by Emily Koelliker
If you love hiking, trail running, and enjoy getting out in the great outdoors with others, then the KTX HALF trail race may be a perfect fit. The race will be held in Kanab on Saturday, April 24. You can get more information and register for $40 by going to www.ktxraces.com.
The KTX HALF is a 14-mile trail race that begins a few miles east of Kanab at the Mansard Trailhead. Following a scenic climb up the beautiful red cliffs, the Mansard Trail connects to the Hog Canyon OHV trail system where runners will get a taste of Kanab’s colorful landscapes as they enjoy remote backcountry trails. The Hog Canyon OHV trail then connects to the Squaw Trail providing stunning views of Kanab as participants descend into town. The race finishes at Jacob Hamblin Park.
There will be a cutoff finish time of seven hours for the event. Participants do not have to run the course, but will need to cover a minimum of two miles per hour. The course is a rewarding challenge for the novice or expert trail runner. The race organizers would love for all who are interested in trying this trail race to come out and participate by registering at www.ktxraces.com.
Whether KTX rings a bell, or if this is your first-time hearing about it, here’s a brief history and purpose of the event. In 2012, Matt Brown was trying to help gain local support for the Grand-to-Grand Ultra (G2G) stage race. He also wanted to help create a trail running culture/tradition in Kanab. Matt coined the phrase, “Moab is for biking, Kanab is for hiking.” Being involved with Kane County’s economic development efforts, he hoped Kanab and Kane County would become the top spot in southern Utah for hiking and trail running.
This desire inspired Matt to create a 5K and 10K trail race that he named the KTX. Almost 100 people ran the two races the first year. The KTX event was repeated in 2013 with the addition of the KTX Xtreme, a half marathon course beginning at the Mansard Trailhead and concluding at Jacob Hamblin Park. Seven people tested the new trail race and loved it for the terrain, variety of trails and beautiful panoramic views. This is what is now referred to as the “KTX HALF.”
Matt planned to continue the KTX races, but a busy schedule and other responsibilities forced him to cancel in 2014. Emily and Jake Koelliker, Matt’s daughter and son-in-law, moved to Kanab in 2016. Jake had completed several road and trail races, so occasionally Matt would suggest Jake and Emily revive the KTX races. With Matt’s help, they finally decided to take the plunge and are bringing KTX races back to life.
Jake and Emily moved to Kanab from Gilbert, Ariz. Though there was a lot to love about Arizona they longed to live in Kanab, where the great outdoors is accessible as soon as you open your front door. They love the wonderful trails available in Kanab. Many people stay in Kanab to visit surrounding attractions, but often miss the trails and recreational opportunities available right under their nose in Kanab. What’s worse, some live in Kanab for years before they ever experience Kanab’s best trails. The purpose of KTX Races is to increase awareness of the Kanab trails available for both locals and visitors. Emily and Jake would like to encourage people to “Adventure Together.” They believe enjoying the outdoors with others fosters connection and fulfillment that creates memories that last.
The Koellikers are planning to revive the 5K and 10K in the coming year. You can follow KTX Races on Instagram (@ktxraces) or Facebook (KTX Races) to stay up to date on future events or visit their website at www.ktxraces.com.