Long-distance runners to compete on eastern Idaho highways

Runners will push the limits of physical endurance this weekend on a pair of long-distance races that will traverse state highways in eastern Idaho.

A 100-mile race begins in West Yellowstone, Mont., at 6 a.m. Saturday, and proceeds westbound on U.S. 20 to the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway and then south to Idaho highways 47, 32 and 33, terminating in Driggs. A shorter race of 50 miles will begin at upper Mesa Falls at 9 a.m. Saturday and follow the same course to the finish line in Driggs.

Contestants will run on or along the left side of the highways, facing traffic as prescribed by Idaho law.

Support crews will assist runners as needed. Aid stations and time checkpoints will be located every few miles. Motorists should watch for runners and support personnel throughout the course and to be courteous if encountering them on the highway. Health-care professionals patrolling the route will include an emergency medical technician and a nurse.

The longer race attracted 34 entrants and 17 are registered for the 50-mile run. Runners are from around the world, including one of the favorites, Jhorge Pacheo, from Los Angeles.

Known as the Yellowstone-Teton Endurance Races, the grueling athletic competitions were introduced last year. Entrance fees are $185 and $85, respectively.

Top runners in the 100-mile race are expected to reach Driggs within 17 hours, and runners in the 50-mile race are expected to begin arriving in town in 6.5 hours. Between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., runners and pacers are required to wear a reflective vest with a flashing red light on the front and back.

ITD requires organizers of large running and cycling events on Idaho highways to obtain a special-event permit from district offices. That requirement helps to ensure that events receive driver notification and appropriate signs.

The transportation department allows organizations to use state highways in a save manner to further business/agency objectives. ITD’s mission is safety, mobility and economic opportunity for Idaho residents and visitors.

Published 10-5-2012