The first ever Sedona Stumble 5-mile Trail Run, held on Saturday, March 25, went much smoother than the terrain that the 89 runners traversed.
The course was filled with dirt, gravel, uphill and downhill sections, even parts where runners could only run in a single file in one direction.
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“It was flawless, really nothing went wrong,” said Adam Gifford, event organizer and owner of Sedona Running Company. “Two people fell and one drew blood — we call that the red badge of courage.”
The two-lap race began at 9 a.m. on Posse Grounds Road adjacent to the parking lot, and worked its way into the city’s trails to the north. Gifford said he forged about a half mile of trail, too, since the Forest Service’s trails could not be used.
Sedona resident Jesse Martin came in as the top overall runner, crossing the finish line in 34:22. The top female was Jessica Ehrbar of Phoenix, coming in at 40:13.
They and the top male and female from each of eight age groups were presented with trophies adorned with golden toilets. Runners also got free trucker hats.
“It was fun, it was really fast but it was good, there were a couple of big climbs,” said Andrew D’Lugos, who finished second overall in 35:33. “This is awesome. Adam is great from Sedona Running Company, and we’ll try to do it next year.”
Both D’Lugos and Krystin Mullins, the third overall female, agreed that the toilet trophies and hats were their favorite part of the event.
“I try to keep it fun and light,” Gifford said.
Any disappointment to be drawn from the run was the fact it could not accommodate the unexpectedly high demand of people wishing to participate. Runners came from around northern and southern Arizona as well as Utah and Colorado, among other states.
Due to safety concerns, registration was limited to 100.
Registration opened on Feb. 1, and closed about two weeks later, according to Gifford. As a result, both Gifford and Lizzie Ginsberg, recreation and aquatics supervisor at the city of Sedona’s Parks and Recreation Department, confirmed that more than one trail run will be put on in the coming years, the next coming as soon as this fall.
“It went really well, especially for the first year. Everyone seemed happy with the course,” Ginsberg said. “We didn’t think we would close registration three weeks prior [to the race].”
Gifford said the idea for the event was formed a year ago. Parks and Recreation had the idea of the food truck festival that came afterward, so they cooperated to combine the two events. It was a “no brainer” Ginsberg said, to have the first-ever event held on the park’s trails in conjunction with the festival.
The total cost of the event was about $4,000, Gifford said, the majority of which going toward paying Run Flagstaff, which timed the run using electronic chip technology.
Beer was also served, and in order to do so a nonprofit partner was needed, according to Gingsberg, so then the Rotary Club of Sedona Red Rocks joined.
The race was hosted by Sedona Running Company in partnership with the city of Sedona Parks and Recreation Department.