The Valkyrie Full-Course Relay spans almost 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 Full Relay kicks off with the Trail Run (TRL) at 6:00 am. Runners will set out from Santa Rita Park, crossing Hwy 3 to access the Horse Gulch Trailhead. The 9.3-mile course follows Rocky Road to Extended Ridge to Sugar trail to Cuchillo's. Take Meadow Loop back to Horse Gulch trail and back to Santa Rita Park. With headlamps lighting the way, participants reach the top of the ridge just as dawn is breaking over the Animas River Valley.

The Mountain Bike (MTB) leg takes us back to Horse Gulch for a spin or two on the new Mesa Flow trail system. It’s a smooth climb up Mesa Connector, descend on Beginner Flow Trail. Take a left for Meadow Knob Connector to fly down the Intermediate Downhill trail. If you have a chance to do a practice run before the race, please do so… get a feel for how much air you might be getting on the jumps, so you aren’t surprised! For those taking on the full course challenge, you will head back up Mesa Connector to do another 5-mile lap. The total for the full course is a fun and fast 14.9 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. There are red buoys to guide you as well as a secret phrase you must repeat back to the course referee to ensure you paddled through all required inlets. Against the serene backdrop, participants complete a total of 3.1 miles, skillfully mastering the water, terrain (and trees!) with their paddle boards.

The Open Swimmers (SWM) tackle the wakeless waters at the north end of Lake Nighthorse. An out-and-back journey, swimmers conquer a 1.2-mile course by staying left of the buoys on the way out and the way back. Paddle board support teammates will follow their swimmer a few yards to their left.

Road Cycle (RCY) enthusiasts take on a 41.9-mile route, from Lake Nighthorse to Wildcat Canyon, up and over Durango to the lovely Animas River Valley. Full course racers go all the way to Baker’s Bridge, back to Trimble Lane, to CR 203, to Oxbow Park to tag off the next racer. Cyclists can take a quick swim in the river and then leisurely follow their teammate along the river trail all the way to the finish line.

PDL – this is the best part. The river is slow, clear and picturesque at this time of year and at this time of day. Though the river is low and “non-threatening” the rocks pose a challenge. After a mile or two of flat water, you need to use your eyes and river skills to navigate the boulders to find the channel. The course finishes at Santa Rita whitewater park. In low water, enter the Smelter rapids section from the far, left side. Pay close attention to the takeout, tag the runner, and then walk up to the finish line for the party.

Finally, the Road Run (RDR) leg. Head south on the scenic Animas River trail and over to La Posta Road to cross Dallabetta Bridge (at Home Depot). Back upriver to cross the foot bridge, through the Valkyrie party, all the way to Oxbow and back again for a full 16.6 miles. (Runners can split the run in half at the pickleball courts at Scheider park.) Finishing at Santa Rita Park (see map for details), the runner gets to be the hero that brings it all home for a triumphant finish.

The Valkyrie Relay