The Valkyrie Full-Course Relay spans over 100 miles of Durango's spectacular city and naturescapes. The event features teams of specialized competitors exchanging between trail running, mountain biking, stand-up paddle boarding, open water swimming, road cycling, canoe/kayak paddling, and road running. Ultra athletes can compete as single "Ultra Heptathletes" or as Ultra Duos and Trios.
The journey kicks off with the Trail Run (TRL), commencing in the early hours at 6:00 am. Runners will set out from Santa Rita Park, crossing Hwy 3 to access the Horse Gulch Trailhead. The 9.6-mile course follows Rocky Road to Extended Ridge to Sugar trail to Cuchillo's, down Horse Gulch trail and back to Santa Rita Park. With the dawn breaking and headlamps lighting the way, participants are treated to an invigorating experience in the embrace of the crisp morning air.
The Mountain Bike (MTB) leg takes place at the local favorite, Twin Buttes Trail System. Bikers embark on their ride, spurred on by the signal from the course referee, who awaits confirmation from Santa Rita that the TRL counterpart has concluded their stage. For those taking on the full course, the challenge comprises two 8.3-mile laps, culminating in an impressive total of 16.6 miles.
Navigating the tranquil north end of Lake Nighthorse, the Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) course follows the wakeless buoys out, and returns by following the coastline. Against the serene backdrop, participants complete a total of 3.1 miles, skillfully mastering the waters with their paddle boards.
The Open Swimmers (SWM) stage beckons adventurers to tackle the wakeless waters at the north end of Lake Nighthorse. On an out-and-back journey, swimmers conquer a 1.2-mile course, basking in the beauty of their surroundings.
Road Cycle (RCY) enthusiasts take on a 46.2-mile route, seamlessly connecting Lake Nighthorse to the lovely Animas River Valley. Full course racers go all the way to Shalona hill to Trimble Lane to CR 203 to tag off the next racer. This leg serves as a testament to the resilience of both athletes and the region's breathtaking terrain.
As the baton of determination passes from the RCY counterpart, paddlers step into the spotlight. They must first warm up with a 0.4-mile run from the transition zone to the river bank for the Canoe/Kayak (PAD) stage. Launching from the banks of Willow Bend, the current-assisted 8.6-mile voyage along the Animas River unfolds, ending with the Smelter rapid section just before the Santa Rita take-out.
Finally, the Road Run (RDR) leg, encompassing 16.6 miles, invites the Full Relay participants to enjoy the scenic Animas River Trail. Starting and finishing at Santa Rita Park (see map for details), the journey concludes triumphantly at the whitewater park's Finish Line.