Aravaipa running

MTC Note: The following feature is part of our occasional “destinations” series showcasing out-of-state racing opportunities for Montana runners.
Desert Sunrise - Credit: Aravaipa Running

Come winter, when snow and ice send most of our mountain trails into a five month 

hibernation, the trail running world turns its attention to the Sonoran Desert. Nearly every week this winter national trail running news outlets have reported on feats of endurance taking place under the Arizona sun. Over the past month or so, American runners have set national records in a handful of distances spanning from 100 miles to total distance covered in six days! But not all Arizona trail races are about speed. Many are simply about getting out and enjoying a long trail run under 70-degree sunshine at a time when runners in much of the country are scraping windshields and strapping on Yaktrax.

Hal Koerner running for the win - Credit: Aravaipa Running

The driving force behind the Arizona trail and ultrarunning scene is Aravaipa Running, a race management company owned and operated by the accomplished trail running brothers Jamil and Nick Coury. Thanks to Aravaipa, Montana runners are a cheap direct flight away from extending our season or taking a break from that long trail hibernation. 

According to Jamil Coury—who will be getting a taste of Montana trail running this September by competing in The Rut 50k—when people think of the Phoenix area urban sprawl might come to mind. But the metropolis also offers superb trail running on mountains mixed in and around the city itself and at the seven Maricopa County parks, which Coury considers “one of the largest and best county regional park systems in the world.” Aravaipa hosts 14 events within the parks on their extensive trail systems. He credits the parks for accommodating trail runners and other recreationalists by “constantly building new trails and reworking existing ones to better serve the outdoor community.” 

Coury knows a thing or two about trails. A year out of college he quit a job with an accounting firm to embark on an 800-mile hike of the Arizona trail. Wanderlust led him further afield to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail across Vermont, run a rugged 50K in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and spend time living and running with friends in Silverton, Colorado, and Ashland, Oregon. The experiences planted a seed for Coury. He envisioned building a trail running community in Arizona akin to the thriving one in Ashland where he experienced weekly group runs with like-minded athletes. Needless to say, there was no going back to accounting for Coury who now, by his own admission, lives and breathes trail running.

Credit: Aravaipa Running

In 2009, Coury committed to his dream of starting his own business. “Ultra running, trail running, and getting in the outdoors are my passion,” he explains, “and I wanted to share that with others.” He called his new company Aravaipa (Air-Uh-Vie-Pah) aftera hike he took through the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. He started a winter trail running series in the Phoenix area (after this weekend’s Coldwater Rumble there are two more events on the 2014 winter calendar: Elephant Mountain on February 22 and Mesquite Canyon on March 22) and focused on the community side of things with weekly group runs. According to Coury, “I really want to be a positive part of the trail running community as a whole. I like to be very involved and offer opportunities to share what I love with the community. Creating a community is part of the dream of our company.” In that sense, the weekly group runs are just as much a part of Aravaipa as the exciting competitive races.

In a very short time, the community did blossom. Aravaipa’s schedule now features 21 events of all distances, sizes, and formats: 100-miler on a track, check; nighttime run with headlamp, check; scree-filled vertical kilometer, check. Among the more well-known Aravaipa events is the Javelina Jundred, which was founded in 2003 (Coury began directing it in 2008) and is now the 3rd largest 100 mile trail run in North America. There is also the fixed-time Across The Years, a 1.05 mile loop where runners go as far as they can in 1, 2, 3 or 6 days. Participants literally run into the new year. Joe Fejas, the overall winner of the 2013-2014 edition, covered an astonishing 555 miles! For us mortals, in addition to its winter series, Aravaipa also offers a summer series—yes, summer endurance events in Arizona—made possible only by the fact that all five races in this “Insomniac” series are run at night when the temperature may very well drop to a relatively "cool" 70 degrees.

Credit: Aravaipa Running

While these events seem particularly well-suited for those with masochistic tendencies, Aravaipa offers “options for the whole family” from 4 miles up to 50 miles. A couple of the most unique events on the Aravaipa 2014 schedule include the new Black Canyon Trail 100K, which takes place on a point to point net downhill course on windy single track just outside of Phoenix, and the Crown King Scramble 50K that starts in the desert outside Phoenix and climbs to finish at a saloon in the old mining town of Crown King where a cool Ponderosa Pine forest and much colder beer greet finishers. 

Credit: Aravaipa Running

With Aravaipa’s local races, the Courys strive to balance “good support in terms of aid stations” with “a tough challenge for trail runners all in epic settings.” They also feature unique geographic challenges, such as Goldmine Mountain at the San Tan Scramble, Ford Canyon at Mesquite Canyon, or Thompson Peak at McDowell Mountain Frenzy. When the desert sun becomes too harsh for even Aravaipa Running, the Coury brothers take their show on the road to Silverton, Colorado, where their Silverton Mountain Running organizes three events, including the classic Kendall Mountain Run and the Silverton Alpine Marathon & 50K. Jamil, a two-time Hardrock 100 finisher, fell in love with Silverton while preparing for and competing in the iconic race. This year, he'll likely be crewing little brother Nick who hopes to kiss the rock for a third time. 

Capping off Aravaipa’s busy summer is its place on the US Skyrunning series with the Run Steep Get High Flagstaff races. Rut 50K fans will take interest to learn that these challenging high mountain races will serve as the championship for the inaugural U.S. series. The preliminary statistics for the races tell the tale: the 37K Flagstaff Sky Race will feature  around 9,500 feet of climb and the 56K Flagstaff Ultra Sky Race will feature some 13,000 feet of climb. According to Jamil Coury, “both will end with a brutal ascent up the ski slopes at the Arizona Snowbowl and a screaming descent to the finish." The weekend will also feature the Vertical Kilometer US Championships for 2014. The races will reward the kings and queens of the mountain with a $4,500 prize purse. Coury assures that “it will be a guaranteed beautiful and ass kicker of a course and feature a great post-race party!” Check out the preview video here. 

So if you need an intense dose of February Vitamin D, or are having a little running wanderlust of your own, consider cactus country. Aravaipa Running will reward your efforts with a unique experience while making you feel at home in a mountain running-in-the-desert sort of way.

Credit: Aravaipa Running


My Very Mixed Feelings About Running 100 Miles

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My lungs hurt when I breathed deeply. My knees hurt when I went down a hill. With virtually every foot fall, my feet and quads registered sharp twinges as if being jabbed with a skewer. Even my eyeballs hurt when I blinked, because my eyes were too dry.

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Racing the Dead Horse 50K in Moab on Nov. 21

Why I Raced in 2020

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I’ve felt reluctant to blog about participating in races because of the guilt-tripping and shaming communicated through social media by many runners I respect and admire, who have been criticizing in-person racing during the pandemic.

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I Fell For the Whiskey Basin 88K Trail Run

BySarahonApril 22, 2019inTraining & Racing

OK, so maybe I’m all by myself in a high-desert forest running 56 miles in a giant circle for no better reason than to order a pizza at the end, but at times out there, it feels purposeful and connected to something larger, like …. like … oh Christ I don’t know. Are you there, […]

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Jamil, doubled over wearing a purple sweatshirt from a drop bag; and Schulyer, hunched at the aid station table, trying to choke down some expired snacks during "Mystery Drop Bag Challenge."

Q&A With the Guys Behind Mountain Outpost, the Craziest Sh*t To Happen In Ultrarunning

BySarahonApril 19, 2017inTraining & Racing

“In this sport, there’s so much seriousness, so to see some fun is awesome.” I talked with Jamil Coury, Schuyler Hall and Michael Carson about how they blend comedy and ultrarunning for their YouTube channel.

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Salomon and Aravaipa Running Team Up to Deliver 26 High-quality Races in 2019


OGDEN, Utah (Jan. 16, 2019)– Today, Salomon announces its partnership with Aravaipa Running, the Arizona-based trail and ultra-running event organizer best known for iconic races like the Kendall Mountain Run and the Desert Solstice. Together, the brands will deliver 26 high-quality races with the goal of encouraging, inspiring and growing the trail running communities in the southwest. The sponsorship kicked off Jan. 5 at the San Tan Scramble in Queen Creek, Arizona, which featured 50K, 26K, 17K and 9K distances.

“We are thrilled to partner with a company like Salomon that believes in our community, our culture, and our vision for trail running in the southwestern United States,” says Hayley Pollack, president of Aravaipa Running. “Aravaipa Running is always striving to find partnerships that truly build upon our values and community, and we are so excited to have found just such a collaboration.”

Aravaipa Running is an event production company that specializes in trail and ultra-marathon running events. Founded by Jamil Coury, a renowned ultrarunner, social media personality, and creator of the #RunSteepGetHigh brand, for over a decade the company has built a community of people, events and inspiration around trail and endurance running across Arizona and Colorado. Every year, it hosts nearly 30 races—including several virtual events—with the goal of getting people outside.


“Salomon couldn’t be happier to partner with Aravaipa Running. We look forward to working with their strong running community to inspire runners to play outside and achieve their trail running goals,” says Mike Ambrose, endurance marketing manager for Salomon in the U.S.

For more information, visit:


About Salomon: Born in the French Alps in 1947, Salomon is committed to pushing the boundaries of mountain sports through the creation of innovative equipment that allows people to play, progress and challenge themselves in their chosen outdoor sports. The company produces and sells premium footwear, winter sports and mountaineering equipment, hiking equipment, and apparel specifically designed for all of those disciplines. Products are developed in the company’s Annecy Design Center, where engineers, designers and athletes collaborate to create innovative solutions that continually improve the outdoor experiences of those who see nature as a vast playground.

About Aravaipa Running: Aravaipa Running is an event production company based out of Arizona specializing in trail and ultra-marathon running events founded and operated by Jamil Coury. With an ever-expanding calendar of races, Aravaipa Running is dedicated to being a leader in innovation, quality, and experience within the endurance community.

Contact: Emily Banks
[email protected]

970-924-0704 ext: 103


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Running aravaipa

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Race Day Schedule
Please arrive early to park, check in and spin out prior to your ride. Restroom facilities are located at the start/finish area.

2:12 PM - Moonrise
6:30 PM – Bib pickup / race day registration begin
7:25 PM - Sunset
7:30 PM – 9 Hour Trio, Duo & Solo Start
7:40 PM - 6 Hour Duo & Solo Start
7:50 PM - 3 Hour Solo Start
7:53 PM - End of Civil Twilight
8:00 PM - 9.5 Mile Solo Start
10:10 PM - 3 Hour Final Loop Cutoff
10:50 PM - 3 Hour Race Ends
1:00 AM - 6 Hour Final Loop Cutoff
1:40 AM - 6 Hour Races End
3:50 AM- 9 Hour Final Loop Cutoff
4:30 AM - 9 Hour Races End

McDowell Mountain Regional Park
16300 McDowell Mountain Park Drive
Fort McDowell, AZ 85264

From central Phoenix, take Loop 202 east to Beeline Highway (SR 87). Continue northeast on SR 87 to Shea Blvd. Travel west on Shea Blvd. to Saguaro Blvd.; turn north. Continue through Town of Fountain Hills to Fountain Hills Blvd; turn right and travel four miles to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park entrance.

Remember the park now charges a $7 park entry fee per vehicle.
Please arrive early and have correct change (cash) available on race evening for a smooth entry process. Maricopa County Parks also offers an Annual Pass for $85. Carpool to save!

Expect great weather for this May night event. It might be a touch hot at the start, but should cool down nicely into the evening. There will be 75% moon illumination out for the race this year.

All races will be professionally chip timed with a disposable timing chip attached to you bike bib. Please attach to your handlebars on the front of your bike. Live results will be available during the event at Aravaipa Live. 

Course Marking
The race courses will be well marked with orange plastic ribbons with black polka dots and reflective medallions. Trail junctions and turns will be well marked with reflective laminated signs. In addition, blue & white checkerboard plastic flagging and RED reflective WRONG WAY signs will be hung to designate non-race or “WRONG WAY” trails. All riders are responsible for understanding the layout of the course. Please familiarize yourself with the course maps on our website prior to race day and/or print a map to bring along with you.

Aid Stations
In addition to a fully stocked drink and feed station at the start/finish line at the Four Peaks Staging Area, there will be one water and electrolyte remote aid station located along the Escondido Trail that riders will pass by every loop. Our main aid station will be stocked with water, ice, electrolyte drinks, salty and sweet snacks, fruit, pb&j, bean rollups, hot food (quesadillas, grilled cheese), and more.

In order for your final loop to count you must cross the finish line before your 3 or 6 hour time limit expires. We will have a final loop cutoff where you can head out on your loop no later than a certain time:
10:10 PM - 3 Hour Final Loop Cutoff
10:50 PM - 3 Hour Race Ends
1:00 AM - 6 Hour Final Loop Cutoff
1:40 AM - 6 Hour Races End
3:50 AM- 9 Hour Final Loop Cutoff
4:30 AM - 9 Hour Races End

9 & 6 Hour Team participants are comprised of two or three riders on a single team who complete laps one at a time for their team. You decide who rides which laps and how many. Riders may elect to ride more than one loop in a row, but switching between riders may be done only in the transition zone at the start/finish area.

Drop Bags
We will have an area specified for your personal drop bag at the start/finish area that will allow for easy and quick access. Feel free to setup your own coolers and chairs in designated areas.

Camping is allowed by McDowell Mountain Regional Park for this event in their dirt parking lot as long as you purchase a camping permit here. One $15 camping permit will be good for one truck / van / camper for the night of the race.

Mountain Biking and Trash
Please respect the trails and the beauty of the desert by disposing of any trash at one of our aid stations. We do recycle and participate in the Terracycle program where we recycle used nutrition packets and gel wrappers. Please deposit them in the specified container at the feed station.

Trail Etiquette
Remember to always remain on designed trails, no short cutting.
Headphones are not permitted.
E Bikes are not permitted.

This course includes some legit single track. If you are fast and attempting to pass, please alert the rider in front of you before flying past them. Likewise, if you hear a rider approaching you from behind, attempt to find a spot to allow the pass.

As a general rule, when passing a rider, announce, “on your left.” Remain in control and respect the other participants.
Everyone is after the same goal here so let’s be respectful of each other’s races and have fun.

For the safety of all runners, no pets are allowed on-course at the night races. Any pets at the race must be on a leash at all times, respect park rules, and be supervised.

If you would like to join our volunteer team, we are looking for help with event setup, aid station, and event breakdown. Volunteer perks include a piece of Aravaipa merchandise or race goody and Aravaipa Race Credits. Sign up to volunteer here! 


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Aravaipa Running LLC

Founded in 2009


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11049 N. 23rd Dr. Ste. 102 STE 102
Phoenix, AZ  85029

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