Overall Rating
Overall Rating (3 Reviews)
3.3
(3 Ratings)(3 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.3
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
3.3
SWAG
3.3
The Zion Ultras & trail half marathon offers a challenging, scenic run through the Southern Utah desert, adjacent to Zion National Park. We offer four distances- a half marathon, 50K, 100K, and a 100-miler. All event distances will start on Saturday. The 100-mile course starts out running east along SR-9 … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I enjoyed the Zion at Night half marathon so much I decided I wanted to run it longer and in daylight and therefore signed up for the Zion 50K for … MORE

    I enjoyed the Zion at Night half marathon so much I decided I wanted to run it longer and in daylight and therefore signed up for the Zion 50K for my first ultramarathon. Pre-race communication was excellent with frequent emails and a very detailed race guide. They had to change the starting area due to issues with parking and make some course changes. I’m not sure if these are permanent changes or not since they didn’t specifically seem to be related to covid. Bib pick up was the day before. Vacation races has the drive through bib pickup down. This was the best bib pickup I had seen during covid. Very organized with the volunteers giving out the bib and shirt to you in your car. The bib is small (which personally I don’t mind as I can’t stand huge bibs you can’t find space to put on you) but I like they added a first time 50K design for first timers. The shirt is tech and nice quality. The design has some nice personal touches but I don’t like the color (dark grey). There was also a mini outdoor expo with a few vendors that if you were comfortable you could go to but if you’d prefer not to you could skip along with an area to drop off drop bags. I didn’t use a drop bag but it was an option for 50K runners. It didn’t seem worth it as the aid stations were very well stocked and I didn’t want to wait for my drop bag or get it paid to be shipped to me. There was a rolling start with each distance having a half hour time window. The 50K started between 7 and 7:30. I started close to 7 to run as much as I could while it was cool out and I had a lot of pre-race jitters. Just a warning the new start area is a little out there and kind of far from hotels (I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Washington as it was so much cheaper than Springdale and it was about 35 minutes from start). The start was exciting at 7am as a lot of runners were waiting in the starting area. I was prepared for this race with trail shoes and a hydration pack unlike Zion at Night. The start of the race is mostly downhill on a dirt road. Then you enter a loop through Grafton Mesa. This was my favorite running portion. This was mostly a single track dirt trail. It was technical but not crazy technical at least for most of the loop. It was beautiful during sunrise. The last mile or so was a little more technical but not too crazy. Then you go back on the dirt road to the first aid station around mile 8. This aid station had honey stinger, Gnarly electrolyte, water and a few other things but wasn’t as fully stocked as the later ones. The next portion is about 7 miles on the dirt road and mostly uphill to gooseberry Mesa. This part was kind of tedious and I power walked a lot of the uphill to save energy but since it was not technical even walking it was quite fast and there were a few very runnable downhill sections. There were some nice views here too. Then you get to the really big aid station which had everything (except twizzlers) including water, gnarly, chips, fruit, pickles, PBJ sandwiches, tortilla with Nutella, trail mix, etc. However there was no social distancing at the aid stations just a warning. Then you do a long about a 12 mile loop through Gooseberry Mesa. This loop is beautiful but brutal. There was some absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful scenery. But the terrain was tough. A lot of it was on slickrock and included some scrambling on the rocks. This was killer on my feet as it was very hard. It was also hard to get a good running pace this section due to technical rock scrambles so I spent a lot of this section hiking and just enjoying the scenery. Most runners with me were hiking this part too. Course was pretty well marked with pink ribbons but there were a few areas I thought could use a few more. There is an aid station in the middle of this section. One complaint I have is the guide said it was mile 22 but it was actuly mile 24. Then at around mile 28 you exit Gooseberry Mesa and go back to the big aid station. Then it is back on the dirt road for the finish. This is a nice finish and if the slickrock didn’t kill my feet it would be quite runnable since it was more downhill. It is brutal though the last mile is uphill. Also the course was 33 miles not 50K so that didn’t make it any easier. There were lots of people cheering runners on at the finish line. Even for the slow turtles like me who were mostly walking at the end of the race. My time was really slow but this course was really tough with 33 miles some of them very technical and just about 4000 feet of elevation gain so I actually think I did okay given all that and was well under the 11 hour time limit and there were over 100 runners behind me. You also got a box of snacks which are great. There is also chocolate milk but I hate milk so I didn’t take it. There is then a tent with awards. You got a choice of medal or homemade mug. The mugs were nice but I obviously chose the medal since I love my medals. It is a really nice medal. I especially like the ribbon which is very thick, has nice designs and the distance and date. This was definitely the toughest race I have ever done but it was beautiful and very rewarding and I am so proud to have finished it. I’m not sure it is the best choice for a first 50K since it is so tough but I did it and I am not particularly fast and there is a long 11 hour time limit. If you do choose this for a first 50K make sure you’ve run a good number of marathons first and get a lot of trail training in. I would also recommend training on slick rock or other more rocky trails. This is something I didn’t do and as a result was much less comfortable on the slickrock than the dirt trail. If you are an experienced ultra marathoner, this is a fun one just don’t expect to PR.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Apr 11, 2021 at 2:27pm

    Congrats, ultramarathoner! Sounds like a memorable choice for your first 50K—check that, 53K (nothing like earning extra mileage your first time out 😬). I still vividly remember running in Moab… MORE

    Congrats, ultramarathoner! Sounds like a memorable choice for your first 50K—check that, 53K (nothing like earning extra mileage your first time out 😬). I still vividly remember running in Moab nearly a decade ago and having to navigate the slickrock, and that was "only" a half marathon—unless you live in Southern Utah, I'm not sure how you'd be able to train on the stuff. It's a unique challenge, so I can imagine you were physically and mentally exhausted by the time you reached the finish. But you did it! And that medal will always shine a bit brighter for being your first. Have to ask—did you find a vegan spot to refuel at post-race? After Zion at Night we lunched at the River Rock Roasting Company in nearby La Verkin. LESS

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    seagroves87 Apr 11, 2021 at 2:45pm

    I just stuck with Taco Bell for tradition. That Taco Bell in Hurricane is where I went after Zion at Night and also where I went several years ago after… MORE

    I just stuck with Taco Bell for tradition. That Taco Bell in Hurricane is where I went after Zion at Night and also where I went several years ago after a long road trip to the Grand Canyon when I hadn't eaten anything but a clif bar for like 8 hours so it's a special Taco bell for me. I'm glad they added the plant based GUrrito...lol. However, I did have a delicious vegan breakfast burrito at Gaia's Garden Cafe in St. George during my trip which I would recommend. LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Apr 12, 2021 at 12:52pm

    Ha! Nothing like a Cool Mint Chocolate CLIFalupa to celebrate an epic 50K 🤢. As much as we goof on Taco Bell, it's always a reliable option on the road.… MORE

    Ha! Nothing like a Cool Mint Chocolate CLIFalupa to celebrate an epic 50K 🤢. As much as we goof on Taco Bell, it's always a reliable option on the road. And thanks for the rec, we did grab a meal in St. George though not at Gaia's, so I'll keep it in mind the next time we're out there. Which will hopefully be soon, since I've yet to run a marathon or ultra in Utah. LESS

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    goku_gallegos FIRST-TIMER '17

    Poorly marked trail. My buddy and I got lost once when you get to the top of the big hill. Added 4 miles to the 50K. Then due to poor … MORE

    Poorly marked trail. My buddy and I got lost once when you get to the top of the big hill. Added 4 miles to the 50K. Then due to poor signage went on a different trail towards the end, luckily a good Samaritan mountain biker tracked me down and told me it was the wrong way. Come to find out the 50k is more like a 55K. So it was a bit frustrating. Also this is more like the outskirts of Zion, its nothing like the valley you see in the tourist photos. And I believe in one of the ads we were supposed to see native americans on horseback. But never saw em. Post run food wasn’t good either, my friend gave his burrito to a dog claiming he got better food in prison. All of us who attended in our group are avoiding the RD that handled 2017 Zion.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    Bentjack REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This is advertised as a 50K (t-shirt, website, etc.) but was actually a 55K. VR needs to be consistent on their messaging so runners know exactly what the distance is. … MORE

    This is advertised as a 50K (t-shirt, website, etc.) but was actually a 55K. VR needs to be consistent on their messaging so runners know exactly what the distance is. Markings on the coarse, for the most part, was good but inconstant in an area on the mesa that had some runners going the wrong way. VR need to do a better job on marking that portion of the coarse as some of the same markings they use are used by mountain bikers.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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