I have to admit I started out this year not too thrilled about relaying. I have potentially big plans (vague, deal with it) and relays, although being a full weekend of fun, are exhausting. Just being honest. But of course then you start to see the buildup for them, you follow along on Twitter as people run through the night, overcoming things they once thought were impossible, and you start a side business that is ALL ABOUT THE RELAY (yeah, that happened), well... you can't help but catch the relay bug.
Then there's my team - HighNuun. How can I go a whole year without running with these ladies?! I can't. And truth be told, I likely won't. One hiccup though - this girl is leaving us. She's traveling to the other side of the world. Go figure. In my frantic search for a last minute relay we could all do as a team before she took off, I came across the Top of Zion Relay (and basically the point of this post).
Aside from the timing of the race there were other things that appealed to me. One: the location. HighNuun has run in Utah and Colorado. We've taken on the most challenging (elevation wise) courses Ragnar has to offer. With that under our belts I was excited to take on the serious elevation on this course - boasting 21,300 feet of ascending and descending over 21,500 feet. The highest peak at 9,600 feet got me all sorts of excited.
Two: the location. Ha! Yes, there's more to the location. You run from Capital Reef National Park to Zion National Park. Here's a quote from the website -
Just imagine yourself running through red towering cliffs, steep forests, majestic vistas, white mountain rock, open plains, country roads, quiet lakes, serene aspen-covered valleys, small rural towns and much more...
I'm in! Where do I sign up?! If that doesn't sound like the most beautiful thing on Earth I'm not sure what does. Here's what I'm picturing. Did you get that?
Capital Reef Park (source)
Zion National Park (source)
I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most gorgeous relay courses out there. Stunning natural beauty. What better way to appreciate it than on foot?
Three: It's small. Like really small. Looking at the results from last year I'm counting under 50 teams total. Now for some that may not be appealing. But for me, it's practically everything. Small means more focus on your team. Small means community. Small means solitude - which for some is scary but for me means peaceful. In such a beautiful location small means you can actually look around and enjoy what you're running past. And lastly, small means I can reach out to the race directors and build a relationship with them (which I have and they seem fantastic!).
I could list off more reasons this race appealed to me but those are the highlights. With all that said, this race is unfortunately off the HighNuun radar. It didn't quite work with everyone's race schedules and obviously traveling for a race can be a bit complicated and not to mention expensive. BUT, just because High Nuun can't make it doesn't mean you can't! I spoke with the race directors and they kindly gave me a code to share with you all for 10% off your entry fee. Find 11 friends, or heck go ultra and find 5, and let me live vicariously through your experience!! Please, pretty please! Use code RUN5A4 when registering.
If you do happen to register a team shoot me a line (hello at quickfeetadventures dot com) so I can follow along during your training/racing.
Happy relaying y'all!!
Happy relaying y'all!!