The Nov. 8 Moab Trail Marathon had nearly 500 finishers.
The red rock landscapes and remote canyon trails around Moab, Utah, offer both breathtaking inspiration and leg-burning difficulty—making it the perfect place to put on an epic trail running race. More than 1,300 runners took part in the marathon, half marathon and 5K connected to the Nov. 8 Moab Trail Marathon, which also doubled as the 2014 USA Trail Marathon Championships.
Dakota Jones, 23, of Durango, Colo., outran a good field, finishing the rugged course in 3 hours, 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Jones, Mario Mendoza (3:06:44) and Justin Ricks (3:07:27) went off the front together, with Jones finally pulling away in the final 4 miles of the race. While Jones is an ultrarunning champion who has excelled at races from 50K to 100 miles, Mendoza and Ricks are more accomplished at running faster over shorter distances.
“Those guys are way faster than me on the roads, so whenever it was more technical trail I had to just go for it so I could pull ahead,” Jones said. “Justin took the lead for a bit late and I just wanted to hang on. I felt good at the end and was able to pull away.”
Jones said he used the Moab race as a tune-up for The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-mile championship slated for Dec. 6 near Mill Valley, Calif.
Megan Kimmel, 34, of Silverton, Colo., was the women’s marathon winner in 3:27:50, finishing 12th overall with a 25-minute cushion over runner-up Laura Tabor (3:52:34). Kimmel won the women’s race in the USA Half Marathon Trail Championships last year at the Moab event. (This year’s half marathon was not a U.S. championship.)
“I really like the running out here. To me, it doesn’t get more beautiful than this,” Kimmel said. “It’s such a well put-together race and so well marked, it’s easy to have fun running it. This time of the year running around Moab, Utah, is amazing.”
High school teammates Gordon Gianniny, 18, and Nicholas Turco, 16, from Durango, Colo., finished a close 1-2 in the half marathon in 1:34:46, while Deanna Ardrey, 31, of Boulder, Colo., was the women’s half marathon winner in 1:48:32.
RESULTS: Moab Trail Marathon Results Page