Due to a forecast for heavy rain on race weekend this alternate course will be going into effect. This area of Arizona is unique with the Agua Fria River running through the middle part of our course along the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail. The same river that helped carve the amazing canyons is fed by a large watershed in Central Arizona and river crossing levels can rise rapidly with varying amounts of measurable rainfall. In mid-January, after a significant storm, the river had a flood event 10 feet higher than it is currently at, flowing at a rate of close to 10,000 cubic feet of water per second. Although the river level and flow have diminished, the river is still currently significant. With rain forecast for the weekend, we have made the decision for the safety of our runners, volunteers, staff and crew to implement this alternate course which will avoid the river crossings of the Agua Fria entirely. Conditions can change rapidly and rain falling far away from the course can impact our event unexpectedly.
The Alternate Course Decision
The goal of the alternate course it to provide a suitable alternative on race day that will be approximately an equal distance and runner experience while keeping safety at the forefront. Before deciding on implementing the alternate course, we have done a complete review of the weather forecast and have also taken into account current river levels, river flow and recent rains that may have already saturated the desert floor. We do not take a decision like this lightly and have been consulting with our highly experienced amateur radio team who have been working events in the area for over 25 years, land managers, our own staff, aid station captains and other Arizona based race directors to make the best decision. Our goal is to be transparent with our decision and the reasons why. For some context, here is a the water discharge & gauge height data for the Agua Fria River near Rock Springs (near the two major river crossings before & after Black Canyon City): USGS Water Data – Rock Springs
With the potential for at least an inch of rain this weekend, we have decided would not be safe to risk multiple crossings of the Agua Fria River.
Alternate Course Summary
The alternate courses will be comprised of out and back routes starting and finishing at Mayer High School in Spring Valley. 100K runners will start at 7:00am and follow the normal course past the Gloriana Mine aid station. Approximately 3.5 miles past Gloriana, 100K runners will turn left onto Maggie Mine Jeep Road and continue a total of 3 more miles on that dirt road to the alternate location of the Soap Creek Aid Station which will be located near the north end of Black Canyon City. This will be the new turn around point for the 100K runners who will then return North all the way back to Mayer High School.
Participants in the 60K will still start at 8:00am and also head down along the normal course to Bumble Bee Aid Station at mile 19.5. This will now be the 60K turn around point and runners will head back up to Mayer High School to finish the race.
Please see updated maps, elevation profiles, aid station distances and cutoff times below.
Alternate Course Weather & Gear
Current forecasts are calling for upwards of an inch of rain over the weekend across the course. Low temperatures the morning of the race could be in the low 40’s and the high may peak at 60 degrees down near Black Canyon City (which is at a much lower elevation than Spring Valley). High temperatures at the finish line at Mayer High are expected to reach 50 degrees and again dip down into the low 40’s at night.
Due to the sudden change in forecast and unpredictability of the day, all runners MUST be prepared for the weather. We are recommending the following weather gear be carried at all times:
- Waterproof jacket
- Long Sleeve
- Head wrap or Beanie
- Emergency space blanket
- Spare light
Race management, through our aid station captains, will have ultimate discretion to pull runners if we feel they are not adequately prepared for the elements. Come prepared for a cold, wet day and we guarantee you’ll have a more pleasant experience.
Alternate Course Maps
Alternate Course Elevation Profiles
Alternate Course Aid Station Chart
Alternate Course Start Line Parking & Shuttle Info
The alternate course will both start and finish at Mayer High School in Spring Valley. This now means that you can now park at the start/finish line and avoid the shuttle if you would like. We will still have the shuttle option available for those that made those plans previously with transportation (in vans) back to your car after your race finish. We definitely recommend parking at the start/finish at Mayer High School if you can. We will be sending a separate runner email out to all shuttle ticket holders this week to see who will still plan to take the shuttle race day.
Please follow the directions of our parking volunteers on race morning as we have specific areas where we will be allowed to park cars on Mayer High School property.
Alternate Course Crewing
2017 Alternate Course Crew Manual (Download)
Crewing this alternative course will be dependent on race day weather conditions of the dirt roads that lead to our aid stations. Unfortunately we may need to restrict or eliminate crew access if road conditions become unsafe.
We highly recommend high clearance vehicles and likely four wheel drive. Passengers cars can normally reach all aid stations, but with heavy rains forecast, the roads could become very muddy, especially on the edges where parking is likely to take place. At this point in time we will still allow crewing at the following aid stations, but that may be restricted race day and communicated race morning, our @AravaipaRunning twitter handle & on course Sheriffs & race staff.
Crews may access the following aid stations:
- Antelope Mesa
- Hidden Treasure Mine
- Bumble Bee
Please exercise extreme caution on these backroads and if you don’t feel comfortable you are welcome to spend time in either the Mayer High School Gym or nearby towns along the I-17 corridor which have cafes & restaurants. Cordes Junction & Arcosanti have several dining options, as well as Black Canyon City & Rock Springs.
Alternate Course Pacing
Pacers may join their 100K runner at the Bumble Bee Back aid station (mile 42.4) all the way to the finish. Pacers may also switch out or join their runner at Hidden Treasure Back (mile 48.9) or Antelope Mesa Back (mile 54.1). We ask that pacers please also come prepared for wet and cold conditions with the same gear we are recommending to participants including:
- Waterproof jacket
- Thermal Long Sleeve
- Head wrap or Beanie
- Emergency space blanket
- Spare light
Pacers may not “mule” or carry any supplies for their runner. Pacers may use aid station supplies including food and water while they are accompanying a runner.
Alternate Course Drop Bags
Drop bags must be waterproofed as we cannot guarantee they will be placed under shelter. If your actual drop bag isn’t waterproof, we recommend placing all items inside your drop bag in ziplock or watertight bags. Drop bags will be transported to the following aid stations which will be accessed twice each:
- Hidden Treasure Mine
- Gloriana Mine
There will be a discard pile for you to place your drop bag in when you are completely done with your drop bag (make sure to only do this the second time through). Bags in the discard pile will be brought back to the Finish at Mayer High School as the race develops. If you do not place your drop bag in the discard pile, it will come back when the aid station completely closes down at the end of the race.
You may also place a drop bag in the Mayer High School gym for your finish.
Alternate Course Cut-Off Times
The following cut-off times will be enforced at these aid stations on race day.
Alternate Course Finish Line Amenities
With our finish line at Mayer High School, we will have access to the gymnasium which will be open for the duration of the event. The finish line will remain on the track, but you can feel free to warm up in the gym post race. Freak Brothers Pizza will be out cooking wood fired pizzas at the finish line.
Alternate Course Race Day Schedule
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017
4:45am – Recommended arrival at Anthem Outlet Mall for pickup
5:10am – Shuttle Bus leaves from Anthem Outlet Mall
6:00am – Race day registration & check-in at Mayer High School gym in Spring Valley
6:44am – Begin civil twilight
6:45am – Final race briefing
7:00am – 100K Race Start on Mayer High School track
7:09am – Sunrise
7:45am – Final 60K race briefing
8:00am – 60K Race Start on Mayer High School track
10:00pm – 60K Cutoff at Mayer High School
3:00am – 100K Cutoff at Mayer High School
Alternate Course FAQ
Will this still be a Western States 100 Qualifier for 2018?
Yes. Craig Thornley, WS100 race director has confirmed this will still be a 2018 qualifying race for the 100K distance for those of you finishing in under 17 hours.
Will the Golden Tickets still apply for Western States 100 for 2017?
Yes. The run will still be part of the Altra Golden Ticket series and the top 2 men & women will win a spot at the 2017 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.
Will the race be cancelled?
We do not anticipate the event being cancelled with this alternate course, but will be monitoring the safety of our runners and volunteers throughout the day. To aid us in runner safety, we ask that all runners come prepared for wet, cold conditions.
Can I still take the shuttle bus race morning?
If you pre-purchased a shuttle bus ticket and would like to still take the bus from Anthem Outlet Mall, look for an email from us by Wednesday asking if you plan to take the shuttle or are driving yourself to the start at Mayer High.
Can I get a shuttle bus ticket refund if I drive myself to the start?
This all depends if we can cancel our buses and get a refund from the school district. If we can, we may issue an Aravaipa Race credit.
*Photo at top of page taken by Mario Ram on January 21 of the Agua Fria River in flood