All posts by maryjparkin


As noted before, this year’s ECM races are being run in conjunction with a new event,  Escalante Heritage Days.  Because of this, the pre-race dinner will be more along the lines of typical southern Utah fare than the traditional pasta dinner.

That said, I want to let those seeking pasta or another type of sit-down pre-race dinner know that there are several options around Escalante.  A list follows the Heritage Days dinner information.

The Heritage Days dinner will take place at the Escalante City Park picnic pavilion, 100 North Center Street from about 3:30 pm to 9:00 pm.  The dinner is being catered by the Boots Café, it will be very informal, and the cost is $8/plate.  Here’s the scoop:

Friday night food –

Entrees or sandwiches:  smoked meatloaf, pulled pork, cheesesteak (pick one)

Sides:  coleslaw, macaroni salad, baked beans, and maybe mashed potatoes (pick two)

Drinks:  water or Coke products ($1)

Saturday morning food – For friends and families of runners looking for sustenance on race day morning, breakfast will also be served on the picnic pavilion.  Price will depend on what you choose.  It will include breakfast burritos, granola and yogurt, biscuits and gravy, and sandwiches to go, along with water, coffee, and juices.

Post-race food for runners – fruit, boiled eggs, homemade pumpkin pie, bagels, water, and lemonade

Now for the pre-race dinner options.  From west to east, these restaurants are all found on Highway 12 (Main Street in Escalante).  They’re generally open until 9 p.m. for dinner, although you might want to call or google to make sure.

North Creek Grill – American, pizza, vegetarian friendly — 3680 W Highway 12, 435-616-4999

Devil’s Garden Grill – American, Southwestern, vegetarian friendly — 530 W Main St, 435-826-4800

Circle D Eatery – American, vegetarian friendly — 485 W Main St, 435-826-4125

4th West Pub — fresh pub food — 425 W Main St, 435-826-4525

Escalante Outfitters Café – American, pizza, vegetarian friendly — 310 W Main St, 435-826-4266

Escalante Mercantile – American, vegetarian/vegan friendly, groceries — 210 W Main St, 435-826-4114

Canyon Country Lodge – Mexican — 760 E Highway 12, 435-826-4545

We hope you find something you enjoy!



Today we’re in the middle of a cool, rainy spell in the Escalante Canyons, and the clouds are hanging low over the Boulder Mountains and the Grand Staircase cliffs.  This is welcome, because we’ve had such a dry year here.  But importantly for next Saturday’s races, it bodes well for the storm front to have passed, leaving in its wake a freshened landscape and even purer air than usual, if that’s possible.

I just checked the 10-day forecast for Escalante, and while this rain is likely to continue for another day or two, by next weekend we’re promised sunny skies with some high clouds.  And temperatures will rise a bit, to highs in the high 50s/low 60s F — it will be cool at the half marathon and especially marathon start lines, though (low 30s for the marathon), so don’t forget some warm outerwear.  We’ll have clothing bags in your race packets for anything you want to send ahead to the finish line, and we’ll have extra clothing bags at the first few aid stations of each race to take care of any clothing or items you want to shed after you get moving.

Should be absolutely beautiful here next weekend!


A week out, I know from personal experience that this is when you want to firmly confirm the details on packet pickup and race logistics.  I’ve updated the Race Info page, but to focus on packet pickup …

  • This year, you can pick up your race packets – which will include the race bib, chip, safety pins, course details, and a few goodies – at ESCALANTE CITY PARK. We’ll have a table set up next to the picnic pavilion from 4 pm to 7 pm.
  • If you are unable to pick up your race packet during this time, please contact us via We’re happy to make specific arrangements, including leaving the packet at your place of lodging in Escalante or Boulder or providing it to you the morning of the race.  If you elect to pick it up the morning of the race, we ask that you either take the shuttle or arrive at least ½ hour before the race start time.

And about the pre-race dinner ….

  • We encourage you to join us for a pre-race dinner, which we’re offering in conjunction with the Escalante Heritage Days Festival this year. I’ll post the menu this weekend.  Our understanding is that food will be available between 4 pm and 10 pm, but I’m working to confirm specifics for runners — look for another post by tomorrow!  Please note that we have less ability this year than in the past to predict how many folks might want to participate, so earlier could be better than later.  There are also restaurants in Escalante and Boulder that can provide sustenance; these restaurants generally close around 9 pm.  The one grocery store in the area, Griffin’s Grocery at the intersection of Main Street and Center Street in Escalante, closes at 7 pm this time of year.
  • More to come!


We are honored to report that this year we’re holding the Escalante Canyons Marathon races in concert with the inaugural Escalante Heritage Days.  What this means for our runners and families and friends is that the pre-race dinner and registration will be combined with Heritage Days events at Escalante City Park, and there will be more events to participate in on both pre-race and race day.  As importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to get a taste of our local history and culture along with soaking in the landscape.

A personal note:  When I moved here in 2009 after almost 30 years of living in Boston, I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in to this small southern Utah town.  I immediately discovered that this is one of the most open-hearted communities I could have hoped for, and I also learned about the pre-history, pre-pioneer history, and pioneer history of this amazing region.  Heritage Days will celebrate, with fun and games, the Escalante community.

I’m not a blog expert, and having spent too much time just now trying to post the Escalante Heritage Days flyer, I’m now resorting to sharing its content sans graphics.  Here’s the deal:

On pre-race day, from 4-10 pm, Heritage Days will be offering:

  • Food (including a pre-race dinner)
  • Games
  • Crafts booths
  • Yoga sessions at 5 and 7 pm
  • Live music

On race day, Heritage Days will offer:

  • A 10 am yoga session
  • More food
  • Booths and games

We’re very excited about sharing this day with running folks from near and far!  More details to follow, especially regarding packet pickup details.  I’ll also get a more tech-savvy person to help with posting the Heritage Days flyer on this site in the next day or so.


With October 13 and the Escalante Canyons races approaching, we join our runners in anticipation of a wonderful event.  Forging ahead, though, I want to share an experience we had in the aftermath of last year’s Escalante Canyons Marathon.  As always, race preparations fell on the shoulders of a small group of local volunteers, and, as we do every year, we scrambled to ensure that runners would have the best race experience we could offer.

To achieve that, one member of our race committee put in an especially strenuous effort.  After race day, we noticed that he seemed exceptionally fatigued, then the shivering started.  We finally realized that it wasn’t simply a matter of over-exertion, and two days after the race he was Life Flighted to our regional hospital with a life-threatening diagnosis owing to severe dehydration – he’d been so busy the week before the race that he’d forgotten to drink anything.

A week in intensive care was followed by several weeks in the hospital and rehab before he finally rebounded.  Needless to say, this year others are stepping in to prevent him from repeating that episode, although he’s still working hard in support of the ECM.

I’m sharing this with you for two reasons.  First, hydrate!  Second, we want you to know that even after last year’s scare, none of us – not even our Life Flightee – considered discontinuing the Escalante Canyons races.  We love this event, we love seeing you all cross that finish line, and we love the way it brings our community together.  If we’re going to fall in the process, we’re going to fall forward, as you do with each of your running footfalls to go the distance.

We got off to a slow start this year, but please know that we’re as dedicated as ever to making this one of – if not THE – most memorable races you’ll ever run.

Hydrate and carry on!


I know, you can’t believe it, either.  The most beautiful thing is that we still have folks registering, indicating either a lot of thought or a lot of spontaneity.  Either way, we’re so happy to have both the early birds and the second brood joining us this year.

Don’t know about you all, but this year has been a great challenge for your not-so-esteemed race organizers.  More on that in the next post.  This is just to let you know that we’ll be posting lots of info as you make your way to the start line.  We can’t wait to see you there!!


At 7:23 this morning we witnessed an exquisite Escalante sunrise, and I hope it will be like this at the marathon start line on Saturday.  High clouds, all the warm colors against a blue background, cool and energizing.

Temperatures are likely to be cool for both starts.  We’re putting a generously-sized clothing bag in each race packet, so feel free to wear warm clothing that you can store just before the race starts.  We’ll also have bags at the first three aid stations for the marathon and half marathon (aid stations 1-3 and 7-9) if you need to shed outer (!) clothing along the way.  There will be a finish area map in your race packet that shows the location of the clothing bag pick-up.

Stay warm and carry on!