Denali100k & Denali135 FAQ

Great Alaska Endurance Race

July 4th, 2020

Airport & Rental Car
You’ll want to fly into Anchorage International Airport.  There you can get a rental car from  https://www.alaska4x4rentals.com 
They are one of only two or three rental car companies who allow their rental vehicles on the Denali Highway.  The others don’t because they are worried about gravel chipping paint or chipping windshield glass.
Their rental counter is located in the airport which makes it convenient.  Make sure you reserve your vehicle as soon as possible though because rentals go fast up there.  You can also rent your mandatory satellite phone for the race from them.  Super inexpensive as long as you aren’t calling tons of people and just use it for the race and for quick hello calls to friends and family.  These satellite phones are mandatory for the race because there is very little cell phone reception on the Denali Highway.  We’ll go over them at the pre race briefing.  This rental car company will also rent coolers which you’ll need during the race.  
Cell Phone Coverage

The short answer is that there is none!  The Denali Highway is remote on there are no cell towers along the highway.

During the 2019 event we have some coverage for the first 20-ish miles of the highway.  That means that you may have coverage until Tangle Lakes.  After that there’s no coverage.  Coverage returns when we get to the race finish a few miles east of the end of the highway.

You can also rent your mandatory satellite phone for the race from Alaska 4×4 Rentals.  Super inexpensive as long as you aren’t calling tons of people and just use it for the race and for quick hello calls to friends and family.  These satellite phones are mandatory for the race because there is very little cell phone reception on the Denali Highway.  We’ll go over them at the pre race briefing.

Athlete Tracking

Denali135 and Denali100k staff will be tracking all runners via Spot Trackers.  These will be provided for you when you check in before your race.  

Provisioning

Once you get your car and depending on what time your flight arrives in Anchorage, you can either get a hotel room there in town if you arrive late at night or head to grocery store to get your food and supplies for the race.  

This is super important because once you’re out of the Anchorage area, there are really no supermarkets to speak of.  

There are small convenience stores for snacks and water but that’s about it.  So make sure you get all your supplies in Anchorage for your 3 days of the race. 

If you didn’t rent a cooler or two from Alaska4x4 Rentals, there are a couple other places you can rent those and other camping gear in Anchorage. 

REI in Anchorage is a good source and they also have a huge selection of outerwear and camping gear.

Pre Race Dinner/Briefing and Lodging - Denali135

The pre-race dinner and briefing is happening at the Gakona Lodge in Gulkana which is about a 3.5hr drive from Anchorage Intl Airport.  The drive is spectacular and on a well maintained highway with convenience stores located every hour or so.  

The Gakona Lodge is the last historic Alaskan Roadhouse still operated and has a lot of rustic Alaskan character.  The lodge has a dining room as well as a bar with bar type food.  They have rooms in the lodge…some with private baths and some that share a bath.  There are also some cabins.  The Gakona lodge is located approx. 1hr from the starting line/start of the Denali Highway. 

The mandatory pre race briefing will be held at the Gakona Lodge at 4pm on July 3rd and an early buffet style dinner will also be served there at that time.

Additional/optional lodging can be arranged at Denali Highway Cabins. http://www.denalihwy.com/
They are located across the road from the starting line at the start of the Denali Highway…which is approx. 1 hour from the Gakona Lodge.

More lodging can be found within an hours drive of the Gakona Lodge or Starting line by searching Airbnb for the Gulkana or Paxson areas.

Finally, some runners and crews may wish to rent a small RV instead of staying in lodging.  There are several RV and Camper rental agencies in Anchorage.  Just make sure you let them know that you plan to use the RV/Camper on the Denali Highway.  A fun option if you are planning of having several crewpersons/pacers on your crew.  Smaller campers easier to manage than huge ones.

Denali135 Race Start

The Denali135 starts at the intersection of Richardson Highway and Denali Highway.  This is approx. 1hr North of the Gakona Lodge.  The Denali Highway Cabins are located across the road. 

There are no supplies or provisions here. None…Zilch. 

The Denali135 will start at 4am on July 4th.  You will see signs for the race start parking area.

Pre Race Briefing and Lodging - Denali100k

The pre-race lunch and briefing is happening at the Alpine Creek Lodge at mile 68 of the Denali Highway which is about a 5.5hr drive from Anchorage Intl Airport.  The lodge is in the middle of the highway so you can drive in from the eastern end of the highway where it intersects with the Richardson Highway or from the western end where it intersects with the Parks Highway.  The approach from the west is likely faster and you’ll be driving the course that you’ll be racing on.  A little course knowledge never hurts!

Denali100k Runners and their crews will be required to attend the pre-race meeting and dinner at the Alpine Creek Lodge at mile 68 of the Denali Highway at 1pm on July 4th.

Lodging is available at Alpine Creek Lodge and they have some room for RVs and tent camping.  Really reasonable rates, particularly for RVs and tents.  The lodge will have a 4th of July party going on so the atmosphere will be great!

Jennifer and Claude at Alpine Creek will make you feel right at home!

OTHER LODGING OPTIONS

There are additional camping and lodging options along the Denali Highway including the Tangle Lakes Inn at mile 20, the Maclaren River Lodge at mile 42, and the Clearwater Lodge at mile 82.  Camping is available at Brushkana Creek at mile 104.

Finally, some runners and crews may wish to rent a small RV instead of staying in lodging.  There are several RV and Camper rental agencies in Anchorage.  Just make sure you let them know that you plan to use the RV/Camper on the Denali Highway.  A fun option if you are planning of having several crewpersons/pacers on your crew.  Smaller campers easier to manage than huge ones.

Denali100k Race Start

The Denali100k starts at the Alpine Creek Lodge at mile 68 of the Denali Highway.  

There are VERY limited supplies or provisions here. Be sure to have all of the provisions you need before you get to the Denali Highway!

The Denali100k will start at 2pm on July 4th.  The pre-race briefing will also be at the Alpine Creek Lodge at 1pm.

Denali Highway Lodges

There are four lodges located across the entire Denali Highway.  Most have small restaurants and limited lodging (These fill up really early in the year) and gasoline.  Crews should always top off their gas tanks and buy drinking water if need be at any opportunity since the lodges are so spread out. 

They are….
Tangle Lakes Lodge at Mile 20
McClaren River Lodge at Mile 42
Alpine Creek Lodge at Mile 68 (Race Staff HQ for much of the race)
Clearwater Creek Lodge at Mile 82
**  All distances are from the Paxson side of the Denali Highway.

Race Finish

The Denali135 & Denali100k Finish line is located just to the east of the town of Cantwell.  The finish line is located right on the Denali Highway and can’t be missed. 

There is parking there for crew vehicles and campers.  Once runners have finished their run, they can proceed to their lodging. 

All Denali100k runners must complete the course no later than 2pm on July 5th.
All Denali135 runners must complete the course no later than 4am on July 6th.

Post Race Lodging/Award Banquet

The post race award banquet is at being held at the Denali Education Center on July 6th at 5pm.  The Denali Education Center is located approx. 25 minutes away from the race finish line.

We have blocked 10 rooms at the Denali Education for our runners and their crews and we may have access to additional rooms.  These rooms are in small cabins and each cabin has two rooms.  Each room has two double beds and a private bath for each room.

Depending on how fast you anticipate completing the 135 mile course, you may want to reserve a room for both July 5th and 6th (For the speedy runners) and at least the 6th for the normal humans.

Room reservations for the Denali Education Center are made through us (Spirit Trips).  Rooms are $265/night.
Email:  Sean@Spirit-Trips.com  to reserve those rooms.

The post race dinner is included in each runners registration fee and additional meal tickets can be purchased on the Denali135 & Denali100k Ultrasignup.com pages.

The post race award banquet is located at the Denali Education Center 100 yards from the cabins.  There is a larger commercial lodge located immediately adjacent to the Denali Education Center as well.
www.Denaliparkvillage.com

Other lodging options can be found within 20-30 minutes of The Denali Education Center.

Post-Race Activity Options

Runners and their crews have a wide variety of activity options available after the race has been run.  The entrance to Denali National Park is right there and there is superb hiking, rafting, sightseeing located therein or at the entrance to the park. 

Another fun trip is 2 1/2hr drive south (towards Anchorage) to the funky historic town of Talkeetna.  All sorts of fun activities can be had there.  Rafting, fishing, flightseeing up to Denali and the surrounding Alaska Range Mountains, Gold Panning, and Quad trail riding, ziplining, Brewery Tour…etc, etc. The best bet to find lodging there is to search online for Talkeetna Lodging or try Airbnb.  It’s a great little town with lots to do and a fun place to celebrate with your crew post-race.  Its also only 2hrs drive back to Anchorage.

Just south of Anchorage along the scenic Turnagin Arm drive is Girdwood which is home to some fun activities.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a great place to see some Alaska Wildlife up close and learn about the amazing animals that call Alaska home.
Another highly recommended activity is a day trip with renowned adventure guide service
Ascending Path.
Their guides will take you sea kayaking on a glacial lake, hiking on a glacier or several other activities.  The owner and his wife are long time friends and Denali climbing partners from way back.  Worth the trip.

If you have more time, heading further south to the Kenai Peninsula and Homer is highly recommended.

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.

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.

Please visit the following pages for Very Important Event Details

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