Overall Rating
Overall Rating (3 Reviews)
4.7
(3 Ratings)(3 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.3
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
3.7
The Antelope Canyon Ultras is a stunningly beautiful early season race through the spectacular Arizona desert landscape. The Antelope Canyon region is one of the most photographed places in the country and a sacred place for the Navajo people. From the spectacular Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River to the mesmerizing … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Solupia FIRST-TIMER '19

    Antelope Canyon 100 is one fun race to remember. I had a lot of fun running it. It's very scenic. There wasn't a whole lot of elevation gain, which is … MORE

    Antelope Canyon 100 is one fun race to remember. I had a lot of fun running it. It’s very scenic. There wasn’t a whole lot of elevation gain, which is undoubtedly why I got my new 100 mile PR here.

    The race first brings you through Antelope Canyon, which is usually limited to tour access only. Then you travel through Navajo reservation to overlook the Horseshoe Bend, a route claimed by the Native Americans, i.e. no crazy tourism interruption. Finally, for the 100 milers, we get to run around the Page Rim Trail 6 times, viewing the gorgeous landscape surrounding the town of Page, and overlooking Lake Powell.

    The course is relative easy due to the only 6400 ft elevation gain. While the sandy terrain can be quite exhausting to maneuver, the sandstone can give you quite a painful pounding.

    As the usual me, I am always running a little late even though I am sleeping at the start line. I swear the race started 2min earlier than the official 6am.

    The race came into a bottleneck fairly quickly after a 1000ft of jogging. Warning: This course requires cliffhanger and rock climbing to complete successfully! Ok, maybe not that extreme… but you will need to have the gut to run up a slick sandstone with a 45% grade and add a little class 2 technical trail with a slight scrambling using your hands. Personally, I think this just boosted my morale about this race from a boring flat race to a little bit of adventure.

    Comparing to my previous 100 mile races, I believe I ran the most during this race. My feet and knees didn’t give up on me, though my ankles were getting sore from stabilizing each step in the sand. No altitude sickness because I am used to 4000s from my work in SoCal. However, I have yet to learn how to combat stomach problem and sleeplessness.

    Faithful Challenges of Ultrarunning and Lesson Learned:

    1) Bib belt sucks in a 100-mile race. Couldn’t find my safety pins last minute in the dark before 6am start time, I put on my bib belt. 20 miles in the race, i can feel the constriction of the belt bruising yup my abdomen. At that point, I knew it could be a problem later on. My concern was chaffing around my waist. However, that seems not the case. As it continued to be a bothersome in the race, i was able to receive some safety pins from a fellow runners to pin the bib to my shorts at around mile 48. However, the damage has been done. By mile 64, I began to have the ultra runner stomach issue. Ingesting food without getting nausea was almost impossible. Thankfully, Coke and pineapple were still on my menu. Too bad pineapple soon became a scarcity. Though I have tried ginger chew, which was supposed to work wonders to stomach problem, it didn’t work this time. By mile 74, I could no longer jog. Power hike or walking was my only option, since any fast pace movement would induce puking sensation. I tried to throw up, however, nothing would come out. I thought I was overnutrition, yet I couldn’t make a dump to yield more room inside my body. At mile 99, my hypothesis was confirmed when I finally able to relief in the compost toilet. What came out of the body is pure blackness of unwanted byproducts. Surely, the race has done a good deal of damage inside out. Never again would I use a bib belt in an ultra race.

    2) I have yet to figure out how to deal with this dilemma. The only logical conclusion to the little crazy old me is run faster next time. You wonder what I am talking about? It’s sleep depravity. The lack of sleep in a race going over 24 hours is always a challenge. The hardest hours fall between 3am and 4:30am. This is against your circadian rhythm to be awake at this ungodly late hours. So what my body decided to do? Sleep walking! This is a particularly hard race to do that. With cliff and desert constantly accompanying you along the night trail, I can only wander so far before I must safe myself from some sort of death or stray away from the course. The last 20 miles of my race were surely slow and dreamy. XD

    3) If we need to talk about one thing all ultrarunners hate the most, it has to be chaffing. Blisters, we will just deal with it. Sore muscles and painful feet, we will suck it up. Stomach issue? Well, let’s just stop and try to rest up and eat something a little bit at a time. But oh man, I think I have heard more people DNF because of chaffing than anything else. It’s the one thing you can prevent yet cannot control once it occurs. It can happen in many locations, and if you have been running long enough, you know where to apply the anti-chaffing creams on. And surely like a “seasoned” runner, I would have done the same thing. But I left out one spot, which I thought of at mile 8, but it becomes an additional nightmare at mile 80. The unwanted ungodly location decided to have chaffing. And surely enough, my night through the Page Rim Trail had been eventful, and hopefully I would learn my lesson to wake up earlier to be more prepared for my race start.

    Finally, to conclude, I actually did pretty good at the race overall. Though i am still beating up myself (figuratively) for not being in the top 10, I ended up with a #18 out of 115 participants and first in my age group. 47 people finished within the 32-hour cutoff. It’s not an easy race for many. But I wish I could have done better. In fact, I knew I could have ran better if I for once can have a perfect race. It was closed. I was aiming for sub-24hr, but when the stomach and chaffing called me off guard… Maybe next one?! Honestly, considering my “exceptional” training regime, I should be happy that I even finish the race. For most people, they wouldn’t have lasted the race as long as I did if they train like me. That’s something I should at least be thankful for.

    *****
    Personal Course Difficulty Rating 7/15
    Altitude 2/5 – 4000+ft above sea level
    Elevation Gain 2/5 – 6400+ft
    Terrain 3/5 – Sandy desert mix with hard sandstone outcrop with occasional class 2 technical trail scrambling (may require assistance of hands)

    Race Swag 4/5 – Though the buckle is nice and made individually and each unique on its own. Man, I would love to get those pretty 50-miler finisher medal, which looks way cooler. I guess I am pickier on the design than many others.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Mar 16, 2019 at 8:33pm

    Wow, love reading your reviews Solomon — I appreciate your descriptions and candor, and your own experience will help a lot of other ultrarunners, especially those tackling 100 miles for… MORE

    Wow, love reading your reviews Solomon — I appreciate your descriptions and candor, and your own experience will help a lot of other ultrarunners, especially those tackling 100 miles for the first time. Such a key point you make about oversights like the bib belt and chafing, things which normally would not be a big deal in shorter races but which can become major issues during longer ultras. And yet even with those issues, you managed a PR and an age-group win... imagine what you could do if you trained for it! 😉 Huge congrats on yet another hundo finish, now rest and recover well — Hellbender looks like it lives up to its name! LESS

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    amy.schaumburg FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my fourth ultra and by far the most difficult! The front half is deep sand and lots of scrambling up and down rocks. Running through the slot canyon … MORE

    This was my fourth ultra and by far the most difficult! The front half is deep sand and lots of scrambling up and down rocks. Running through the slot canyon and views of Horseshoe Bend were spectacular, though. And support on the course simply amazing.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    M_Sohaskey Mar 16, 2019 at 8:34pm

    Well done on ultra #4 Amy and YES, Horseshoe Bend is just incredible — to be able to see that during a race would be amazing and worth having to… MORE

    Well done on ultra #4 Amy and YES, Horseshoe Bend is just incredible — to be able to see that during a race would be amazing and worth having to shuffle through all the sand! LESS

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    splintergirl Mar 10, 2019 at 4:33pm

    Would you recommend sand gaiters would that even help?

    Would you recommend sand gaiters would that even help?

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    amy.schaumburg Mar 10, 2019 at 5:17pm

    Sand gaiters would definitely have helped. I just had on the regular trail gaiters which did help. I didn’t have as much problem with sand in my shoes, just running… MORE

    Sand gaiters would definitely have helped. I just had on the regular trail gaiters which did help. I didn’t have as much problem with sand in my shoes, just running in the shifting sand was...tedious LESS

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    iank FIRST-TIMER '16

    Three miles of sand followed by 10 miles of rocky off-road trail. That's sand, like dunes that you sink into. This is not typically somewhere to go running, but what … MORE

    Three miles of sand followed by 10 miles of rocky off-road trail. That’s sand, like dunes that you sink into. This is not typically somewhere to go running, but what the heck.
    Located around the town of Page, Arizona with really lovely views of Glen Canyon and the Colorado River. I’d give it higher marks for scenery but the area is non-stop amazing scenery so you need to put time aside to sightsee afterwards. For example you’re going to want to make time to see Antelope Canyon itself (not included in the Half, and the Ultra runners go through it too fast to do it justice) and Horseshoe Bend.
    Did I mention the first three miles of sand dunes? Wear gaiters over your shoes or be prepared to throw them away at the finish line.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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