Overall Rating
Overall Rating (3 Reviews)
5
(3 Ratings)(3 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
5
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
5
One cannot say they’ve experienced all the best things in life until they’ve basked in the solitude of the desert. And what better way to do that, than to run Zion at night! After our beta test of small group half marathons, we are excited to bring you another chance … MORE
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Recent reviews

    cdefonso FIRST-TIMER '20

    After sending out an email questionnaire to see if there was any interest, Vacation Races put this race together in a very relatively short amount of time. But as always, … MORE

    After sending out an email questionnaire to see if there was any interest, Vacation Races put this race together in a very relatively short amount of time. But as always, they produce an excellent race experience! Zion at Night was held over Friday and Saturday nights, from 7pm to 7am. You signed up for a particular start time, spaced 1 hour apart, and only 50 people were allowed for each time slot. This was my first trip to Zion and my first trail race. I signed up for 9pm start on Saturday night. There was no Expo, but they had Zion Half Marathon merchandise for sale near the bib and t-shirt pickup tent. The start is kind of anti-climactic, so for those runners who get an adrenaline high waiting around with fellow runners at the starting line, and get excited when the gun goes off… well this is not the race for those types of runners! You pretty much can start when you feel like it! I took off at 8:50pm, even though I signed up for 9pm start. At the starting line, they scanned your bib to start your time, and then you just go! The first 2.5 miles is road/sidewalk and then you start your trail running.

    Once it gets dark, you must rely on your headlamp to guide you because even though there was a full moon, it’s not enough light to guide you. Miles 3-6 or so were very near a steep drop-off, so I tried not to look to the right of me while I was running because it was just complete blackness. They used ribbons with reflective tags to mark the trail every 100-200 yards or so. I only took one wrong turn, but realized after a minute or so that I was off so I turned around and got back on course. There were 3 aid stations at around miles 3, 6, and 10. You had to bring your own hydration cups or bottles to fill up on water or Gnarly because there were no paper cups, which is typical for any Vacation Race. Only the second aid station was manned.

    There is a lot of darkness and solitude running this course! But very peaceful and quieting to get lost in your own thoughts. The darkness really affected my depth perception and peripheral vision, even with a headlamp, so I had a hard time running, knowing how uneven the trail was. Eventually I took off my headlamp and held it in my hand so I could shine light closer to the ground.

    This was definitely my slowest half marathon I’ve ever run, but I really enjoyed the challenge and adventure. I was very happy when I could finally see the finish line! The race communications were first class and full of useful information. I can’t wait to get my medal in a few weeks! (They gave us a Zion keychain at the finish since they were unable to get medals ready in such a short amount of time.) Highly recommend this race and hope that they do it again. Only thing that I would do differently is sign up for a 4 or 5am start so I could start in the dark and appreciate the full moon, but see the sunrise and finish in the light! Thanks Vacation Races for putting on such a great event!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    marxbk18 FIRST-TIMER '20

    This was the first time they ever put on Zion at night. Due to the COVID situation we could choose our start time but no more than 50 starters each … MORE

    This was the first time they ever put on Zion at night. Due to the COVID situation we could choose our start time but no more than 50 starters each hour. I started at 4 am and the course was even more difficult with only my headlamp lighting the way. But when the sun came up there has never been a more beautiful race location. It is really rocky and hilly. This was my first time running with Race Vacations and they are amazing. I have already signed up for another race.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '20

    I am so happy Vacation Races is being creative to work with local guidelines to produce safe races at this time. This was a small group trail half marathon. How … MORE

    I am so happy Vacation Races is being creative to work with local guidelines to produce safe races at this time. This was a small group trail half marathon. How it worked is runners ran in waves of up to 50 and signed up for specific times over the course of 2 nights. The times were from 7pm to 7am. So if you are a morning person you can choose the early morning or night person the evening or if you want to save money there was a discount for the middle of the night. I choose 8pm on night 2 (Saturday night). This was a good time as it was light for the beginning and most of the race but was dark at the end so got to experience running at night. There was no expo. You just parked within a half hour of your start time and go to a booth to pick up your bib and shirt. The shirt was really nice, technical and perfect size. They also had another booth selling some VR items and porta potties near the start line. With wave starts bib pick up was smooth and there was no lines for the porta potties. It was also so exciting to see an actual start and finish line. The start was a little anti-climactic a staff member just scans your bib and you go with no official start (you can pretty much start anytime within a half hour before or after your selected start time). The race itself was beautiful but quite tough. I’m glad I ran some of it before dark because unfortunately there were clouds so there was as many stars as I’d hope (not VR’s fault). Running in the scenery around Zion was absolutely amazing. I was not very prepared for this race as it was announced only 2 weeks ago and had mostly done road races and had pretty much only been training on the road since trails had been closed in LA for most of the past few months. The altitude change was also difficult. I had only arrived the day before so wasn’t really acclimated. I did a run/walk strategy and absolutely loved the race even though it was my slowest half marathon by 30 minutes. It was very peaceful and serene and the exact opposite of my last race the LA marathon (but I still loved both of them). There were limited aid stations. I used a handheld water bottle and the aid stations were spread out perfectly just when I needed water. It was definitely a trail race and had some technical elements but nothing crazy. I didn’t have trail shoes since again it was announced 2 weeks in advance and I had been a mostly road runner and I was fine but it probably would be better with trail shoes if you had them. The elevation gain was very gradual. If you were an experienced trail runner and acclimated to the altitude you could run the whole race. The course was a loop and the finish line was where you started. The medals weren’t ready yet but I appreciated they gave a Zion Half Keychain at the end. You also got a box of snacks I was happy to see all the snacks were vegan (they were also all gluten-free). And then you just drove out. One issue is there are no restaurants open late in the area (not sure if this is normally true or just due to reduced hours from covid). I thought about getting take out and heating it up but ended up getting food from the Taco Bell in Hurricane which was pretty much the only option but I do love Taco Bell. Overall I absolutely loved this race and decided I want to get better at trail racing and would love to do more of vacation races trail races in the future. In terms of social distancing, I felt as safe if not safer during this race than I do running in my neighborhoods or the local trails by me that recently opened. There were aspects of this format I liked better (no wait time for bibs and porta potties) and aspects I liked worse (no expo, less aid stations, no spectators) but it was definitely much better than a virtual race and I hope Vacation Races produces more of these (maybe on the East Coast since I am moving back East in 2 weeks…hint, hint) and other race companies consider similar formats. I am also very excited to run a Vacation Race in the future and get the full experience when things are normal and excited to get my medal in the mail!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Jun 18, 2020 at 1:17pm

    The LA Marathon seems like a million years ago, doesn't it? So glad you had the flexibility to be able to run this on short notice Amy, it sounds like… MORE

    The LA Marathon seems like a million years ago, doesn't it? So glad you had the flexibility to be able to run this on short notice Amy, it sounds like a truly amazing experience and really what trail running is all about (minus the camaraderie). I'd love to run if they do another edition soon, and like you I'm intrigued by the rest of the VR lineup too. Thanks for another awesome review, and safe travels back to the East Coast — hope to see you back out here running in SoCal again soon! LESS

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