Two big announcements today!
The last two years we have run our race on the 4th weekend in March. Those who ran this year know we asked about changing the race weekend. We took the input from you, looked at weather information and spoke with local hotels and Rangers at Zion National Park. Please know we did not take making this change lightly. Here are the pros and cons of the date change:
Con: Higher potential for cooler weather. We looked at historic weather highs and lows over the past 7 years at Zion. On average, the 2nd weekend versus the 4th weekend are only a single degree different (69 & 70 degrees respectively). The big difference comes with variation. Where the 4th weekend only swings about 5 degrees, the 2nd weekend swings as much as 9 degrees. What that means is where we expect great weather for both weekends, there is increased risk for cooler temps. Those who have run both years know that later in the month doesn’t remove the risk (2013 was COLD!) but with the change the number of cold years versus warm years will be slightly greater. We will continue to spend money on a huge warming tent, and will make sure we never run out of coffee or hot cocoa again.
Con: Same day as the LA Marathon. We know this doesn’t affect everyone, but we do get a lot of runners from SoCal so this will affect some. They do not have a half marathon distance, so my guess is only a few will be affected.
Pro: Cheaper flights to Vegas. The 4th weekend of the month is typically March Madness which means an influx of people into Vegas and that means higher plane ticket prices. For those flying, moving to the 2nd weekend of the month will help people keep costs down.
Pro: More Hotel availability. Anyone who tried to book a hotel room late in the game this year, knows how challenging it can be to find hotel rooms in Springdale. Moving the race up 2 weeks will ease that pain a little. We still expect growth in the race, so we do not recommend waiting to book your hotel room. No need to even wait to register. Book today!
Pro: Zion Canyon Parking. Growing up near Zion, I remember crazy parking in the 1990’s s the park got super busy each weekend. Having to find parking can ruin one’s experience. In 1997 the park introduced a shuttle system which helps keep the canyon itself serene and makes logistics incredibly easy. I was disappointed this year when the shuttles were not running on race weekend, and the canyon was overrun with cars. Moving the race up a couple weeks, and launching registration earlier, will mean there are fewer non-runners visiting the park that weekend which should make the canyon more enjoyable to hiking.
Pro: Zion Shuttles. The park is planning to start the shuttles much earlier in 2015 than they have in the past. We asked if they could shut off the shuttles for a half day on race day, and were given a firm “No”. That means, runners would have to dodge buses in addition to the existing traffic in Springdale, AND we would have had to move our finish line to the back of the Cable Mountain Lodge parking lot. Still pretty, but pales in comparison to the existing finish line. This is what kind of forced our hand in selecting a date. However, we are excited that the shuttles will be running on Sunday after the race, which means visiting Zion Canyon will be SO much easier next year.
We realize that the date change will affect some runner’s abilities to attend the race each year. We really appreciate your input and will continue to adjust the race to meet everyone’s needs as best we can.
The second announcement is about the registration date. We will be opening registration on June 1st.
This is earlier than we have done it in the past. The primary reason is to enable runners to get hotels in Springdale easier. Most runners tend to wait until they are registered for the race, and so to enable our event to take up more rooms in town, we decided to move up registration.
We are still offering a full and complete refund up until about 2-3 months before the race, so you can register with confidence knowing that if your circumstances change, you are not out anything.
If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, feel free to post them publicly or you can always reach us by cell or email!
**UPDATE: Our host hotel Cable Mountain Lodge is offering a 15% discount to our runners again this year. Just use the code ZRUN to get your discount. They are ready to take reservations TODAY! Our other host hotel Cliffrose Lodge will be ready later this week. We will let you know once they are ready.