Overall Rating
Overall Rating (20 Reviews)
3.4
(20 Ratings)(20 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.5
SCENERY
2.5
PRODUCTION
3.8
SWAG
3.6
Celebrate Joshua Tree’s 25th anniversary! Join us for a fun night under the stars at the 3rd running of the Joshua Tree Half Marathon. As the sun dips below the horizon, the party begins with a night race through the desert! Several significant changes and improvements have been made to … MORE
Local Weather (Nov 02)
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
 
H (°F) 69 81 68 70 78
L (°F) 44 59 50 54 55
Powered by Dark Sky

Recent reviews

    d9925 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I ran or should I say walked the Joshua Tree Half Marathon this past weekend. I am very disappointed in this course. The conditions of the roads, complete lack of … MORE

    I ran or should I say walked the Joshua Tree Half Marathon this past weekend. I am very disappointed in this course. The conditions of the roads, complete lack of lighting especially at important sections/turns on the course, excessive high soft sand, and lack of scenery except for Meth houses guarded by dogs. I am mortified that I actually paid to do this. I am a seasoned triathlete, runner, and well respected physical therapist. I have done the Shenandoah Vacation Race and my teammates had run other Vacation Races in the past so my expectations were high for Joshua Tree due to how well those races were done. This was a very scary race and I know you sent warnings close to the race date discussing sand and darkness but I had no idea it would be ankle deep for 75% of the race. As a physical therapist I helped runners with balance issues after they fell and twisted ankles during the race. You need to provide warning that you will be running for >than half the race in treacherous conditions and this info needs to be provided in the race description in January when the sign up is released. Not 2 weeks before hand. The finish line was horrendous. No lighting at the end and to make us run downhill in the most slippery and loose sand of the race to the finish was unacceptable. Overall I am giving this race a Huge F and you really should send an apology letter to all the people that ran this.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    1

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    dls24 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Vacation races communicated multiple times about the difficulty of this race. Bring a strong headlamp with fresh batteries, and think about wearing gaiters for the sand. It’s a challenging course, … MORE

    Vacation races communicated multiple times about the difficulty of this race. Bring a strong headlamp with fresh batteries, and think about wearing gaiters for the sand. It’s a challenging course, but really fun and unique! Swag was great, and the event was very well organized. I’d do it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    edwordup FIRST-TIMER '19

    I'll start off by saying it was my first half marathon although I do run rather frequently (street and canyon). The course was difficult as I had issues with my … MORE

    I’ll start off by saying it was my first half marathon although I do run rather frequently (street and canyon). The course was difficult as I had issues with my headlamp (I should have trained with it before), and I wasn’t quite prepared for how hard the course would be on my body.

    At the beginning was an uphill run which seemed to last almost two miles (although I think it was a mile and a half), glad to get it out of the way in the beginning, but I do wish there was a system in place to make it easier on the runners, such as – if you are going to walk at any time, stay to the right, runners to the left. The uphill trail has a little more packed dirt on the left and right, and a mound of soft sand in the middle, and about three people wide for the most part. As I was trying to pass people who were walking, I had to make the difficult transition from left to right going through the soft sand. The downhill slope towards the end was also hard on my body, very hard dirt surface with little 2-inchish ledges you run down, so I was constantly dropping and could feel it in my lower back if I wasn’t careful. Surprisingly, I was able to maintain my stamina throughout, although at about 10.5 I started to feel fatigued.

    Definitely bring a bandanna (one that is already closed and stretchy so you can wear around your neck and bring up when you are near a crowd of people with a lot of sand, or when cars go by, is what I recommend). I had one and I’m sure it made the race a lot more enjoyable.

    The staff was great, the aid station placements and items were a Godsend! I’m not sure if those energy gels work, but I was all about the placebo effect in those getting me through after mile 3 and right at the end. I would definitely do a Vacation Race again, although I don’t know if I would return to Joshua Tree. Perhaps after a few more half marathons I will. It was definitely an experience, and a good one as I reflect back.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    ezhang87 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This course was really difficult as it is pretty much all sand in the dark where dust is flying everywhere. It felt like a sandy beach run in the park … MORE

    This course was really difficult as it is pretty much all sand in the dark where dust is flying everywhere. It felt like a sandy beach run in the park rather than dirt trails. I’m glad I wore my trail shoes for this course as I was not ready for the soft sand! It was definitely hard on my ankles. I highly recommend a face mask or bandana as dust were flying everywhere throughout the entire course! (Maybe VR can provide a bandana as part of a race swag in the future!!) Headlamps were required, so with every runner wearing one, the course was pretty well lit for me. I tried to look up and enjoy the night sky and stars but instead, I just can’t help but stare at the sand finding the flattest and most trampled on section to run on. I did truly enjoy the sunset prior to the start as it was gorgeous! Weather was nice but it dropped tremendously by the end of the race so I recommend layering up! Overall, this was a good experience and I did better than expected given the difficulty of this course.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    ATL4Tay FIRST-TIMER '19

    I am a HUGE fan of the Vacation Races series (this was my fifth), but this was my least favorite by far. Enjoyed spending time in the park before/after the … MORE

    I am a HUGE fan of the Vacation Races series (this was my fifth), but this was my least favorite by far. Enjoyed spending time in the park before/after the race but would definitely not run it again. The terrain was awful (deep sand, often uphill) and the clouds of dust made it difficult to breathe or see anything. Because of headlamp and desire to not bust my face, I rarely looked up and therefore never felt like I was “running under the stars.” Go see Joshua Tree, but skip this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    whippy FIRST-TIMER '19

    Course is ran at night so nothing really to see. Lots and lots of sand, gaiters are a must as is a headlamp & reflective gear. Wear a buff as … MORE

    Course is ran at night so nothing really to see. Lots and lots of sand, gaiters are a must as is a headlamp & reflective gear. Wear a buff as there is lists of dust and sand in the air. Comrade roe was fantastic, I’d do it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    kevinobarajas REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This was my second time running the race and it continues to be one of my favorite experiences that also gives me an excuse to go to Joshua Tree which … MORE

    This was my second time running the race and it continues to be one of my favorite experiences that also gives me an excuse to go to Joshua Tree which is my favorite National Park. The production is great with Vacation Races and I appreciate the snacks, swag, and number of bathrooms.
    This is definitely a race that you need to do your research and understand what you are getting yourself into. The course is difficult with sand and rocks for most of the race, but the night sky is beautiful if you stop to turn off your headlamp and look behind you to see an amazing snake of light from all the runners behind you. If you are prepared and know what to expect it can be a great experience. Many people expect something flat and paved and don’t realize this is almost a trail run with lots of sand, which is mentioned many times in the race description. My only complaint would be that a bandanna or other face cover should be included in the recommended equipment section to limit exposure to dust on the trail. Definitely something I will use for next time, but this race continues to be my favorite and I look forward to running again next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    chasenali4456 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Vacation Races are very organized and super fun...as was this weekend but the sand - I just wouldn't do it again on that course. First of all, starting and finishing … MORE

    Vacation Races are very organized and super fun…as was this weekend but the sand – I just wouldn’t do it again on that course. First of all, starting and finishing at the campground was AWESOME!!! 7 of us women had a great RV spot and just laid low during the day Saturday, drove through the National Park and had lunch etc. Weather was amazing, not too cold at the start but then we started a lot later than expected (closer to 7pm)- I imagine because of the wave start…which ended up being a blessing because the course got a bit congested for the first few miles. The sand ranged from hard packed to “beach” sand. Luckily we had read the reviews and went in knowing it would probabloy take about 3.5 hours. I was just really wanting to be able to run more of it, and it just wasn’t runnable (to me and my group). Their was one strip of asphalt and I have never been more excited to get to run real fast for a very short period of time. Aid stations were great and often. I have never done a night race except Ragnar so I felt a bit unprepared food wise – they had Honey Stinger gels and fruit, but I really shouldv’e packed pretzels and or a PB&J since you couldnt exactly eat a dinner before.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    misterjeff FIRST-TIMER '19

    I understand the impulse to be as positive as possible about an event that many people put a lot of work into, and not be a whiner. Also, who wants … MORE

    I understand the impulse to be as positive as possible about an event that many people put a lot of work into, and not be a whiner. Also, who wants to admit the race they just trained for, travelled to, and busted their hump to run, was, in fact a terrible production. This was a course of convenience for the organizers and it doesn’t matter what kind of shape you are in, it’s going to get people injured. Basically, you are running in the small circle of your headlamp light, through deep sand, rocks, and washboard dirt, in a cloud of dust. You can’t see anything other than the runner in front of you and your own two feet, so the scenery is a mute point. It’s impossible to find any kind of rhythm. Run this race if you want to destroy your knees and ankles. The logo/graphic for this race shows some Joshua trees, a paved road, and a starry night sky. If you run this race you won’t see any of those things.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    1

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    heather.colby FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race was definitely the hardest half marathon I’ve done (total of 4). It’s dark and sandy. But so cool! The stars were amazing and running under the moon was … MORE

    This race was definitely the hardest half marathon I’ve done (total of 4). It’s dark and sandy. But so cool! The stars were amazing and running under the moon was a new experience for me. I thought ya was well organized and the swag was better than I’ve had at most other races. I would definitely do it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    dejohnson FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first Half-Marathon and it did not disappoint. The course is a little difficult with the sand and running at night, but it’s definitely worth it. The staff … MORE

    This was my first Half-Marathon and it did not disappoint. The course is a little difficult with the sand and running at night, but it’s definitely worth it. The staff was great and helpful the entire time. I mean who wouldn’t want to do a race in Joshua Tree?

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    jlritenbaugh FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was such a cool experience, being in the middle of Joshua Tree. The team emphasizes the presence of sand and YES 95% of this course is on soft(ish) sand, … MORE

    This was such a cool experience, being in the middle of Joshua Tree. The team emphasizes the presence of sand and YES 95% of this course is on soft(ish) sand, which makes the level of difficulty that much more intense. Amazing first time with Vacation Races, already planning my next run!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    avaught FIRST-TIMER '19

    We ran another VR in 2018 and were excited to tackle another one if their races. I ran the race with my dad and it was his first half. We … MORE

    We ran another VR in 2018 and were excited to tackle another one if their races. I ran the race with my dad and it was his first half. We choose a doozy! It is accurately described as tough and sandy and is not a course for the weka of heart. The course is not well lit but VR makes it clear that you need lighting to see. The sand is a challenge the entire run with only maybe 1-2 miles total being on road. If you have bad knees or ankles this course could be dangerous and this is not a course to look for a PR on. The beginning section includes a decent amount of uphill. Overall we greatly enjoyed the race and look forward to another VR in 2020.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    victoriasabeth REPEAT RUNNER '19

    >it gets gradually colder, especially around 2 hours in. Make sure to cover your chest. >wouldn’t recommend as first half marathon for someone, not a lot of scenery. >tape your … MORE

    >it gets gradually colder, especially around 2 hours in. Make sure to cover your chest.
    >wouldn’t recommend as first half marathon for someone, not a lot of scenery.
    >tape your knees because the sand can put strain on them.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     

    A real doozy for first time runners! As someone who doesn’t run all that often and this being my first marathon, this was probably the toughest thing I’ve done to … MORE

    A real doozy for first time runners! As someone who doesn’t run all that often and this being my first marathon, this was probably the toughest thing I’ve done to date. The sand was brutal on my ankles and the downhill was bad for my knees. There were patches of very soft sand and it was hard to get stable footing. I had to find tire tracks where cars had driven over to find relief from the waves in the sand. The darkness and cold made the run a bit discouraging and hopeless for someone who isn’t used to running long distances like a half-marathon. I feel invincible for doing it but had I known what I was getting into, I might not do it.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    mmesa1020 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first half, and I’m definitely glad I trained for this one! The check in process was easy, and the swag was cool. Expo was kinda small this … MORE

    This was my first half, and I’m definitely glad I trained for this one! The check in process was easy, and the swag was cool. Expo was kinda small this time. The run was really hard because of the sand and it being in the dark. More light or markers on the trails would have been nice! So would be a trail with less rocks and sand because my ankles and knees are definitely achy!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    ied5008 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Vacation races is very honest about the course. Do not underestimate how tough the sand is or how mentally challenging it will be. Bring a good headlamp because the trail … MORE

    Vacation races is very honest about the course. Do not underestimate how tough the sand is or how mentally challenging it will be. Bring a good headlamp because the trail is rough and the light is necessary to see exactly where to put your feet. Overall, they do a good job with swag and the whole set up, but it’s just so difficult.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    Profile photo of Nathan Garrett
    Nathan_Garrett FIRST-TIMER '18

    The race production was great in many conventional ways, but they were less than accurate about the level of difficulty of this course. I enjoyed the challenge, but more honesty … MORE

    The race production was great in many conventional ways, but they were less than accurate about the level of difficulty of this course. I enjoyed the challenge, but more honesty is needed about the course itself. A bit over 1/3 of the 2800 runners finished in over 3 hours. About 400 finished in over 3 1/2 hours and over 100 required over 4 hours. The course was supposedly greatly improved from 2017, and was described as “pavement and trail” , which is inaccurate. You are running in 2 to 4 inches of loose sand the vast majority of the race. Very little pavement. “Trail” is deep, loose sand covered washboard.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    domino76 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my 1st race I have ever run at night. The course was really challenging with lots of sand & steep areas with rocks. It actually made it a … MORE

    This was my 1st race I have ever run at night. The course was really challenging with lots of sand & steep areas with rocks. It actually made it a lot more fun & something different. The beginning of the race was amazing with the huge bright moon rising in the desert right in front of all the runners running towards it. Than when we got on the more trial area it was completely dark but you could see all the head lights of the 2000 runners like a snake for miles. Something you would never get to see. There was lots of post race entertainment and even a free star show and food after. I recommend this race if you are tired of the same old races.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
    amacallister REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The course details were not accurately conveyed. This course is a nightmare for anyone with knee or ankle issues. It is trechorous - almost all sand, divets everywhere that cannot … MORE

    The course details were not accurately conveyed. This course is a nightmare for anyone with knee or ankle issues. It is trechorous – almost all sand, divets everywhere that cannot be seen at night, long stready uphill for miles…in the sand…no amount of training could have prepared for this. Rocks everywhere to trip on. Overall the worst race/course I have ever run.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    2

    Was this review helpful?

    Please login to reply to this review.

     
  1. Races
  2. Joshua Tree Half Marathon