Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
2.5
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SWAG
2
Enjoy an out-and-back relatively flat course (fewer than 500 feet of climbing and descending). You’ll admire the beauty of the surrounding desert as you follow this paved run from Furnace Creek Ranch along Hwy. 190 through the heart of Death Valley National Park. The entire course is below sea level … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Fragileflower12 FIRST-TIMER '20

    The EnviroSports Facebook Team was super helpful in answering question for me last minute. That’s the best I can say about this race but it should be noted as a … MORE

    The EnviroSports Facebook Team was super helpful in answering question for me last minute. That’s the best I can say about this race but it should be noted as a lot of groups these days aren’t readily available by email or FB as advertised.

    I was excited to be headed to Death Valley for the first time~and for a race. I was looking forward to beautiful scenery and plants etc that was advertised in the race info. We chose to stay about 45 minutes outside of DV itself and drove in race morning. It was an easy and gorgeous early morning drive into DV that morning. Upon arriving at the Ranch, we picked up our bibs. After 100+ races…this is only the second race where I haven’t gathered my bib, shirt and any extras for purchase prior to the race. Apparently shirts (race swag) and hats available for purchase could only be gathered POST race. However, no one seemed to know where or that this was the case. I was also surprised to see that the race was not chip timed. More to come on that.

    Pre race had everyone parking alongside a still open highway and crossing the street to a very unannounced start line. No “START” and no “line” or arch or ribbon. Suddenly, 8 min prior to race, a man started shouting a welcome speech. Mind you, cars are still whizzing by and people are still conversing because anyone over 15 ft away had no idea someone (the RD I’m assuming) was speaking. I was able to catch bits and pieces and then apparently a brief announcement of tradition to sing, “America The Beautiful”. That part was well, beautiful and a great touch but I wish I had known and others would’ve been quiet to enjoy. Then, without warning, the start of the marathon. People were still chatting toward the back and had no idea the start had “happened”.

    In the 15 minutes prior to the half start~I attempted to converse with the lady that was unpacking shirts but she was too busy talking to a guy about her plans. When we finally were able to get her attention, we were instructed we had to wait til post race for shirts and hats. We just wanted to gather what we paid for and pack away in our car so as not to worry about it post race or for fear of forgetting. She had little time for us. We headed back to the groups of people waiting for the half start as well as the 10k start. We were talking with someone when all of a sudden people were running and others were shouting. Apparently, we missed our “start” as well. No gun, no noise, no music, just a “go” from someone toward the front at some point, I guess? So, off we went albeit late.

    The race started to the side of the highway. For about 3/4 mile it follows a paved trail on left side of road. What the race info fails to share is that for the next two miles~it follows a weird mix of gravel/boulders/rocks that resemble tailings through Mustard Canyon. IMO, that Canyon is/was the best AND worst part of the entire race. The “trail” is terrible and multiple people were injured twisting ankles. I’m a trail runner and feel I’ve hiked and run just about everything including under water…and I was injured. Twisted both ankles and tore muscle in my right foot. At. Mile. 3! This upset me. Had I known about this “trail” difference rather than just the “paved trail” or “highway” mentioned~I would’ve simply chosen different shoes. Easy fix. However, the canyon rocks were gorgeous and were the ONLY and brief source of shade the entire run! So, good and bad. Confused at the strollers trying to go through the rocks when they supposedly weren’t allowed as well. Made for an interesting time.

    Upon arriving at 3.1 miles is the first Aid Station/port a potties. It was great to be done with that horrible rock/thick gravel. The AS people were not very friendly. The AS offered Gatorade, water, trail mix, bananas and I think gummy bears but seemed pretty raided when we arrived. At this point, you’re running on highway. Road still open highway. Please follow the DO NOT USE HEADPHONES policy as we were nearly hit multiple times! It’s an out and back course for all distances so at some point, people are headed back at you…on a road still open highway! Park rangers drive by shouting at you like you’re stupid “stay on the white or beyond” meaning the white line near shoulder. BTW, the shoulder is that same soft, deep gravel on a slant uncomfortable to run on~so you’re left fighting for a space or chancing it with oncoming cars and runners trying to avoid the eyes of the park rangers. A couple people in front of us cheated by stopping at the AS right before the turnaround, sitting down and then heading back without continuing down to the actual half turnaround another 1/4 mile. While I wasn’t ever going to “place” it’s still unfortunate to see and know those people will place before you even after cheating. No one said a word to them. It had even been stated that even if you can’t make the time for the full…you’d simply be given a ride to “catch up” and allowed to finish. While I can appreciate that, it’s unfortunate for those actually completing it.

    The mountains are gorgeous. I attempted several pics but after the first three miles it’s generally all the same. Same with the “flora and fauna” stayed. I honestly didn’t see the beauty and I was really excited for this trip, remember? There was one camera man at about mile 8 I’m guessing (because I only saw full markers) and he was literally just taking pics. Out of a car. There was no energy or cheers or life from any of the volunteers or staff that I saw. We thanked everyone we came into contact with and received grumbles or nothing back. Thats unfortunate when you’re in that kinda moment/race. The gentlemen that made the PRR race speech drove by several times waving and seemed cheerful but that was it. He seemed great but no one else caught my eye or made me think they were happy to have 300+ people paying to be there.

    The weather was great. Beautiful. However, that desert sun is far different than regular sun if that makes sense? It was literally 73 and felt like 90+ by finish. I was intensely focused on hydration the weeks and days prior ~ and I was still hurting by finish. Two runners doubled over and I had to provide help which I am always happy to do (Medically trained) but the scary part was there was no one around to help or to call. I’m used to seeing medics (at least one or a presence). Because I was significantly hobbling/crawling and miserable near the last finishers…family members wondering where their family was were coming up to us asking if we had seen their people “down” anywhere in the canyon. I’d highly recommend a medic placement or at least a volunteer with a walkie talkie inside that canyon. I helped two by myself and had anything truly gone wrong that could’ve been very bad inside there! Know what you’re getting into before running anywhere but especially in the desert. I felt I was prepared. And even I was not.

    The finish was uneventful. Granted, we were close to the last finishers but it was just a few cones and someone handing a small medal. No announcing, no “finish line”. Not a big deal but should be noted. I was not impressed with the medal nor the ribbon. I hate saying that because it really wasn’t and isn’t why I run but…this day in age…medals are so great and such a great chance to share/advertise your race and this one was just sad. I can appreciate the simplicity, if that’s what was intended. However, a nice ribbon advertising the race and date—would’ve substantially helped the cause and been little added cost! After gathering our medal, we walked a few feet to a small table of fruit/trail mix and water. The people were all too busy talking to each other to be bothered by runner trying to regain their whits post run. Same with the tshirt/hat lady. The tshirts had great artwork but it was on a basic Fruit of the Loom unisex T-shirt. Again, not the end of the world but worth mentioning. The hats for sale (that I was so excited about) were not the advertised hats so that was upsetting as well.

    At this point, I hobbled off to my car and put my feet up disgusted with the whole thing. Again, beautiful mountains, friendly RD (it seemed although I couldn’t hear him), but the rest…meh. Remember, $130 a piece we paid. That’s a pricy half considering the distance 90% runners traveled and hotel costs (a lot of money to those hotels in DV was brought in). Then factor in lack of staff, items at AS (no gels or Ultima or Nuun etc) lack of energy, no chip timing, busy highway traffic, unannounced start/finish, safety, T-shirt and medal quality, as well as those allowed to cheat or not even finish and still be counted. I just had a difficult time with the end result of everything with a $130 half marathon price tag and that kills me for how excited I was and how beautiful I expected the course to be.

    If I could suggest improvements: medal quality, safety precautions and organization would be my top three. Side note: both driving into Death Valley as well as leaving, we didn’t see any notifications to travelers that there was a race going on. We did see 1 sign posted on a port-a-potty ACROSS THE STREET from oncoming traffic suggesting CAUTION but that’s it. That’s a real problem. I believe a lot of travelers just didn’t know what was going on! it was scary on many miles of the race.

    I’d also like to think that the price tag was hefty due to being in a National Park? However, in addition to the registration of $130 each for my husband and myself~runners are asked to pay an additional $10 fee to the park as well. Worth noting.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2
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    olau822 FIRST-TIMER '16

    The pickup is at the ranch area of Death Valley in the midst of many campsites and palm trees. It's a long drive to get out to the start but … MORE

    The pickup is at the ranch area of Death Valley in the midst of many campsites and palm trees. It’s a long drive to get out to the start but it’s a scenic one, more scenic than the race itself.

    It’s a pretty bare bones race in terms of support and swag. You do it mainly for the scenery. It’s a one way switch back route from the camp village out on a paved road or you can run on the bit of trail right next to it. The road is still open on the other lane so you will get cars passing by.

    There are some high school volunteers along the route at aid stations. Porta potties, which are definitely needed, are spaced throughout, because it’s wide open desert surrounded by mountains on both sides.

    The swag is minimal with a cotton shirt and small medal. There were drink and some trail mix and snacks after the race. They did send a ribbon for finishing second in age group. Hope the money goes towards the local schools instead of lining the pockets of the RD. Pretty low key race.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2
    My Media

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  1. Races
  2. Death Valley Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K