Race Report: 2010 Goblin Valley 25k

Turned this one into a bit of a road trip with Malcolm and introduced him to the finer points of being a running bum and traveling to small towns in the middle of nowhere for some race.  With lots of time to kill in Green River, Utah, we had to get a bit creative.  We were camping overnight before driving down to race the Goblin Valley Ultra in the morning.  Our plans to play some golf were foiled by a steady rain that fell all afternoon.  Instead, we poached some wifi from a hotel parking lot and watched Paul Blart, Mall Cop on my laptop plugged into the car speakers via Netflix.  After that we hung out at a coffee shop for a while, got some less-than-good dinner, watched some more Netflix, then hit our campsite to get some sleep.

Luckily, the rain abated and we were greeted with great running conditions on the day of the race.  This would be Malcolm’s second 25k, and this time I put him in charge of everything (pacing, nutrition, hydration, etc.).  I had done it all at Gunnison, and wanted him to put into practice what he had learned.  I was just going along for the ride.

The first mile or so was on pavement through the state park

As someone who only runs in the less than 5 mile range, he was a little intimidated by the prospect of going 16.  He started out VERY slow and I kept asking him if he was feeling alright.  Turns out I should just keep my mouth shut (big shocker), he was only doing what I had advised him to do and was pacing himself smartly.

Spectacular scenery to run through

His smart pacing would pay off as he would gradually pick people off for the rest of the race.

Be prepared for some wide open country

He settled on taking 2 Clif Bloks at 20 minute intervals and that seemed to work very well.

The course traverses a wide open expanse that is very exposed.  Luckily it wasn’t hot and the wind stayed on the mild side.

The running surface is mostly dirt road which would be very boring if not for the views

Once we hit the turnaround our pace picked up and I could tell that Malcolm was more confident about going the distance.  The course was an out-and-back, so we knew exactly what we were up against to get back to the finish line.


The 25k turnaround point

After a quick stop at an aid station, we set off to cross the wide open valley again.  There were a few rolling hills in this section to break up the running stride a bit.  Malcolm kept a great pace on the ups and downs and ran all of it.

Aid Station #3

The views are a double-edged sword.  Nice to look at, but you can see that you have a long way to go!

Heading for the prominent formation ahead, the route runs just to the left of it before heading back into the park

Runners were spread pretty thin by this time, the pack was spread out over several miles.

Feeling good and running strong

It was a lot of fun to watch Malcolm do his thing and get himself through the race in such good shape.  Never a complaint or frustration, just constantly expressing how cool this is.  I could tell he is really starting to get why I do this stuff.

For the final mile, we diverted down into the actual Goblin Valley to run through the maze-like formations.  There are no trails, so we followed plastic jack-o-lanterns as our guides.  Malcolm ran this part so hard I had a tough time keeping up.  I was sick earlier in the week so that is probably why I was dragging a bit (at least that’s the story I’m sticking with).

Fun way to finish


Lots of short climbs and drops in this part


Kicking it into gear, 1/2 mile to go


Only one more hill after this


Looking back on the section of Goblin Valley that we just ran through

The race was a lot of fun for both of us and I was so happy that he had a good time.  I’ve been having a lot of fun sharing experiences like this together this year.  Two 25k trail races, a week-long backpacking trip, some 14ers, and a few other hikes and campouts.

On the way home, we stopped off to explore the Sego Canyon area which is just 4 miles north of the Thompson Springs exit on I-70.  We spent a couple of hours hiking around and checking out some really cool petroglyphs.  Some are thought to be 2,000 years old!


These are more recent


These are the really old ones


Pretty creative work


The lasting image of a great weekend

Posted on October 31, 2010, in family, race, run. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Don’t know what else to say, but – COOL!!! THat is really, really awesome Mr. B. Way to go.

    And you’ve piqued my interest on the Goblin – I started reading about this early in 2009 and have been trying to figure a way to get out there. Sounds like it was well worth it.

  2. “Never a complaint or frustration, just constantly expressing how cool this is.”

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree….

    Sounds like a perfect weekend. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Looks like a pretty cool race, might hafta check it out next year.

    • JT it is a cool race – wide open very fast course. Good place to post a quick 50k time. The 50k course was ~5k short this year, though. Got some very unusual heavy rain the day before and the mud got too bad for the aid station vehicles to get far enough out to the normal turn around.

  4. That looks like a great time, and great scenery. I’d need lots of water on that run, good thing it was autumn!

    Goblin Valley must be where some “distant planet” scenes from Galaxy Quest were filmed. The rocks came to life in the movie.

    I reeeealy want to see some petroglyphs too. Wow.

  5. That last image is classic! Solid run man!

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