An enchilada dinner is one reward for participating in the second annual Arches Ultra Marathon, Moab’s newest trail race that follows the Bar M, Klonzo and Klondike trail systems near Arches National Park.
Race promoters Josh and Denise Ricks, who own Mad Moose Events, serve enchiladas at the end of the race — enchiladas cooked in Dutch ovens onsite at the parking lot.
“It’s for both runners and spectators,” said Malachi Ricks, the couple’s son. “We have a ton of Dutch ovens. We continue cooking enchiladas until the race is done.”
The Arches Ultra Marathon is taking place on Saturday, Jan. 26, starting at 5:45 a.m. Registration is open and as of Jan. 10, there were about 150 individual registration slots still available on the event’s website.
The route, which is described as smooth and easy in some places, also includes technical slickrock, as well as sandy terrain with views of Arches National Park and the snow-capped La Sal Mountains.
“The Bar M trails are super fun to run on,” said Malachi Ricks. “There are gorgeous views. It’s a great winter escape. It’s the only one of our events on that side of the highway.”
The event includes a 50-mile, 50K, half-marathon, and 9K race, with staggered start times. Races begin at the Gemini Bridges parking lot, approximately 10 miles north of Moab. Parking attendants will direct participants and spectators where they are allowed to park for this event. Carpooling is encouraged.
The race ends at the start location where the enchiladas will be served and participants will be given awards and prizes. All runners will receive a custom race shirt, custom BOCO Gear Technical Trucker hat and a finisher’s medal.
Additionally, a number of snacks and drinks will be available for runners at various aid stations along the route.
The “great support” is one reason Wendy Stainaker, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is planning to run in the race again after participating in last year’s event.
“Food and volunteers are top-notch,” she said. “As with any Mad Moose race, I know I’m getting great support on the course at the aid stations and plentiful course markings to keep me going in the right direction.”
Stainaker said the event is like a “race-cation” that breaks up winter training.
“Winter long runs in Colorado Springs often mean dealing with snow and ice on the trails,” she said. “But it seems like any snow on the wide-open Moab trails doesn’t stick around too long, and while the lack of shade on the Aches 50K course might be a detriment to a goal of a ‘fast’ 50K in the late spring or summer, in January it felt great to have the sun warming me up while racing on a chilly morning.”
Race organizers said they expect 800 participants from all over the country, and even a few from overseas, Malachi Ricks said. Online registration closes two days before the event.
“We started the event because there was a need to fill a void in the winter running calendar and Moab is a great place to run in the winter time,” race director Denise Ricks said.
As with other Mad Moose Events races, volunteers at the Arches Ultra Marathon will receive donations to a chosen nonprofit. The Arches Ultra Marathon will benefit the Youth Garden Project.
Prizes will be awarded to different age groups, and will include overall male and female winners, as well as overall master’s awards for both a male and female in each category.