Denali135

Great Alaska Endurance Race


The 2021 Denali135 will be held on June 20th.  Summer Solstice!!

Registration closes May 1st 2021 or when 50 runners have registered.

Alaska…….Denali……Big, Wild & Wide Open Places.

With 20,310’ tall Denali and surrounding Alaska Range Mountains and glaciers as its backdrop, the 135 Mile Denali Highway is the setting for the spectacular Denali135 and Denali100K Endurance Races.  The Denali Highway was the original and only road into Denali National Park from 1957 until 1971 and it is still as breathtaking and jaw dropping today as it was more than 50 years ago.

Hardy and qualified adventurous athletes from around the World are invited to challenge themselves along the entire or half length of the historic gravel road from Paxson Alaska, the headwaters of the wild Gulkana River, to Cantwell Alaska…. Adjacent to the entrance to Denali National Park.

Superlative panoramic vistas reach out for miles in every direction bathed in the nearly 20hrs of arctic daylight each day during the race.  National Geographic rightly called the Denali Highway one of the top ten most scenic roads in North America.

In 2021, the Denali135 will be limited to 50 runners and their crew and pacers.
The Denali100k will be limited to 50 runners and their crew and pacers.

The Denali135 was first run in 2019 by Sean Tracy (44hrs 12mins) & Bill McCue (44 hrs 22 mins)  with Crew Chief/Pacer Eric Lepping and Crew/Filmmaker Ian Borowski.

Denali135 and Denali100k Race Ambassadors

Ronnie Delzer

Ronnie's results are too long to list here but include a 100 mile PR of 13:40, 2017 & 2018 USATF 100 mile Champion, and Guinness World Record Holder for 12 hours on a treadmill with 89 miles.
We're pretty sure Ronnie is going to crush the 2019 Denali135 course record.

Check out Ronnie's website & follow him on Instagram.

Dan Brenden

Dan is the ultra legend you've probably never heard of.  He's the record holder of Ultra Grand Slams at 8, 11 Western States finishes, 8 Leadville finishes, 12 Vermont 100 finishes.  112 hundred mile race finishes!  
Maybe the greatest thing about Dan is his kindness and unassuming manner.  He's a heck of a nice guy!

Check out Dan's race results at UltraSignup.

Registration Deadlines

Registration

  • July 4th  2020 Registration Opens.
  • May 1st 2021 Registration Closes.
  • May 7th 2021 Qualifying races must be submitted.

 

Registration Details

**Runners will be informed of their registration acceptance if they are received along with their qualifying race info.

*** Runners Info Package and Crew & Pacer Rules will be sent within 30 days of their registration acceptance.  Once runners are accepted, they will be responsible for passing the Crew & Pacer Rules onto their respective crews and pacers. 

**There will be no registration refunds for the Denali135 and or Denali100K race.  Possible deferments to the next year’s race may…MAY…be made at the sole discretion of the race director.  As you can imagine, significant logistics are involved in organization of this race and so we simply are unable to make refunds…..deferments possibly…refunds…sorry.

Denali135 Race Schedule

June 19th – Mandatory Pre-Race Briefing (With Dinner) at Gakona Lodge at 4pm.

June 20th – 4:00am Race Start at starting line at Paxson end of Denali Highway.

June 22nd – 4:00am Race Cut-off at finish line near Cantwell end of Denali Highway.

June 22nd – 5:00pm Post Race Award Dinner at Denali Education Center Sheldon Hall.

June 23rd – Check Out of Denali Education Center.

*Runners and crews staying at other nearby lodging can continue on with their own schedule after the post-race award dinner.

Register on 

Watch the 2019 Denali135 Video

Please visit the following pages for Very Important Event Details

Race Format & Time Cut-Offs

Individual runners with mandatory support crew and optional pacers.

Maximum of 48hrs allotted to complete the Denali135
Maximum of 24hrs allotted to complete the Denali100K

See cut off times on the Schedule & Logistics page.

Pacers and Crew

Each runner must be accompanied by a support vehicle/crew who can supply food and water and support to the runner during and throughout the race.  One pacer at a time may also accompany the runner.  This pacer can also share in crewing/driving the support vehicle.  

Support Vehicle and Crew & Pacer Rules/Details will be sent to runners within 30 days of their registrations being accepted.

Awards

Runners completing the Denali135 course in 48hrs or under will receive a “wildly” unique Denali135 belt buckle and official Denali135 finishers shirt.  The overall men’s and woman’s winners will receive special Denali135 awards.  Pacers and Crew will receive official Denali135 pacer/crew shirt (Two included in runners race registration fee) Additional shirts available for purchase.

Runners completing the Denali100K course in 24hrs or under will receive a one of a kind Denali100K Medal and Denali100K finishers shirt.  There will be overall men’s and women’s winners special awards as well.

To Qualify

Denali135 Applicants must have completed at least 4 ultra- running races in the previous 3 years with distances of 50 miles or greater for each race, at least one of which was a 100 mile race or longer before applying for the Denali135.

Denali100K Applicants must have completed at least one 50K race and two marathons in the previous 2 years or be able to prove to the Race Director that they have sufficient training to have a reasonably good chance of completing the race within the allotted time.

Due to the vast majority of ultra races in 2020 being cancelled, self conducted runs of equal or greater distance and or time will be considered as qualifying runs.  

Qualifying races must have been completed within the maximum time allotted for the race.

In 2021 the Denali135 will be limited to 50 runners and their crews/pacers.  The Denali100K has the same runner and crew cap of 50 runners.

Denali135 Course

The Denali135 is a point to point race along the length of the 135 mile Denali Highway with an approx. total elevation gain of 8800’.  The race starts in Paxson Alaska on the East side of the Denali Highway and finishes in Cantwell at the West side of the Denali Highway. 

The Denali100K is also a point to point race which starts at approx. halfway across the Denali Highway at the Alpine Creek Lodge and then heads west before finishing outside Cantwell Alaska at the same finish line as the Denali135 runners. 

Denali135 Runners.  After checking in at the Historic Gakona Lodge (approx. 3.5hrs drive from Anchorage), Runners and crews will begin the Denali135 at Paxson Alaska…The crossroads of the Richardson and Denali Highways.

Denali100K Runners.  Runners and crews will check in at the Alpine Creek Lodge no later than 1hour before (1PM) the start of the race which is at at 2PM on July 5th. 

For 21 miles the Highway is paved as it slowly rises up from the Gulkana River watershed to the Tangle Lakes area.  A chain of Lakes listed on the National Historic Register for its important archeological value.  A small roadhouse and lodge (Tangle River Inn) at mile 20 offers lodging, a small basic restaurant, gas and limited supplies.

There the road becomes gravel and gently rises and falls before climbing to 4,086’ Maclaren Summit Pass at mile 36.8.  Down from the summit to the Maclaren River Lodge after the bridge over the Maclaren River at mile 42. This lodge offers lodging, a small restaurant, gas and limited supplies.

The amazing subalpine scenery continues on and racers and crew will come to Alpine Creek Lodge at mile 68 (Slightly more than halfway!)  The lodge offers rooms and cabins, restaurant and light supplies.  Racers, pacers and their crews press on until they reach the Susitna River Bridge at mile 79.5.

A few miles further at mile 82.2 is Clearwater Mountain Lodge.  Bed& Breakfast, Food, Gas and Tire repair.  Leaving the Susitna River Valley, the road continues on now with no services or lodging until the end.  Runners, pacers and crew need to plan this section well because other than the road and occasional passing motorist, they will be alone on the Denali Highway for the next 50 miles until they reach the finish outside Cantwell.  Mount Deborah and Hess keep participants company until, weather permitting, 20,320’ Denali makes it’s appearance to the west and rewards the persistent with jaw dropping views of North America’s tallest peak.

*Please note that mileage markers on the Denali Highway may not match up with your vehicle’s odometer or a GPS watch when running your race.  Remember, the highway was built in the 50’s across a very remote section of Alaska. We’ll cut the original engineers some slack but we’ll be there and be quite sure you’ll know when you cross under the finish line.

Runner Mandatory Equipment

  • Spot GPS Tracker (Will be provided by Spirit-Trips at check in on)
  • Buff for warmth, dust and bug protection.
  • Sufficient Water Bottles or Hydration Vest
  • 500 Calories of energy bars, Gu, gels or equivalent at all times.
  • Quality Headlamp and fresh batteries.
  • High Visibility reflective vest to be worn from Dusk to Dawn (Only about 4 hours…if that)
  • Flashing blinker from Dusk to Dawn
  • Runner Bib with racer number visible at all times

Pacer Mandatory Equipment

  • Buff for warmth, dust and bug protection.
  • Sufficient Water Bottles/Hydration Vest
  • Quality Headlamp and fresh batteries.
  • High Visibility Reflective vest from Dusk to Dawn
  • Flashing blinker from Dusk to Dawn
  • Pacer Bib with racer number visible at all times

 

Support Crew Mandatory Equipment

  • “RUNNERS AHEAD” Car magnet for all for sides of their vehicle (Spirit Trips provides)
  • SUV, Van or Camper as support vehicle.  Must be in good working order.
  • Sufficient water and nutrition for their runner’s entire race.
  • Basic first aid kit.
  • Satellite phone, extra battery and charger.  These rent for approx. $75-$100 a week and several rental companies in Anchorage will be detailed in the Runners Info Package.

**Crews need to buy their food in Anchorage for the two days that they will be on the Denali Highway for the race because provisions on the course are extremely limited at best.  Gas and Ice are available along with basic light restaurant fare at 3-4 places along the course.  Gas should be topped off when starting the race as there are only 2-3 lodges in the 135 miles that provide gas.

Giving Back

Contributing back to the communities where we hold our races is super important to us at Spirit Trips.  In the case of the Denali135, we have chosen to raise awareness and donations for the Denali Education Center who also happens to be graciously allowing us to hold our Denali135 post-race award dinner at their super cool Charles Sheldon Event Center on their campus 15 minutes south from Denali National Park.

The people at The Denali Education Center strive to bring awareness and appreciation for Denali National Park and their programs and outreach range from taking visitors on 2 hour interpretive guided natural history walks to multi day immersive nature programs for youth who without the Denali Education Centers outreach and passion, would never have a chance to experience the wonder of Denali.

Spirit Trips will be donating a portion of each race registration fee to The Denali Education Center and we strongly encourage our runners and their crew & pacers to do donate however they feel they can.

To share the words of Henry David Thoreau…..

  “In Wilderness is the preservation of the World”

Any Denali135 & Denali100k Media and Sponsorship Inquiries can be sent to Sean@Spirit-Trips.com

For more information on sponsorship opportunities see our
Event Partners page