The 24 Hours of Utah event includes 100-mile and 50k races as well as timed runs to see how far participants can go in 24 hours, 12 hours and six hours, said race director Reid Delman. About 200 runners are expected to take part, including many from across the country.
“We always get some people to come down for Canada for the warm weather,” Delman said. “They travel mostly for the 100-mile.”
Moab resident Danelle Ballengee, who won last year’s six-hour run for women, is entering the same race this year.
“It’s plenty long enough for me,” she said. “I think it’s fun because half the run is in daylight and half is in the dark. I’m OK for six hours because I’ve had lots of races and experiences where I’ve had to go beyond that.”
Ballengee finds time to squeeze in four- to seven-mile training runs five times a week in addition to caring for her two children and operating Milt’s Stop & Eat in Moab, which she owns with husband B.C. Laprade. She said she hopes to get in a couple of longer runs prior to the six-hour event.
All races begin at 7 a.m. Saturday, March 23, except the six-hour run.
“We call that the midnight fun run from 6 p.m. to midnight,” Delman said.
Runners will do laps on a 5.3-mile trail, with a 30-hour time limit for 100-mile entrants and an eight-hour time limit for those in the 50k, which is 31 miles. Everyone who finishes within those limits will receive a finisher’s award.
Those in the 100-mile race will climb approximately 11,000 feet in elevation during the event. Those in the 50k will gain 3,500 feet.
The rolling course starts at 4,524 feet and reaches a high point of 4,982 feet and a low point of 4,490 feet.
“We’ll have a medical person out there and a medical tent with propane heater and a cot,” Delman said. “Some people tend to come in there in rough shape. It’s a matter of getting them warm and back on the trail.”
Gemini Events will supply candy, peanut butter and jelly rolls, chips, granola bar, bananas, oranges, energy gels, sports drinks and trail mix throughout the events at a base camp. Runners also can access their own supplies once per lap. Additional water is provided about halfway through the 5.3-mile loop.
Racers also may arrange to have friends supply them with food or water anywhere on the course, Delman said.
Each runner must carry a light source two hours before sunset on Saturday and up to 30 minutes before sunrise on Sunday. Running with lights out is allowed, but those who do must have a glow stick or other type of lighting attached to their clothing.
Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in male and female categories in age divisions for under 30, 30 to 50, and over 50, according to Delman.