I ran the half marathon distance (which was 14.4 miles, not 13.1), and fell in love with the culture and experience! The night before the race, we were able to learn about the monuments as well as Navajo culture and beliefs. We were led in a traditional prayer, holding cornmeal at sunset as well as another pre-race at sunrise.
The weather was cold in the morning, but as soon as we started running, It warmed up quickly. The race started off down a trail that took the runners through the monuments. The scenery was breath taking. The first 5 miles of the race were a nice split of up and downs, trails and dirt roads.
At the 3 sisters monument, a full aid station was prepared with nearly anything a runner could want. Bacon, avocado, boiled potatoes, vegan energy bites, oreos, Swedish fish, pretzels, chips, soda, electrolytes, gels, pickles and much more.
We headed back out and the trail got more challenging. The next five miles were gorgeous, and mostly fine, red sand. It was a lot of work to get through this portion, but we ended back at the amazing aid station at 3 sisters again!!
After refueling, we went back out for the final stretch. The first mile of two were nice, with some decent downhill portions, but the last 3 miles were up, up and up. Definitely recommend bringing a buff to help filter out the sand as you run, and there were also several places where sand was kicked up by cars cruising or touring the area.
Getting to the finish line felt pretty amazing, but the post-race pizza was even better! I have a very specific diet, and they were able to make a vegan veggie pizza for me, which was the icing on my race cake!
This race allowed me to run places that people are not allowed to go typically. It allowed me to experience a beautiful place, and an absolutely amazing culture.
I cannot wait for my next Ultra Adventures race!