Nevada: ET Midnight Marathon (Road)

Race info: The ET Midnight Marathon is near Rachel, NV (distances from 5k to 51k). Plenty of race info can be found on Calico Racing’s website.

The cutoff is 8 hours with a midnight start.

ET map
Yes, 90* at midnight. Not sunny though.

51k runners and marathoners are picked up in Las Vegas and dropped off at the “black mailbox” on highway 375 (Extraterrestrial Highway) and run 23 miles to the finish line at Rachel, NV and then 1.6 or 3ish miles past it before turning around and heading back for the marathon and 51k, respectively. The first half of the course is uphill with a total elevation gain of 1,133′ and the second half is really downhill.

ET elevation
Cruel false peak.

The pickup location changes and was at the National Atomic Testing Museum when we ran. They stayed open late for us. We stayed about half a mile from the museum and walked over a couple of hours before the buses were due and toured the museum. It was well worth the low cost of admission. Buses left on time and we arrived in the middle of nowhere about 30 minutes before the midnight start. Those running shorter distances were dropped off at their respective start lines.

Bus pickup area the year we ran.

Race report: We ran on the left shoulder of the road under a cloudless sky and nearly full moon. After the first mile, many people had turned off head lights or flashlights. The Joshua trees looked otherworldly and the bloated, dead cow was creepy. Traffic was heavier as the shorter races ended and buses passed us. The sun was rising as I hit the turnaround for the marathon and headed back to Rachel. Although there was very little food at the aid stations after the 5k, 10k, and half marathoners went through, there was still food at the finish. The convenience store had food and cold cokes (that includes Dr. Pepper, root beer, sprite, orange, etc for the non-Texans). They also had multiple indoor bathrooms large enough to easily change in. Everyone in our group finished by the time the last bus left for Las Vegas at 8:05am and the two hour drive back was much quieter than the drive out.


Off road:

  • Do not sit near the bathroom on a bus full of marathoners, especially for a two hour pre-race drive.
  • Take advantage of the drop bag option and have a complete set of comfortable dry clothes to change into, including flip flops and at least a washcloth.
  • Take money for post race cokes and alien souvenirs.
  • The bus drivers have probably been driving round trip from Vegas to Rachel and back all night. Riders on the 8am bus may have a somewhat sleepy driver. If you’re lucky, you might have the same entertainment we did and see a proactive passenger try to energize the driver with enthusiastic application of essential oils.

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