Unique beauty, amazing wildlife and profound solitude – all the elements of true adventure – reward racers willing to brave the strenuous Desert RATS journey. Vast landscape and ancient obstacles combine to create the rugged and stunning beauty of the Kokopelli Trail. Desert RATS is more than just a race. It is not only a journey through true backcountry desert but within yourself. While some will race, most are there to test their mental and physical limits. Don’t expect to set personal records for the distance you’ll cover; you will need to pace yourself for the heat and terrain. You must have patience and grit in order to not be fighting your own frustration. The race is about the experience, pushing yourself and making friends along the way.
At Desert RATS, the adventure is the goal. It’s about reaching deep within yourself, adapting to adversity and overcoming the challenges in front of you. Those who enjoy Desert RATS the most come into the experience prepared and willing to be flexible in every way.
The racers who truly enjoy the event and gain from the experience are those who appreciate the beauty of the land, the camaraderie of other adventurers and the thrill of relaxing in the Colorado River at the end of the day. This adventure is not for everyone. It’s not an expedition to survive or a race to win, it’s an experience to live.
While every racer’s week is different, the common experience is the grand scale of the event. The heat is extreme, the beauty is vast and the friendships run deep. Our hope is that as you travel this incredible landscape you will discover a piece of yourself.
After a challenging day on the trails, racers sit down to a hot meal and share stories around a campfire. The course is a carefully laid out, truly authentic, wilderness experience. Bathe in the Colorado river, sleep in tents and run across the amazing desert landscape while dining on delicious meals and mingling with friends that will last a lifetime.
Now in our 17th year, we are the longest-running stage race in North America. We have a full medical staff of doctors specializing in expedition medicine, along with experienced base camp and aid station crews that can’t be matched. We designed the toughest race possible then put together the infrastructure and a caring professional crew to get you safely to the finish line.
Racers will run from Grand Junction, Colorado to the world-famous Moab, Utah along the beautiful 143-mile Kokopelli trail. Distances will range from day to day between 9 and 42 miles. This is a grueling event that will challenge the most seasoned athletes, yet it is designed so that less experienced ultrarunners can train for and successfully complete the course. The entire length of the trail is stunningly beautiful with jagged canyons and breathtaking vistas.
Racers will rendezvous in Moab, UT on Sunday to receive their Expedition Journals with detailed course directions and final race instructions. Early on Monday, runners will be transported to the start line near Grand Junction and head off for the first of six days. Each day runners will be greeted at the finish line and directed to the tent city where they can mingle, access their gear, enjoy a hot meal provided by Gemini Adventures and rest up for the next day. Each morning runners will rise for a light breakfast, also provided by Gemini Adventures, and an early morning start of the next stage from the site of the tent city.
Each night the camp buzzes with excitement as the day’s results and overall standings are posted and the nightly meeting is held to make announcements.
Runners finishing the entire 143-mile course will arrive in Moab, UT with the satisfaction of having completed the ultimate adventure running race. That night, all runners completing the entire course within the established rules will be presented with a finisher’s award at a memorable post-race part, open for all runners and their families.