(South Pass City, WY) – Run the Red Desert and Wyoming Public Lands Day events took place in South Pass City and the Northern Red Desert on September 25th.
These events on Saturday were hosted by the Wyoming Outdoor Council (WOC), NOLS, and Wyoming Wilderness Association (WWA).
Run the Red offers three races including 100k, 50k, and half marathon; a combined total of 141 runners participated this year from over 30 states. The exact number of visitors to SPC that day is not known, however, it was well over 400.
This was also the first year that the 100k course was utilized and had 16 runners take on the challenge with 15 finishing. This ultra marathon gained some national attention earlier this year when it was listed by the Running Gear Lab as one of “The 9 Most Popular Ultra Marathons you Should Know About in 2021.”
The 100k was first offered in 2019, explained John Burrows, WOC Conservation Advocate, however, weather that year hampered using the course so runners ran the 50k course twice.
The race is intended to introduce folks to the Red Desert in a way that they may not ever experience it, said Matt Cuzzocreo, WWA BLM Wildlands Organizer.
Educating people about the Red Desert and what it has to offer is the main reason for this annual race and public lands events.
The Red Desert is ancestral land for the Eastern Shoshone, Shoshone-Bannock, and Ute Tribes, shared Yufna Soldier Wolf, WOC Wind River Organizer. It is important to recognize that it was first tribal lands and then public lands. Run the Red brings awareness to the Red Desert which helps advocate for and protect it.
At SPC, the Big Wind Singers and the Wind River Dancers kicked off the main celebration followed by members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes who spoke about the cultural significance of the Red Desert.
Rep. Andy Schwartz, who was key in creating Wyoming Public Lands Day in 2019, was in attendance at the event and received an award, John shared.
South Pass City was praised by sponsors for hosting the community events that day.
“Couldn’t have asked for a better venue,” Matt said.
Several new race records were set this year, you can view the race results at runthereddesert.com under “2021 Updates and Announcements” on the home page.