The only disappointing thing about the Dugway Isolation Trail Run was that more people didn’t participate! The views were amazing, the single-track super fun, the race volunteers friendly, and the schwag over the top.
This was the 3rd year of the Dugway Isolation Run and I’ve wanted to do it each year but I am always in some state of injured. The run is out on the normally not open to the public Dugway Proving Grounds purported by some to be the next Area 51 and some sort of military spaceport. One of the aid station volunteers and Dugway residents said she only wished it was that exciting out here!
I had no idea how long it would take to get out to Dugway from Salt Lake City since google maps just plunked you down in the middle of the desert so we left at a ridiculously early hour of 5am after stopping for my first ever cup of Dunkin Donuts cup of coffee which tastes exactly like when I forget to replace the Keurig pod and brew a second cup from nasty old grounds.
After only an hour and a half of driving we came to the entry point where the guard asked us our business to which I said, “Trail race?” and to which he replied with a stern face, “What race?” and then immediately began laughing after watching the panic creep across my face. The guard grabbed our licenses to run a background check and then gave us an official looking document that allowed us to enter the installation.
We got to the starting line just in time to watch the 50K-ers head out into the darkness, and then checked in and signed our life away on the unexploded bombs notice. Essentially the notice said if you see something shiny do not pick it up and if you are stupid enough to do so it ain’t our fault.
After the most incredible desert sunrise and a rather lengthy course description, which I should have paid better attention to since it would have saved me about a mile when I went off course, but I was too busy trying to figure out the closest way to the unexploded landmine field since it turns out the 30K I registered for was going to run closer to 21 miles and considering my everything had been hurting the past few weeks and I had barely run 20 miles in the past 2 weeks and i’ts cold and I’m already hungry… we were off.
The race started with a climb and delivered some amazing views right from the start. The lighting was awesome and the views stretched forever and the desert smelled like sage and sand and so good! The trail was mostly single-track and shallow sand with very few technical (for me) spots and there were signs posted all over the course pointing out rock features and odditites like the Alien Take-Off, the Drone Zone, Quicksand, Scorpion Tail, and Stonehenge which kept things interesting.
My left leg was super tight the first 5 miles, but I seemed to work out the funk and transfer all the discomfort to my right hip flexor which is more familiar and tolerable. Pretty psyched that I could run 20+ miles on not a lot of “training” and I actually negative split which is pretty neat since it got hot! I listened to tunes the 2nd lap and was able to hit the downhills a little harder since I had worked out some of the bodily funk. I think I may just be the only person in the world that feels better after a 20+ mile run.
We hung out at the end of the race and I drank about a gallon of water and made my own pizza to grill (what a great idea!) and had hilarious conversations with some Dugway residents that ran their first ever trail race – I think they are hooked! The race has a 50K, 30K, 20K, 10K, and 5K so there is something for pretty much everyone.
This race had more schwag then any other race I have ever attended! The finisher medals were gorgeous with wild horses on them and nearly everyone got an award with an animal skull and a raffle prize. The race bag had all sorts of goodies like a tiny race cup to reduce waste, KT tape, multiple tubes of bug repellent, a nifty GSI lightweight flask that I love, a Sea World San Diego water bottle (wtf?), Army food that with a very extended shelf life, a blank envelope filled with some unidentifiable white powder (kidding of course!), and a ton of other things.
I absolutely loved this event and am sad that more people didn’t participate. I’m going to make it my mission to drag a ton of people out there next year!