The White Rim Road is a beautiful, 100-mile jeep road (with 7 miles of pavement) in the Islands in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah. The "White Rim in a Day" (WRAID) has been a classic for mtn bikers since it was first done (probably) by Buzz Burrell in the mid-1980s.
Paul Pomeroy and Emily Loman ran the White Rim Road in a single push of around 28 hours in Fall of 2002. Emily had an injury flare up during the run, so their time was slow. Paul went back again on April 12-13, 2003, and did the loop in 21h57m. Peter Bakwin lowered the time to 18h43m22s on December 2-3, 2006 (report). Charles Corfield started the run with Bakwin, but was stopped at 50 miles due to a foot injury. Charles has completed the loop on 4 occasions since then, in December 2007 (don't know the time), March 2008 (19h51m), December 2008 (19-20h), and December 2013 (don't know his time). On two of his trips Charles carried a GPS and measured the total distance at 99.79 and 99.81 miles, respectively. Justin Snow measured the route at 99.95 miles by a GPS carried on his mountain bike in April 2009.
Kelly Agnew claimed the FKT of 17h47m25s on March 8, 2014. However, in a shocking development Agnew was caught cheating in a 24 hour race at Across the Years. This article details the incident, and casts very serious doubts on Agnew's FKT claims as well. The author states "On his blog Kelly claimed to have set 3 FKTs. As I am writing this article, he has deleted all of those posts (as well as reports for all his races that seem suspicious). As I am writing this it seems as though Kelly is busy deleting blog posts." We are therefore retracting Agnew's White Rim FKT.
Jennilyn Eaton set the women's FKT of 21h52m33s, Nov. 9, 2013. Her report is here. Eaton was paced the entire distance by Craig Lloyd, who posted a report here. She started at Mineral Bottom and ran clockwise.
In 2006, mountain biking legend John Stamstad ran the White Rim completely unsupported (and completely under the radar), as reported here: “I recently ran the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park – 100 miles of desert – and did it self supported. I used a modified baby jogger and had to carry 50 pounds of water, plus food and gear. It took a total of 27 hours. I believe this is the first time anyone has run it without a support crew or aid." Kelly Agnew claimed to have repeated the unsupported run in 21h52m12s on October 18, 2014, but given his proven record of cheating (see above) we discount this claim as well.
Here's what Corfield said about the WR after his December 2013 run:
"I ... start at the bottom of the Shafer Trail, to get the biggest climb out of the way early. At the top of Shafer, head north on the park entrance road until the turn off to Dead Horse Point, go straight ahead and watch the mile markers on the east side of the road. A little after the 10 mile post, is a left turn which is the dirt road to Mineral Bottom. Nowadays it is well maintained by the gas-well contractors. At runner's mile 26 you will descend to the Green River turn left at the junction near the bottom. This puts you on the White Rim trail which will take you all the way round and back to the bottom of the Shafter Trail. This route is bang on the nail 100 miles around (plus/minus GPS error). The running is straight forward, but there are a few points to bear in mind for a crew vehicle. In winter the Park Service closes the gates at the top and bottom of the Shafter Trail. When they are open you can drive up and down Shafer. When they are closed you will need to come in on the Potash Road (rugged 4WD vehicle advised), drop off the runners, drive back out the Potash Road, come in on the park entrance road (Rte 313) and intercept the runners at one of the junctions: Mineral Bottom road, or Dead Horse Point road. Once you are on the Mineral Bottom road the runners and vehicle follow the same route whatever time of year. There are a few places which can be difficult for vehicles when there is ice or when it has rained and the bentonite clay turns slick: a narrow ledge over the Green just after mile 30; the steep ramps at Hardscrabble; and the steep ramps at Murphy Hogback. If there is snow/ice, bring chains for all four wheels. Allow extra time in your estimates for winter conditions, since you will have more things to take care of on the way around."
In March 2019, the term "FKT" exploded into the mountain bike scene when Payson McElveen received significant publicity for riding it in 5hr 45m 16s, which was eclipsed by 4 minutes less than a month later. (We do not track cycling FKTs, and only note this because the White Rim is primarily a 4wd and mtb route, and this is part of the lore).
September 2020 Route Update: After many decades of use, the route has evolved to cut off the northern-most point and thus about 1.5mi of pavement, as shown here. Kevin Hadfield used this cut-off in his recent FKT and is probably the first person to do so. Future FKT'ers can do either, noting the cut-off may save up to 2 miles.
Jason Hardrath suggests a duathlon variation: The WRR Duathlon is one lap on bike, one lap on foot, the attempter may decide which direction they go and in what order (ie bike first or run first).
Heading out on a White Rim Loop tomorrow 02/18/2020... It'll be unsupported and it's super last minute (I don't even have a planned take off time yet!!). I'm just trying to take advantage of a change in my work schedule. Weather looks good so we'll see how it goes.
SPOT link is here: https://maps.findmespot.com/s/302R
All the best,
Just now at 191/313 junction... I should be getting going before 2:30 PM today.
If things don't go too downhill by next weekend, (which is highly likely) I am planning to attempt an FKT unsupported (bc social distancing) on the White Rim Road. I have a spot tracker and can send FKT guys the link to track. Thanks, all. We shall see. Jennilyn and friends that have done this before me, nice work!
Ha! Late seeing this but yeah shit changed in a day. Anyway, needless to say I didn’t go. No one went anywhere. Congrats to recent female supported FKT. Still interested in an unsupported one. Trying to find the right time. Great work, everyone.