Desert Rats Trail Running Festival by UTMB brings new trail runners and ultra veterans alike an incomparable weekend experience. With 5 unique distances, three days of racing, and indescribable views of the desert – there is something for every runner. Help us celebrate 20 years in 2023!
At Desert RATS, adventure is the goal. It’s about reaching deep within yourself, adapting to adversity and overcoming the challenges in front of you. Those who enjoy Desert RATS the most come into the experience prepared and willing to be flexible in every way.
The Marathon will be a single loop connecting the desert trails of the Kokopelli and adjacent trails. 50K runners will do an additional 4.6mi loop beginning at the Moore Fun Aid Station allowing runners to hit this Aid Station twice. The courses roll between elevations of 4,500 and 5,400 feet with over 3,400 feet of climbing.
Start: A nice warm-up takes runners out one mile of gently rolling dirt road. A sharp left turn puts runners on the first single track of the day. Once on this section, it will be difficult to pass so find your place before your reach this section. Large rocks and twists bring you to a high point where you will stay close to the edge and enjoy beautiful views before the rugged descent down the other side.
50K Out & Back: After leaving the Aid Station, 50K runners will head down the road to Rustler’s Loop. Travelling clockwise around the loop, this soft dirt trail winds its way through gently rolling hills and wide open fields. After completing the loop, you’ll be back at Moore Fun.
Moore Fun: A short downhill will bring you to a rugged jeep road. It will take you up a gentle climb and descent until it connects to the wide, flat and fast section of Mary’s Loop. Head right on Mary’s Loop, going through some fun technical terrain with amazing views of the Colorado River, to reach Pizza Overlook.
Pizza Overlook: Upon leaving the Aid Station, you will immediately begin descending quickly. A narrow trail and big drop-offs will eventually open up as you begin following the rim in and out of the canyons. On an incredibly picturesque course, this section is generally considered the most beautiful.
Crossroads: After a short climb, the course passes some intersecting trails and makes a couple of sharp turns (pay attention to the course markings). This will lead to the undulating, remote section of the Troybuilt Trail. This is the longest section between Aid Stations so be sure to carry water with you. A fun descent through a wash will bring you to Troybuilt. You must make it to the Crossroads Aid Station by Noon. Racers over this cut-off will be directed to bypass the remaining course, proceeding back to the Start/Finish by the most direct route, 1.5mi on Mary’s Loop and Hawkeye.
Troybuilt: Leaving this Aid Station will put you on the steep, hot climb of the day. Eventually bringing you to Mack Ridge, this section will open up, once again following what some would consider a little too close to the overlook. A new section of single-track will make a sharp left turn and descend 2.8 miles to the backside of the parking lot and the finish line.
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