We can blame some of our local Flagstaff Ultrarunning Club (FUC'ers) for the origin of the dare. Scott Bajer, Liz Davis, Ludo Pierson, and Eric Bohn, all FUC'ers, decided it would be a wonderful idea to run an ultra from Walnut Canyon (which sits just south of Flagstaff) to Mormon Lake (located much farther south of Flagstaff) along the continuous Arizona Trail. To spice it up a bit, James Willis, another FUC'er, suggested that we add the climb up Mormon Mountain so we get a touch of more varied terrain. In the end, the 47.5 mile course they laid out made for a most beautiful, diverse, and challenging morning and afternoon. The day would turn warm, one for the hottest for Flagstaff this year, with temps near 90 degrees. Lots of folks would come out to enjoy the two, shorter 22+ mile offerings as well. Full results for the long course can be found here. The story in pictures follows!
A view looking back along the course from the finish at Mormon Lake to its start below the mighty San Francisco Peaks.
Most of the course would follow the 800+ mile long (from Mexico to Utah) Arizona Trail south.
The start line at the Walnut Canyon Trailhead on the AZ Trail.
Walnut Canyon, 8 miles into the run.
The Marshall Lake Trailhead at mile 14.
Mormon Mountain (the largest climb of the race) as seen from Mormon Lake.
The start of the climb up Mormon Mountain at mile 33.
The climb to 8,500' would terminate at the mountain's summit meadow at mile 35.
A welcome sight: The mile 39 aid station at Double Springs Campground.
Salomon runner and second place finisher, Eric Bohn, arrives at Double Springs.
Flagstaff's Bret Sarnquist would go on to win the inaugural event in 7:41.
Arriving Double Springs after my waterless ascent and descent of Mormon Mountain. Ouch!
Now, taking my time with Mark Thurston and indulging on some much needed shade and water at Double Springs.
Race Director Scott Bajer is accompanied by his family as he arrives at mile 39.
Liz Davis also enjoys a respite at mile 39.
Post race snacks, beer, and BBQ on the shores of Mormon Lake!
A most excellent group: Runners, support crews, and volunteers in all!