Denali135

Great Alaska Endurance Race
Register on ultrasignup

July 4, 2020

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 Endurance Race.  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 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.

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.
 

In 2020, The Denali135 will be limited to 50 runners and their crew and pacers.

Register on 

Watch the Denali135 Promo Video

Registration Deadlines

Registration

  • July 26th  2019 Registration Opens.
  • February 15th 2020 Registration Closes.
  • February 28th 2020 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 refunds for withdrawing from the Denali135 race.  Possible deferments to the next years race may…MAY…be made at the sole discretion of the race director.  As you can imagine, significant logistics are involved in organization this race and so we simply are unable to make refunds…..deferments possibly…refunds…sorry.

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 run.  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 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.

To Qualify

Applicants must have completed at least 4 ultra- running races in the previous 2 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. 

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

Again, in 2020 the Denali135 will be limited to 50 runners and their crews/pacers.

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.

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.

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 at 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.

At mile 131.8 the road turns into pavement for the last 2 miles to the finish line outside the village of Cantwell.

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.
  • Reserve handheld flashlight.
  • 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.
  • Reserve handheld flashlight.
  • 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 Media and Sponsorship Inquiries can be sent to Sean@Spirit-Trips.com