According to endurance runner Ian Torrence, trail running has become increasingly popular as athletes head to the woods to cover ground instead of city streets. This weekend, Sept. 24 and 25, more than 125 people are signed up to run the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100-mile solo ultra, the 100-mile relay, and the 55K.
Babbitt Ranches understands this craving for high country pine forests and vast rolling grasslands. In fact, it is the site of three endurance races in northern Arizona: the SP Crater Marathon on the CO Bar Ranch in the spring; Gaspin’ in the Aspen, which starts and ends at Arizona Nordic Village in the summer; and, 20 miles of the Stagecoach Ultra, which crosses the CO Bar north of the San Francisco Peaks.
“We encourage people to come out and appreciate the land through different recreational activities, says Babbitt Ranches President and General Manager Bill Cordasco. “As more of us participate with nature and the outdoors, it’s only natural to want to care about the land and develop what we call an Outdoor Recreation Ethics Attitude.”
Torrence says runners in the Stagecoach Ultra share the trail with cattle, horses, deer and antelope and at times can hear the distant bugling of elk. “By the time they reach the Moqui Stage Aid Station (near mile 60), the sun has set, but the moon has taken over making even colors visible without the use of headlamps. After running across the wide-open spaces of Babbitt Ranches, it is here at the southern boundary of the Kaibab National Forest that competitors return to the trees and the single-track Arizona Trail for the remainder of their 100-mile journey.”
Babbitt Ranches, one of the race’s sponsors, will again be hosting the Cedar Ranch Camp, Tubbs Camp and Oil Line Aid Stations.
For more information about the Stagecoach Ultra, visit www.aztrail.org/ultrarun/.