Best Trail Festival– Runner’s World Magazine
One of the world’s most scenic half marathons– Active
“This was my first ultra and I was very impressed with the course, organization and event staff.”
“I have [already recommended this race], did by myself the first year, had group of 8 this year!”
“This was the first trail-running half marathon for which I’d signed up and I loved my experience. I plan to do the full marathon next year.”
“Scenery is amazing and it’s a great way to celebrate spring and running season.”
A weekend of fun and running on the beautiful trails near Fruita, Colorado. The weekend includes a pasta dinner, Trail Marathon, 50K, Double Marathon races and awards party on Saturday, and 5 mile and half marathon races on Sunday.
Friday night’s pasta dinner will run from 7:00-8:00pm at the Holiday Inn and Suites Grand Junction-Airport. The cost is $12 with early registration and $15 after April 1st. Family and friends are welcome at the same price. There will be a limited number of dinners available to purchase on the night of the event so reserve your meal early.
The racer party and awards ceremony for the Marathon/50K/Double races will be at 8:30 pm on Saturday at the Edgewater Brewery in Grand Junction. There will be wings and beer! Don’t miss the opportunity to socialize with other racers and win raffle prizes.There will be a $100 cash prize for the women’s and men’s overall winners of the Double Marathon. There will also be $100 cash premiums in the first 2 miles of the Marathon/50K/Double races for men and women.
Customized cowbell awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each race in each of the following age groups:
60 and over
Racers will receive customized dog tag finisher’s awards as they cross the finish line. Placer’s awards will be distributed at the awards ceremony Saturday night. Awards and mementos will not be mailed after the event.
Start/Finish Area and Parking
The Start/Finish lines will be at the Mack trailhead on the Kokopelli trail just west of Fruita, Colorado, at exit #11 off I-70. The start time for the Double Marathon, 50K and Marathon races is Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and the start on Sunday will be at 8:30 am for the half marathon and 5 mile races. Parking will be very limited and car pooling is strongly recommended. We may need to divert some traffic to an alternate parking lot—please plan to arrive at least one hour prior to your start time to allow time for this, if required. Your race number and packet will also be available at the Start/Finish line beginning at 5:00 a.m. on race day Saturday and 7:00 am on race day Sunday. Sunday’s racers can pick up their packets at Friday night, Saturday morning or Sunday morning packet pick-ups. Packets will not be available after race start on Saturday or Saturday night.
This year’s host hotel is the Holiday Inn Grand Junction Airport. 2751 Crossroads Blvd Grand Junction , Colorado 81506 Book online or call: 1 888 HOLIDAY (1 888 465 4329)
The Marathon is a single large loop course. 50K runners will do an additional 4.6 mile loop beginning at the Moore Fun aid station allowing runners to hit this aid station twice. The Double Marathon is two loops of the Marathon with the second loop being run in reverse.
The Marathon will be a single loop connecting the desert trails of the Kokopelli and adjacent trails. The courses roll between elevations of 4,500 and 5,400 feet with over 3,400 feet of climbing per marathon loop.
Start: A nice warm up takes runners out one mile of gently rolling dirt road. A .3 mile uphill brings racers to an open area where there will be a water drop and a course official will be waiting with a $100 cash premium for the first male and the first female to reach this point. A sharp left turn put runners on the first single track of the day. Once on this section, it will be difficult to pass so find your place before your reach this section. Large rocks and twists bring you to a high point where you will stay close to the edge and enjoy beautiful views before the rugged descent down the other side.
50K Out and Back: After leaving the aid station, runners will head down the road to Rustler’s Loop. Traveling clockwise around the loop, this soft dirt trail winds its way through gently rolling hills and wide open fields. After completing the loop, the course brings you back to the Moore Fun aid station.
Moore Fun: A short downhill will bring you to a rugged jeep road. It will take you up a gentle climb and descent until it dead ends into the wide, flat and fast section of Mary’s Loop. Head right on Mary’s Loop, going through some fun technical terrain to reach the Pizza Overlook aid station.
Pizza Overlook: Upon leaving the aid station, you will immediately begin descending quickly. A narrow trail and big drop offs will eventually open up as you begin following the rim in and out of the canyons. On an incredibly beautiful course, this section is generally considered the most picturesque.
Crossroads: After a short climb, the course passes some intersecting trails and makes a couple of sharp turns (be sure to pay attention to the course markings). This will lead to the undulating, remote section of the Troybuilt Trail. This is the longest section between aid stations so be sure to carry water with you. A fun descent through a wash will bring you to the aid station.
Troybuilt: Leaving this aid station will put you on the steep, hot climb of the day. Eventually bringing you to Mack Ridge, this section will open up, once again following what some would consider a little too close to the overlook. A steep descent will bring you down to the water drop and back onto the road toward the finish line (or the halfway point for the Double Marathoners).
Sunday’s Half Marathon and 5 Mile races start together.
Start: Runners head out the gently rolling dirt road until they take a sharp right turn for .3 miles to the top of the hill. From there, the first aid station is visible and racers cross the cattle guard, staying on the road, and head down the steep downhill to the Crossroads aid station.
Crossroads #1: Both distances will head out from the aid station and head down the steep, rocky gully for a short distance until it flattens out but continues twisting and turning. Runners will read a “T” in the road where 5 milers will turn right and half marathoners will turn right.
(5 Milers) will follow on the rim in and out of canyons. This section is incredibly beautiful, the trail builders and BLM really out did themselves on this section. The trail eventually winds its way around back to the Crossroads aid station #2 where runners will head back up the hill, down to the road and back to the finish line.
(Half Marathoners) will follow along the beautiful rim for a short time before they head up the steep ledgy section to the Pizza Overlook aid station.
Pizza Overlook (Half Marathon): Runners will travel on the open rolling section of Mary’s Loop until the hit the Wrangler’s Loop cutoff. They will make a sharp left where some sections will be loose ore sandy but overall good footing. A nice decent will bring racers to the Moore Fun aid station.
Moore Fun: The trail becomes rocky and technical as it makes the big climb to the top of this fun section. After it levels off for a short distance, it will make a fun technical decent to the cattleguard and a water drop that you visited on the way out. From there, you will go back the same way you came, down the short steep section to the dirt road and back to the finish.
We will have five aid stations located throughout the course, at approximately five-mile intervals (one gap is 7 miles). The 50K will be the marathon course plus additional trails with six aid stations. The Double Marathon course will repeat the Marathon course in the opposite direction, and runners will have a total of nine aid stations. For environmental reasons cups will not be provided at the aid stations.
Saturday Aid Stations: gels, potato chips, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate, bananas, ice water and Tailwind Endurance Fuel hydration.
Additional food will be available at the turnaround/finish line (if racers need additional food on the course, they are advised to carry it with them).
Sunday Aid Stations: candy, potato chips, gels, ice water and Tailwind Endurance Fuel hydration on Sunday.
Double Marathon cut-offs:
Turnaround (26.2)- 1:00pm
Troybuilt (32.5)- 3:15pm
Crossroads (39.2)- 4:30pm
Moore Fun (46.5)- 6:15pm
Runners registered for the Double Marathon must complete the first Marathon loop in six and a half hours in order to begin the second half of the race. If a Double Marathoner drops out at the Marathon turnaround they will receive an official Marathon time but if they head out on the second lap and fail to finish they will be listed as DNF. Runners have until 7:30 p.m. to complete all courses.
(This is the general shape of the profile but has not been updated to reflect trail reroutes. There are approximately 1.5 additional miles spread throughout the course)
The 5 mile course is approximately half dirt road and half technical trail. Both races run out to a beautiful overlook and around scenic canyons. The short course is exactly 5.6 miles and the half marathon course is approximately 13.8 miles.
Half Marathon Profile
5:00-7:00 pm– Race day registration and packet pick up at Holiday Inn Grand Junction-Airport
7:00- 8:00 pm– Pasta dinner – Holiday Inn
8:00-8:30 pm– Optional pre-race meeting – Holiday Inn
5:00 am– Race day registration and packet pick-up at start line
6:30 am– Marathon/50K/Double race start
1:00 pm– Double Marathon turnaround cut-off
7:30 pm– Marathon/50K/Double cut-off
8:30 pm– Awards/raffle prizes/party at Edgewater Brewery in Grand Junction
7:00 am– 5 mile/half marathon race day registration and packet pick-up at starting line
8:30 am- 5 mile/half marathon start
11:30 am– awards/door prizes at starting line
Cost per person:
Early (until January 1st)
5 mile – $30
Half Marathon – $65
Trail Marathon – $90
50K – $95
Double Marathon -$100
Standard (until March 15th)
5 mile – $40
Half Marathon – $75
Trail marathon – $100
50K – $105
Double Marathon – $110
Late (until April 15th)
5 mile – $50
Half Marathon – $85
Trail Marathon – $110
50K – $115
Double Marathon – $120
5 mile – $60
Half Marathon – $95
Trail Marathon – $120
50K – $125
Double Marathon – $130
Pasta dinner fees: $12 early and $15 at the door, if available. (post race party is FREE).
Entry fees include: place winner awards, shirts (or other race memento), aid station goodies, a finisher’s memento and post-race refreshments. Entry fee is non-refundable and nontransferable.