CASPER, Wyo. — The 2021 “Run the Red” ultra trail races are set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 25 and will feature a number of festivities surrounding the races.
“Runners can choose from three courses (100K, 50K, half marathon) to experience one of the last undeveloped, high-elevation sagebrush ecosystems in the country while celebrating the Red Desert’s history, wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities,” an announcement from the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Wyoming Wilderness Association, and NOLS states. “Run the Red begins in the former gold mining community of South Pass City and takes runners through the Northern Red Desert — a maze of buttes, canyons, badlands, wilderness study areas, and miles of open country.”
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“This is much more than just a race. Run the Red is also a community gathering for the many communities that use and love the desert — hunters, ranchers, horse packers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts — and a chance to connect with the history of the Northern Red Desert. These Indigenous ancestral lands are used by members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes to this day, and the land still bears the wagon ruts of the 500,000 settlers who traversed South Pass on the Oregon, Mormon, and California trails.”
Local music, tours of the Red Desert, speakers, food drinks and advocacy opportunities are also being planned for the event. People can attend the festivities even if they are not participating in the races.
“Run the Red” aims to support efforts to protect the Red Desert. Past race participants described their experience in the release announcing the 2021 event:
“Before the race in 2019, I honestly didn’t even know the Red Desert existed… Last year, I went back with a friend when the race was cancelled [due to COVID-19]. We ran Oregon Buttes, tracing ungulate trails and stopping to marvel at exposed fossils as Continental Peak loomed in the distance. The Red Desert is a wild place, one of few left and one of very few left like it. I’m honored by the privilege to explore the course, and I hope other runners will take that time to understand just how special this land is, and how important it is to protect it.” — Eric Chauvin Quallen, wildlife scientist from Laramie, Wyo.
“Run the Red helped me appreciate this beautiful landscape and all the people who enjoy the desert, and the many forms of recreation that take place here.” — Dylan Bear, teacher from Rock Springs, Wyo.
“It was a humble reminder that we are running on a high-altitude pass used to cross the Continental Divide. The environment is shared by ranchers, outdoor adventure enthusiasts, archeologists, biologists, hunters, and many more. I appreciate the solidarity between these groups in the name of the Red Desert, and its ‘home on the range’ feeling. Run the Red is a great way to recognize the vast landscape and see why this landscape is important for future generations to cherish.” — Taylor Blasko, rancher from Lander, Wyo.
“Run the Red began in 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the Wyoming Wilderness Act, and in 2019 the race celebrated the inaugural Wyoming Public Lands Day,” the release adds. “The event has grown over the years, starting with just 30 runners and growing to over a hundred with multiple courses. Last fall a short film from Patagonia further elevated the race’s profile.”