Summary: The Arches Ultras offer several distances, including 50 mile, 50k, half marathon, and 9k. The courses run along the border of Arches National Park in Moab, UT, and the trails are a mix of smooth, easy, and runnable, and yet technical, sandy, and along slick rock. The course is at a lower elevation, capping at around 5,000 feet, yet has nice views of the Moab cliffs, Arches National Park, and the snow covered La Sals.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- It may be sunny, but be prepared for a cold start! Have layers and possibly extra layers as you wait around for the start
- The race starts with ~2 miles of pavement
- Be prepared for slowing down on the slick rock and it made up more of the course than some runners expected
- While the elevation is fairly tame, the ever changing terrain and footing is the challenging part
- Some dirt road running, so take advantage of those more runnable, fast sections
- At least in 2018, the course briefly ran past the finish line before turning around to finish again – always hard to be so close to it and yet not finish
- Most people report the section from 4.5 to 12.4 as feeling quite long, especially because the majority is on slick rock. Manage expectations of pace accordingly, and be smart about what fuel you carry from the first aid station
- The race may feel crowded until the first aid station at 4.5, but the slick rock spreads people out in the next section to 12.4
- Trail gets more technical after mile 21 with possibility for snow and ice and some steeper sections
Total gain/loss: 4,000/4,000
Ft/mile gain: 80
Total climbs: Countless hills anywhere from 100-500 feet in gain, with miles 15-30 looking especially hard because it’s mainly up, with some descents in between.
Total aid stations: 8 plus start/finish
Furthest distance apart: 9.1 miles
Locations: Miles 4.5, 12.4, 15.1, 21.1, 26.4, 35.5, 39.7, 44.6
What’s available: Water, Hammer Drink Mix (Heed), Variety of Soda, Hammer Gels, Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches, Chips, Hi-Chews, Quesadillas (select aid stations), Bacon (select aid stations), Boiled Potatoes (select aid stations), Bananas, Oranges, Candy-Chocolate, Candy, Pretzels, Cookies, Electrolytes (Endurolytes), Hot Apple Cider
Access Locations: Miles 4.5, 15.1, 26.4, 35.5, 44.6
Crew instructions/directions: Located in runner’s handbook
Strava activities and GPX files
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