3,000 runners expected for Zion Half Marathon; traffic delays likely

In this 2016 photo, Walter Brown (Left black singlet) and Aaron Metler (Right black singlet) of St. George lead the pack at the start of the 2016 Zion Half Marathon. Virgin, Utah, March 12, 2016 | Photo by Lucid Images Photography courtesy of Vacation Races, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH – The annual Zion Half Marathon returns this weekend for its fifth year, with a move to Mt. Carmel and the east side of Zion National Park due as road construction in Springdale continues.

Vacation Races, an event company that produces half-marathon races centered around breathtaking national parks and Forest Service lands, will be holding the exciting two-day event with race expo Friday and race Saturday. Both the expo and the race starting point will take place at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, Twin Knolls Road, Mt Carmel.

In this photo from 2015, runners make their way down the final stretch of the Zion Half Marathon which began in Virgin and ended in Springdale, Utah, March 14, 2015 | Photo by Ralph Reina, St. George News

The breathtaking course will take runners through the wilderness in Mt. Carmel and finish just outside the east entrance to Zion National Park. Most of the course will take runners on dirt roads; however they will also occupy some of North Fork Road and, near the middle of the course, cross state Route 9.

The road on the course will remain open, however motorists should expect delays on SR-9 and when entering the park on race day. The race can create an inconvenience for some residents, event coordinators acknowledged in the race announcement.

“Zion National Park and the surrounding area is dear to all of us at Vacation Races,” Director of Race Operations Lyle Anderson said. “We love this opportunity to encourage more people to discover the unique beauty in this area, but we also know that this can cause inconveniences to its residents. We are extremely grateful for all the local support we have received, and we apologize for any inconvenience our event may cause.”

This will be the first year this event will take place on the east side of the park, a move made due to road construction in Springdale.

The event has over 3,000 running participants and will bring around 6,000 people to the area.

More than half of those registered for the race have not previously seen Zion National Park, race organizers said in the announcement.

Events like this do wonders when it comes to uncovering the beauty of our region to folks who have never visited the St. George area before,” Kevin Lewis, director of the St. George Area Sports Commission, said. “Our splendid springtime weather along with an eyeful of the area’s grandeur is sure to generate ringing endorsements from our visitors.”

Story and resources continue below.

This 2015 file photo shows the finish line gathering at the Zion Half Marathon, Springdale, Utah, March 14, 2015. In 2017, the race moves to the east side of Zion National Park, with expo and starting line at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, Twin Knolls Road, Mt Carmel, Friday and Saturday, due to ongoing road construction in Springdale.  | Photo by Scott Young, St. George News

About Vacation Races

The Zion Half Marathon is the first of 11 races put on by Vacation Races in its 2017 National Parks Half Marathon Series, with subsequent races being held at or near Yosemite, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains national parks and Lake Powell at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; see dates and details on page 19 of the Zion Half Marathon Race Guide.

Producing beautiful half-marathons against the backdrop of America’s majestic national parks and recreation areas and Forest Service lands, Vacation Races is motivated, it states, by its vision of promoting health, natural beauty, well-being and creating memories.

Founded in 2012, and providing the only national park races, Vacation Races’ foray into racing events focused on three different regional parks – Zion, Rocky Mountain and Lake Powell. It has since expanded the races nationwide.


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1 Comment

  • utahdiablo March 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Zion is already ruined for any locals to see from mid March until mid December each year now, thanks to all the greed via the Mighty 5 or these race promoters….it was good while it lasted, but those days are long gone….welcome to southern California

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