Canyonlands Half Marathon Review

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The Canyonlands Half Marathon is an unforgettable USATF-sanctioned and certified course following the Colorado River through a dramatic red rock canyon, along its banks. Food, beer and awards will await runners at its finish line in downtown Moab.

Moab, Utah stands out as an oasis of civilization among a sea of desert wilderness; making it southern Utah’s adventure base camp. Main Street features corporate chain motels while souvenir shops do brisk business.


The Canyonlands Half Marathon is an unforgettable running event that takes place annually in Moab, Utah’s stunning red rock canyons. As one of the premier outdoor athletic events, this run marks the beginning of outdoor recreation season in this part of Utah and draws runners from across the United States and even abroad. Renowned for its beautiful surroundings and breathtaking scenery, runners from across America come out each year.

This course is well-marked and paved, featuring five aid stations along its course that offer water and Gatorade to runners. There will also be a beer garden sponsored by Moab Brewery that encourages participants to stop by to relax in the sunshine while sampling local craft beers from Moab Brewery’s inventory. Runners should stay hydrated throughout this race to prevent injury on its challenging terrain.

At Arches National Park, this spectacular race is considered a bucket-list run for many. Along the course, runners will experience breathtaking views of towering red rock canyon walls and sunray reflections aglow against their faces – perfect conditions to set new personal records for experienced runners!

Start of Race

At the start of their race, runners will follow a paved highway along the Colorado River for 11 miles before exiting Canyon de Chelly and heading into Moab city proper, running three miles of residential neighborhoods until reaching Swanny City Park – their finish line and providing access to multiple porta potties and first aid stations along their journey.

Once racers complete the event, they can enjoy post-race festivities and their results. An awards tent will be set up, and winners will be chosen based on chip time. In addition to receiving their results, runners will also receive custom medals designed by Mad Moose Events as well as a shirt from them and a bag!

The Canyonlands Half Marathon is an extremely popular race that fills quickly. Registration opens annually around January or February online; race entries are limited to 5000 participants with spots being distributed randomly through a lottery system; entry fees typically fall under $115 per year.


Canyonlands Half Marathon is one of Utah’s best-known races for good reason, offering runners an exquisite course along the Colorado River with breathtaking views of towering red rock canyon walls and sun reflections ablaze in red reflections as the sun rises overhead. Every runner should consider participating at least once.

Participants of this race can expect an orderly bag pickup, shuttles to and from the start line, and an impressive expo prior to race day. Parking may prove challenging at such an extremely popular race; those wanting to avoid having to find parking should carpool or arrive early.

Start at Sandy Beach, a boat launching site along the Colorado River, for an enjoyable run along its course. While enjoying views from Sandy Beach during its opening miles of race action can help runners relax before their pre-race nerves. As soon as runners begin climbing steeply up and around sharp turns along the course – beware not looking down! – they soon return to paved roads before proceeding toward their community park destination in town.

After crossing the finish line, participants can relax and celebrate after completing the race with a beer garden and live music. Also available to participants: checking results and collecting medals as well as getting custom printed shirt/bag from Mad Moose Events!

The Canyonlands Half Marathon has quickly become one of the premier running events for outdoor athletic enthusiasts and continues to gain in popularity each year. Dubbed one of “The World’s Greatest Races” by Runners World UK, this challenging and rewarding run offers runners some steep inclines but none as severe as at other marathons; additionally, its course is well marked and features several aid stations along its path.

Aid Stations

The Canyonlands Half Marathon has earned itself quite the reputation, and with good reason. This challenging course offers both breathtaking red rock scenery and an excruciating challenge that is sure to test even experienced runners. It features varied terrain including slickrock trails and sandy washes; though not one of Utah’s steepest courses, its numerous hills will push runners beyond their limits when the going gets tough.

Moab Marathon Run provides participants with an incredible opportunity to experience Utah’s stunning mountains and Moab’s captivating beauty, all while experiencing some of the most incredible canyon walls worldwide! Not only is this an effective way to exercise but it is also a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow runners while appreciating nature.

Starting their race from Sandy Beach, runners make their way down to Postcard Alley where they will enjoy up-close views of towering red rock canyon walls and technical terrain that requires concentration as they scamper up and down unique rock formations. After ascending several miles of trail they will be treated to stunning vistas of San Rafael Swell and Bookcliffs before continuing down Baby Steps before finally turning around on themselves for another descent back down through Sandy Beach.

Finish Line Accomodations

Aid stations at the Canyonlands Half Marathon are generally spaced 3 to 6 miles apart, enabling runners to use handheld bottles instead of backpacks. However, runners must remember that aid stations may not reach more rugged sections of the trail; be prepared with enough food and water supplies in your pack so as to complete it all successfully.

The event is sanctioned by USATF, meaning it meets their strict standards for safety and organization, providing participants with an exciting race atmosphere – including food, beer and awards at the finish line.

Time Limit

The Half Marathon course has a time limit of 3.5 hours and participants must maintain an average pace of 15:30 minutes per mile or greater to be eligible to run it. A cushion of five minutes has been built into cutoff times to ensure safety and permit compliance; any participant who falls behind their pace time will be advised to board a SAG van to move forward on the course.

In 1976, only 22 finishers (and one dog!) completed the Canyonlands Half Marathon; today thousands gather each March to experience Moab’s picturesque red rock formations and winding Colorado River – two iconic features that attract runners of all abilities! Its well-organized format and outstanding reputation among runners have led many dream of participating. Many even consider it “bucket list runs”, hoping one day they may complete this run!

As this popular event typically sells out quickly each year, it’s wise to register early. Entry fees typically start at approximately $115 and increase as race day approaches; early registration discounts can even save money!

Closing Thoughts

Runners should expect two major climbs during this race, as well as numerous shorter ascents and descents. Elite runners should complete it within four hours while average runners typically finish five to six hours later. Medical staff is located throughout the route in order to assist any runners experiencing injury or discomfort.

The Marathon course is more difficult than the Half Marathon, involving significant backcountry travel. Additionally, its route crosses private property where any travel on those areas could result in charges of trespassing. While certain parts of this route overlap with Half Marathon runners’ routes, most of it follows trails accessible only to jeeps.

All finishers will receive a custom medal and may be eligible for age-group awards that should be claimed after the race at the awards tent.

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