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November 1, 2012
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Rim Rock Marathon returns to Colorado National Monument

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Running a marathon isn't generally done straight off the couch. It takes lots of preparation and planning. But, for those last-minute, long-distance runners out there, there's still time to reserve a spot in this year's fourth annual US Bank Rim Rock Marathon. This scenic race on Saturday, Nov. 10, will traverse the Colorado National Monument, with nine different support stops for runners.Around 200 solo, long-distance athletes will likely compete, Ascent Productions event coordinator Chris Reed said. Though pre-registration is closed, same-day registration is $95 from 7-7:30 a.m. The race starts at 8 a.m. and athletes will be bused from the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park in Fruita to the start."There's no parking at the race's start," Reed said.According to Reed, the Rim Rock run has only been a marathon distance for the past four years. However, the race has traditionally run through the monument for the last 20 years. Before Ascent Productions took over the race in 2009, it was a 22.6-mile race from the east to west entrance of the Colorado National Monument. Now an official 26 miles, the point-to-point marathon along Rim Rock Drive may host up to 400 competitors. "We thought it would be a more attractive distance" for out-of-state competitors, Reed said. Last year's marathon attracted a broad spectrum of athletes, as Ascent Production organizers hoped."It had a local draw, as well as from the Front Range," Reed said. "We had representation from 13 states last year, plus two (other) countries. We had a couple Japanese competitors and a German."Though the Rim Rock Marathon doesn't generally attract pro athletes, Reed also noted that it does bring in elite runners posting excellent times."It's a boutique marathon," he added. "Most people do the race because it's so beautiful. ... It feels like you're on top of the world."To accommodate 200+ runners through the monument Nov. 10, the westbound lane of Rim Rock Drive will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m."It's a rolling closure, not a hard closure, for the safety of the runners," Reed said.

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 1, 2012 05:20PM Published Nov 1, 2012 05:19PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.