For the last month we’ve been planning while the race and your feedback is fresh on our minds. We’ve made some adjustments for next year that we feel will make it more manageable from our end, a higher quality course, more crew friendly, and hopefully give runners better temperatures to run in.
Perhaps the biggest change to the race is that there is no longer a 50 mile option. New to this year is the 100k option for those that would like it. So the race can now truly be called the “Zion 100”- which can be interpreted as either 100 miles or 100 kilometers. Any 100 mile runners that withdraw after mile 62 will receive a 100k finisher’s medallion and time. There is only one starting time and one registration fee. The 100k is similar to that of the Javelina Jundred- more of a consolation prize for runners that run into problems or just don’t have 100 miles in them on race day. Runners that know that they only want to run 100k are of course welcome to register as well.
The date will be moved up to Friday, April 19th this year. We’re sticking with the Friday start for a couple of reasons. #1- Our volunteer base- Believe it or not, it’s easier to get volunteers to help out on a Friday than on a Sunday here in Utah. And since a race is only as good as its volunteers, we’re happy to accommodate that request. #2- Post-race party/ambiance. One of the distinguishing features that we’d like to become known for at the Zion 100 is a race where ultrarunners come from all over the country (and globe) to catch up and have a good time. At too many races the norm is to get your buckle and be on your way. While we know that you’re absolutely beat up at the end of your run and may not feel much like socializing, we think that we have a unique opportunity to have a post-race gathering that both the front and back of the packers can enjoy together due to our Friday start. Most people will not start their journey home until Sunday and since the last runners will now be finished by noon on Saturday, everyone will have time to get some rest before coming back in the evening for a great meal, drinks, live music, and the awards ceremony. Pah Tempe Hot Springs will be rented out from noon until midnight on Saturday. This will be offered free of charge this year to those associated with the Zion 100.
This year, the race will start with runners going through the exposed, lower elevation desert sections of trail early during optimal running temps. The new cutoff time will be 32 hours, or 2:00pm on Saturday.
The new course can essentially be divided into 5 sections. Each one is amazing for different reasons, offering unique views and highlighting a different aspect of the varied desert landscape.
1) The JEM/Hurricane Rim/Virgin desert loop
2) Gooseberry Mesa loop
3) Smithsonian Butte and Grafton Mesa loop
4) Dalton Wash and Guacamole trail (out and back-lollipop loop)
5) Flying Monkey–Smith Mesa–Mesa Road (out and back)
Runners will visit 13 aid stations throughout the run, however, there are only 7 actual locations as most aid stations will be visited more than one time.
A detailed map is under construction. For now, if you’d like to have a peek at the course you can email me and and I’ll send you the Google Earth files.
We’ve looked into about every known trail marking option out there that we could find and combined with a few innovative ideas of our own, we are confident that we will have one of the best marked trails out there next year. Each of the junctions that are on your handheld map will also be marked with signs on the trail with similar wording.
Kali has agreed to make our buckles again next year, and has some great new additions to the designs that will be available for finishers to choose from.
We’re going to try something new for the race shirts- we’re going to stick with our logo on the design year after year, but offer a variety of products that you can choose from. Upon registering, you will choose one of the following: a T-shirt, longsleeve shirt, hoodie, running cap, visor, armsleeves, or a handheld watter bottle. All of these items will be available for purchase at the race as well (cash/check) or you can pre-order with your credit card via ultrasignup (this feature will not be ready on their website for another week or two.) Here’s a look at what the merchandise will look like with our logo:
We’ll go ahead and open up registration now for 2013 now for those that want to make it official! The registration link on the website is now live… Early registration is greatly appreciated as it gives us some capital to get things rolling on our end.
Also, those that toed the line for the inaugural 100 mile event should have recently received a discount code via email. Let me know if you didn’t receive that email.