The Shiprock Marathon goes virtual in response to the coronavirus restrictions

Runners can still participate in the Shiprock Marathon while practicing social distancing thanks to the virtual format

Matt Hollinshead,

FARMINGTON — The 37th annual Shiprock Marathon will proceed after all, but is instead going virtual throughout April.

Any day of this week through April 12, participants can run 3.1 miles and record their time using a provided form on the event's website. They can plan their run around their schedule and decide on the location where they’ll run.

The half-marathon will take place during the week of April 13, followed by the 10-kilometer race during the week of April 20. The full marathon race will be conducted the week of April 27.

“We’ve already had people posting pictures of places where they’ve been running,” Race Director Tom Riggenbach said. “I kind of hate to break a 37-year tradition. It was a bit of a process.”

The Shiprock pinnacle looms in the distance as runners take part in the Shiprock Marathon on May 7, 2016.

Riggenbach said he received feedback from runners who expressed disappointment over the original cancellation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so he began brainstorming alternatives.

“We just wanted to offer people something that’ll be a positive," Riggenbach said.

Riggenbach said the virtual format gives runners the flexibility to do more than just one of the four runs at the storied event. But the perks don't end there.

The male and female winners in one of the aforementioned runs will be able to enter any of the upcoming races in the region for free, including the Asaayi Mountain Run or the Navajo Code Talker 29-kilometer run.

People who complete all four distances of the Shiprock Marathon can enter those two races, as well as events like the 12 Hours of Asaayi endurance race or the Monument Valley Bike Race, regardless of their final times.

“I got a feeling that we’re going to have a lot of folks that do all four,” Riggenbach said. “Being able to pick and choose what’s on the calendar, I think people will be cool with that.”

Shiprock Marathon runners in the 5K and 10K races move toward Diné College's south campus Friday in Shiprock.

The Asaayi Mountain Run is scheduled for June 13 in Navajo, New Mexico, about 50 miles west of Tohatchi and about 20 miles north of Window Rock, Arizona. The 12 Hours of Asaayi, also in Navajo, New Mexico, is scheduled for Aug.15.

The Navajo Code Talker 29-kilometer run is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona.

The Monument Valley Bike Race, a 13-mile course at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park located about 25 miles north of Kayenta, Arizona, is scheduled for June 28.

Riggenbach said he has faith competitors won’t exaggerate their results, also mentioning that one course’s difficulty and layout may differ from another.

“The top times are believable. I think people are going to be good with doing it that way,” Riggenbach said, adding that 67 runners logged times on Monday.

For more information, visit the event's website.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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Half marathon runners Leandrew Martine and Rodell Williams compete, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Shiprock. Martine won the half marathon and Williams took second.