On May 2, 2009, a large group mostly from Boulder, CO, tackled the Trans-Zion. 14 runners started at the Lee Pass TH, and 3 at the East Entrance. The west-to-east runners had support at the Hop Valley TH and at the Grotto, but the east-to-west runners were unsupported. Conditions were excellent, with generally cool and overcast weather but little rain, and many water sources running. The Telephone Canyon Trail was closed, so all runners used the West Rim Trail (as did Campbell & Meltzer). All-star backpacker turned champion ultrarunner Andy Skurka ran east-to-west (unsupported) in a new record time of 9h27m. Ever the trip planner, Skurka has detailed information about the route on his website, including a map set and databook. He also posted a nice YouTube video & spectacular photos from the trip on his site. Other finishers of the Trans-Zion that day were Jason Chapman, Greg Poettgen, Peter Bakwin (10h29m, west-to-east), Carol Gerber (13h00m, west-to-east, women's FKT), John Prater, Mark Oveson, Eric Lee, Paul Grimm, Stephanie Ehret, Kari Fraser, and Chris Gerber (the last 5 also did side trips to Kolob Arch and Angel's Landing). Dan Brillon, Jonas Fast, Kristen Alvarez, Louisa Jenkins and Tressa Breindel started at Lee Pass and stopped at the Grotto.
Here's Carol's TR:
My time was 13 hours (exactly, I think!). I took off at 5:20ish a.m. with 8 other runners. When we were running we were going at a good pace, but we stopped a lot it seemed to take pictures and admire the views. We also took the 1/2 mile Kolob Arch detour. When Peter, Dan & Jonas caught us, Chris mentioned that he didn't think we'd get caught within 10 miles [Peter, Dan & Jonas had started about an hour later than the others]. I looked at my watch and it was 8 a.m. and that meant we had only gone 10 miles in 2h40m! I told Chris we needed to pick-up the pace and he said our pace put us at a 15 hour finish. I decided I didn't want to be out there for 15 hours, so I took off and tried to keep Peter, Dan & Jonas in my sights. I ran solo until mile 15, where Mark's parents provided water. Peter, Dan & Jonas were there. I quickly filled my water bottles and said I'd try to keep up with them until they caught Mark & John. Peter, Dan & Jonas dropped me within 10-15 minutes, so I followed the map and ran solo to mile 37 - The Grotto. It was absolutely wonderful to be out there running by myself. There were quite a few backpackers and I met Andy, Jason & Greg going the opposite direction at one of the water places, so we chatted a bit. I didn't expect to see anyone else that I knew once I got to mile 37, so I went to the restroom, filled my water bottles and ate some food. I didn't see the trail, so I asked a park ranger where it was. He wasn't familiar with Zion... he was a Grand Canyon park ranger, so he wasn't much help. I started walking toward where the shuttles pick folks up to ask someone and low and behold there's Mark's parents and Mark! He was just leaving, so I asked if I could join he and John. We caught up with John at the next shuttle stop and the 3 of us started the climb up the East Rim Trail. Part way up, Mark suffered from dehydration and slowed down a lot. John and I kept going, but we kept Mark in our sights. John and I were talking non-stop catching-up on things, as he and I had met earlier this winter on a snowshoe trek up Quandary peak. We got water at the top of the climb. Mark was feeling better and moving faster at that point. Mark insisted that he was fine and that John and I should run to the finish, which we did. It was a great descent and I finished at 6:20 p.m. Mark's parents were there and it was great to see Dixie walking up the trail! I knew I was close to the finish when I saw her! Mark's parents gave me a ride back to The Watchman campground, which was great as I didn't want to hitchhike or run! Great run overall - great weather - overcast with a nice breeze. Great scenery! -- Carol Gerber