I’ll be visiting my buddy Dave Horning from Enviro-Sports Productions this weekend.
Every year for the past 4 years, I make the trip to Las Vegas en route to Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California. But I don’t go in July; I go in February. It often coincides with the Super Bowl, so Hotel rooms in Las Vegas are at a premium, unlike the trip last month for the USATF NPEP Conference.
Trail running doesn’t get any better than this wide, jeep road twisting through the towering red rocks of Death Valley’s Titus Canyon. Only 300 lucky runners get to experience this unique event each year. There is no 400 meters sprint, but I do volunteer my time and drive the support vehicle though the twisted course.
The very first year, I rented a Buick Century, and when I approached the entrance gate, the National Park Warden looked at my car and said “Sir, you don’t plan on driving though Titus Canyon with that, are you?”
All future rentals were 4WD, by the way.
I drove through without problems, but several vans had more than one flat tire, as the rocks on the course are very sharp and jagged. With one spare tire, and being a private one-way road, your only hope to get out is a private Tow truck at $247!
The fact that runners have been coming back for this event for nearly 20 years must mean something! This is a scenic wilderness trail run on a gravel jeep road from Beatty, NV, through the picturesque Titus Canyon, to the finish in Death Valley (entire run is in Death Valley National Park). The desert is beautiful this time of year with mild temperatures; lows at night between 30 and 40 degrees and highs during the day from the low-60s to mid-70s. This is a spectacular trail event and well worth the weekend away even if you do miss the Super Bowl.
The Marathon begins on Titus Canyon Rd. at Hwy. 374 at 3,400 feet and climbs its way to Red Pass at mile 12 (5,200 feet), before descending 5,000 feet over the final 14 miles to the finish (200 feet) at Scotty’s Castle Rd.
The 30K course is the final 18 miles of the Marathon. Starts at White Pass and begins with a 200-foot descent. A 500-foot climb to Red Pass makes you grateful for the final 14-miles of downhill to the finish at Scotty’s Castle Rd.
I have videos from the past 2 years, and will take some more footage of this experience.
Date: Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
Location: Titus Canyon – Death Valley National Park
Location Race Day HQ: Furnace Creek, Death Valley, CA 92328
Distances: Marathon & 30K
For more info, visit www.envirosports.com