Organizers say 2,500 runners expected for 42nd Canyonlands Half Marathon
by Molly Marcello
The Times-Independent
Mar 16, 2017 | 845 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Moab Half Marathon
The Moab Taiko Drummers provide rhythms and encouragement to runners on state Route 128 during a previous Canyonlands Half Marathon. This year’s race will take place Saturday, March 18. 									              Photo by Tom Haraden
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The Canyonlands Half Marathon and Five-Mile Run returns to Moab for its 42nd year on March 18 and race organizers anticipate approximately 2,500 runners will participate in the event, which begins on state Route 128 along the scenic Colorado River and ends at Swanny City Park. This year, race officials say many of those participants are “running for a cause,” earning prizes for the charity of their choice.

Race director Ranna Bieschke said runners have the opportunity to create charity “teams” for both events — the 13.1-mile half marathon and 5-mile race. She said Moab Half Marathon will make a donation to the three charities that are represented by the largest teams at this year’s event.

So far, Canyonlands Half Marathon has registered approximately 50 teams that will be running to raise funds for different charities.

“One person will create the team, and others when they register will say they are part of that team,” Bieschke said. “So they can make shirts, wear whatever they want — colored socks, anything ... We thought it would be something fun to do and encourage friends to run.”

Many participants, according to Bieschke, look forward to the Canyonlands Half Marathon as a fun, “welcome to spring” event.

“[Most] people who participate in our races are from out of town. So a lot of people say that this is their chance to get out of the snow and mud of the Denver, Salt Lake City area and come to Moab, where it’s usually beautiful and sunny,” Bieschke said.

The 13.1-mile half marathon will begin at 10 a.m. at the starting line located approximately 11 miles up SR 128, just past Take Out Beach on the Colorado River. The race course then turns onto U.S. 191 and down 500 West before reaching Swanny City Park via 400 North.

The 5-mile race will start at 9:30 a.m. and follows the last 5 miles of the Half Marathon course.

Bieschke says a “pretty festive” gathering of vendors, as well as food, beer and music will welcome the runners once they reach the shared finish line at the park.

The Fiery Furnace Marching Band will take the stage, belting out New Orleans- style brass band music, while the Moab Brewery serves its local brews at the festival’s beer garden.

“Spectators are welcome,” Bieschke said, adding that local residents are encouraged to participate in the festival at the park.

The award ceremony for the races will also be held at Swanny City Park, which includes top finishers and winners in certain age groups. Unique to the Canyonlands Half Marathon, Bieschke said, is the Sheri Haymore Memorial Women’s Master Award.

Haymore died after collapsing 200 yards from the finish line during the 2005 Canyonlands Half Marathon.

“[Haymore] had just turned 40, which is the age of a ‘master,’” Bieschke said, noting that the Half Marathon honors her memory each year with the “Master Award.”

Haymore’s family participates in the race every year, and her daughters present the memorial award, Bieschke said.

“Every year, her daughters have presented the award, and it’s always touching,” Bieschke said. “Her husband and two of her daughters are going to be running [this year]. It’s their 12th annual.”

For more information about the Canyonlands Half Marathon, visit

State Route 128 will be closed to all traffic on March 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m for the race.

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