Denali135

Great Alaska Endurance Race

The Tentative date for the 2022 Denali135 is June 20th. 

Summer Solstice!!

Registration for the 2022 race opens Sept. 1, 2021 and closes 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 2022, 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

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

  • Sept. 1st  2021 Registration Opens.
  • Jan. 1st 2022 Registration Closes or once 50 runners have registered.
  • May 7th 2022 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.  Time and Place TBA

June 20th – 6:00am Race Start at starting line at Paxson end of Denali Highway.

June 22nd – 6:00am Race Cut-off at finish line near Cantwell end of Denali Highway.

June 22nd – 5:00pm Post Race Dinner.  Time and Place TBA

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 18hrs 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.  No one pacer may run more than 60 miles with their runner.

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.  .

Runners completing the Denali100K course in 18hrs or under will receive a one of a kind Denali100k Belt Buckle 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 3 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 and 2021 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 2022 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.  Runners and crews will begin the Denali135 at 6am June 20th at Paxson Alaska…The crossroads of the Richardson and Denali Highways.

Denali100K Runners.  Runners and crews will start their race from the  Alpine Creek Lodge approx. halfway across the Denali Highway.

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 may offer lodging, a small basic restaurant, gas and limited supplies.  As of the right now, the Tangle River Inn is closed and for sale so we’re not sure what it’s status will be on race day. 

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.

* The total running distance travelled during the  Denali 135 may vary by runner but on average, the runners taking on the Denali135 will travel 131 miles.

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 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 Denali100K & Denali135, we have chosen to raise awareness and donations for the Denali Education Center. 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. Our post race award banquet was to be held there at their campus but due to restraints placed on their programing due to Covid, we will be joining them for the 2022 running of our Denali races.

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