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The total elevation gain for the 100k will be in the ballpark of 6,000ft and around 10,000ft for the 100 miler. For this year, we can only give an approximate estimate of the elevation gain prior to the running of the event. Be warned: your body will feel a lot more beat up than the elevation profile tells you. Sections of the course (Gooseberry and Guacamole) are especially difficult and leave experienced runners scratching their heads afterwards wondering why they feel so much more exhausted than the elevation and distance on their watch reads.
The start/finish line will be at the town park in Virgin. Both distances will officially start at 6:00am. Early starts at both 4am and 5am will be available to runners that would like to beat the heat and get an early start. (Anyone using an early start option is not eligible for overall awards.)
The Pre-race check in and packet pick up is Thursday, April 18th from 5-9pm. Packet pickup will be at a private residence located ten miles up Kolob Reservoir road, in Zion National Park. (No national park pass is needed to access this address.) The physical address is: 95 North Kolob Terrace Rd. Virgin, UT
Drop bags are allowed at all aid stations except Gooseberry Point.
The crew accessible aid stations are Virgin Dam, Goosebump, Grafton Mesa, Walsh, and Smith Mesa. In addition to these, there are some crew access points in between some of the aid stations. The aid stations that crew can’t access are Gooseberry Point, Eagle Crags, and Guacamole.
The race starts out by running a little over a mile west along the shoulder of Hwy 9 until reaching Sheep Bridge road, where you will turn left. You’ll cross Sheep Bridge and shortly after take a dirt road to your right which turns into singletrack in about a quarter mile.
This is the lower section of the JEM trail. The most exposed section of trail is along this next 1/2 mile stretch, so go slow and be careful. After about two miles, you’ll turn right off of the JEM trail onto the Hurricane Rim trail. You’ll follow this trail for over 4 miles to China Wash, where you’ll take that connector trail for a mile to the JEM trail again, which you’ll follow a mile further to the first aid station (Virgin Dam) at mile 10.6.
From Virgin Dam Aid, you’ll run some rolling double track for 7 miles, then you’ll start the steepest climb of the course up to the top of Gooseberry Mesa. It’s hard to overstate the steepness of this climb. This climb has been affectionately coined “the Goosebump”. Approx. 1,200 ft of climbing in a mile until you reach the top. Crew can access this aid station (mile 19.1).
From Goosebump Aid, you’ll run west along the northern edge of the mesa for 4.5 miles to Gooseberry Point Aid at mile 23.5.
The aid station is not actually at Gooseberry point, so you’ll need to check in before and after you make the 1/2 mile journey (each way, 1 mile total) out and back to the western point of the mesa.
After showing the folks at the aid station that you’ve got your hand marked, you’ll follow the South Rim trail for a little more than 4.5 miles until it meets the White trail.
We’ll turn left for just a couple hundred yards and then right to get on the Practice loop trail, which we’ll connect to a double track that will take us back to Windmill trailhead and Goosebump Aid for a second time.
From the Goosebump, you’ll head southeast along dirt roads for 6.2 miles until you reach the Grafton Mesa aid station at the junction of Smithsonian Butte and Grafton Mesa roads (the top of the Grafton Mesa trail.) Runners then continue descending Smithsonian Butte road for some amazing views of the park until it ends in Rockville.
At the bottom of Smithsonian Butte road (Crybaby Hill) is where you can pick up your first pacer (mile 41). You’ll then turn right on a paved road and follow it for a just over a mile then turn right again onto a dirt road for another steep climb up onto another mesa and the Eagle Crags Trailhead Aid Station.
You’ll then turn around and descend the same road you came up, (passing the water only station and crew at Smithsonian Butte turnoff for a second time) but instead of going back the way that you came, you’ll run along the road for a couple of miles towards the ghost town of Grafton, turning left at the old cemetery.
You’ll now begin the brutal ascent up the Grafton Mesa trail, similar in many ways to the Flying Monkey trail. It ascends over 1,000ft in under a mile and is an old wagon trail that is now mostly used as a downhill mountain bike trail. The Grafton Heritage Society has been very generous in allowing us to pass through this section of trail. Please show respect and use caution to not damage the retaining walls built by pioneers.
After topping out on Grafton Mesa, you’ll head back to Smithsonian Butte Rd. where you’ll revisit Grafton Mesa Aid. From here you’ll return for one last visit to the Goosebump Overlook before the punishing descent of the “Goosebump”, taking the same steep trail that you used to come up onto Gooseberry Mesa. You’ll then head out across the desert toward Virgin, the same way that you started the day off. A water only station and crew access point will be where the dirt hits the pavement, just before crossing back over the bridge. When reaching Hwy 9, 100 milers will turn right and head toward the Guacamole trail up Dalton Wash road, and 100k runners will turn left and head back down the home stretch to the finish line at the park. Any 100 milers that have had enough can do the same. 100 milers are the only ones left now… follow the shoulder for under a half mile until you reach Dalton Wash Rd. on the opposite side of the highway. Continue on Dalton Wash road for just over 4 miles until you top out on the mesa.
Follow the slickrock and singletrack for a mile to Guacamole Aid. From here you’ll take a trail similar in terrain to what you experienced on Gooseberry but with a lot of burned out trees and a backdrop much closer to the national park. After about a 7 1/2 mile loop you’ll return to the aid station and then will head back down Dalton Wash road. In the town of Virgin you’ll be treated to an aid station at the residence of our volunteers extraordinaire GW and Melissa Walsh (A.K.A. the “Do It Yourself Ranch.”) After leaving the Walsh’s, you’ll head northwest across the desert on ATV trails until you reach the Flying Monkey trail, a steep singletrack trail that sidehills up onto Smith Mesa.
Smith Mesa Aid will be at the top of the mesa along a side road taking you to an overlook.
You’ll continue north along Smith Mesa road to the turnaround point and come back to Smith Aid one last time. From here, you’ll run down Mesa Road instead of the Flying Monkey trail (about 2.75 miles of unmaintained asphalt).
You’ll come to an ATV trail toward the bottom of the descent. Crew can access you here to give you any last minute encouragement you may need (about 2 miles from the finish.) You’ll follow some double track through the desert that pops you out on pavement about 2 blocks away from the finish line.
|Aid Station Cutoff time Crew? GPS location