ll have to return next year to find out if it can get any better ;-)

  15. Those angels were GW and Melissa Walsh, Virgin residents extraordinaire. You may have recognized them from running aid station #3. GW was also the repelling/flying monkey and he came and he hauled away about 30 bags of trash from the park for me on Sunday. He also set up a “Rogue Aid Station” on the 50 mile course on Saturday. And made about 5 ice runs. And shuttled people and supplies all over the place. I don’t know how we’re going to get by without them next year, but we’re going to have to find a way because you guys inspired them so much and they are going to run in the race!

    • Wow. Matt, please do me and the rest of us runners a favor and tell GW and Melissa how much we all appreciated them. I think everyone was blown away by their enthusiasm to help. Running past a man suspended from a rope wearing a gorilla suit and angel wings early on was when I first really said to myself “this is going to be fun”.

      • Shawn Wood

        If only I would’ve put the same level of energy into running the race as those two put into helping everyone then maybe I would’ve finished. :)

    • The Walsh’s were beyond awesome. Honestly, I don’t think they have any idea how much it meant to have their enthusiasm and helpfulness at the top of Gooseberry. And those icees were the best thing I’ve ever had at a race.

  16. BTW Brian, we will have a traverse line set up on that section next year, several others have mentioned the same concern.

  17. Matt, I think you did a great job for the first year. Luckily I did the Goose part before it got dark. You may have already heard about other sections with marking issues, but I’ll send you my list. Thanks for all the work.

    • Thanks, Mark. The sections that have been brought to my attention are Gooseberry (obviously- although I didn’t know the extent of how bad it was until I took the markings down), Little Creek (sparse or no markings leading to confusion), the turnoff at the golf course, the access trail to the Gould’s Rim trail after aid #10, and the turnoff of Hurricane Rim trail through the brush to the dirt road that took you to aid #12. The lack of directional signs on the second half of the course was a big problem. Most of these had a band-aid on them by the time the 50 milers came through (with the exception of some mismarking up on Gooseberry that didn’t get reported to me until late.) We’re working on a solid plan for next year, using the best of what has worked at other races and adding a few of our own ideas that will be helpful. We’ll spend more money and time on marking and re-use most of the materials for future years. I will personally mark Gooseberry and any potential troublesome sections, we’ve spoken to the BLM about having more time to get ready and take down since we have so much more distance to cover than a normal race.

  18. Matt, I think you did a great job for the first year. Luckily I did the Goose part before it got dark. You may have already heard about other sections with marking issues, but I’ll send you my list. Thanks for all the work.

  19. Matt– For a first time event, I thought you and all the volunteers did a superb job. As I mentioned before, your communication and sincerity of effort were exceptional. Thanks for a great experience (with plenty of room for a future PR, but that’s another story…)

  20. matt – thank you for putting on a great race! i had a great time and appreciate all of your hard work. aside from the marking issues, most everything else was over the top! i had no idea there would be coolers of ice and buckets with sponges so often…i expected to drink warm water between aid stations! it made a huge difference dealing with 90 degree temps. i love the belt buckles, the aid station food was perfect…especially the sno cones, nutella torts, and ginger ale, and the post race entertainment was a bonus!
    thanks again!

  21. Matt, you did an amazing job putting this event on and it is very clear your heart’s in it and completely committed to putting on a world class event safely. Some hiccups, which I see people’ve already touched on, but I’m really proud of this race and know that it will grow and get better each year. Thanks a lot to you and the A/S volunteers.

    Check out Grindstone’s Clark Zealand for some course markers that worked really well.

  22. Thanks, Hannah, and way to go out there! It was really cool to watch you and Sarah go after it!! I’ll try and get in touch with Clark for ideas on marking for next year.

  23. Hi RD Matt, I hope you have finally rested from Zion 100/50 event! Again, You and your staffs did awesome job to support runners! I truly appreciate your hard work to put this great course for runners. Plus, you already have a lot of ideas to improve & have minor adjustments for next year’s race. I would love to come back for next year or looking into Bryce 100.

    Although this idea probably came up to you already, I really like the logo of Zion 100 and hope you can merchandize with this logo printed tech-T, longsleeve tech-T, running cap (or visor), armsleeves, and/or handheld waterbottle etc. That would be something I would love to buy it!

    • Thanks, Mikio! It’s hard to wait a year to be able to make the changes we’d like, but it gives us time to make sure that we get things right…

      I’m happy to let you know that next year we will have a line of products with a logo available for runners. Runners will be able to choose one of the following upon registration: Hoodie, Cotton-T, Tech-T, Long sleeve tech T, running cap, visor, armsleeves, or a handheld. Any additional items wanted can be purchased at the race. (Or just come back and run the following year to get something different :) )

      Here’s a look at what the merchandise will look like with our logo (Thanks for your help on this, Matt!): http://www.logosoftwear.com/shareandsell/?store=zion100

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