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Mesa Falls Marathon Upcoming

Posted On
Aug 06, 2015
Activities near Yellowstone


By Matt Johnson

ASHTON – The 19th Annual Mesa Falls Marathon will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, in the Ashton area.

Races include the full and half marathon, a 5K, 10K, family fun run and a relay marathon. Registration is ongoing.

The marathon typically brings out close to 700 runners, some from different states across the country. One of the reasons runners come from far and wide is because of the gorgeous scenery and unique terrain.

“I hold the race because I love running and want to put a great race together,” said Dave Jacobson, director of the race. “I want to showcase the scenery and the town of Ashton. We have a fun little town.”

The marathon has been tabbed as one of the top in the country by various media sources, including Competitor Magazine and USA Today. Mile 14 of the marathon, which is a mile south of Bear Gulch, was voted in Competitor Magazine as one of the top mile markers in races around the world, while USA Today tabbed the marathon as being one of the top marathons to run before you die.

“It’s amazing,” Jacobson said. “When you see the other races on the list, they’re exotic, strange races that people run. That was a fun surprise.”

The full marathon starts a 6:30 a.m. on North Hatchery Butte Road, two miles above Pole Bridge campground, and the half marathon starts at 8:30 a.m. at Bear Gulch. The marathon does provide buses for rides to the starting lines of both races. The buses contain restrooms for racers to use. The buses for the full marathon load at the elementary parking lot, with the first bus leaving around 5 a.m., and the last one leaving around 5:20 a.m.

After the full marathon starts, the buses will return to Ashton and begin loading runners for the half marathon. Busses load up for the half marathon around 7:15 a.m. with the last bus leaving around 8 a.m.

Anyone may also drive to the starting line of either race. Support vehicles are welcome. The race officials divert the traffic around the first nine miles of the full marathon to keep down the dust. Fifteen aid stations are posted throughout the course, one about every two miles.

Teams taking part in the relay division may put together teams of various sizes; there is no set number.

“We let the team make their own decision on abilities,” Jacobson said.

The marathons wrap up at the Ashton city park. All finishers receive race shirts and a finisher’s medallion. Full and half marathon finishers receive a huckleberry milkshake certificate for 511 Main, a restaurant in Ashton. Other race amenities include free breakfast and post-race food for all runners.

Registration is available all the way up to and including the day of the races. For more information or to sign up. Visit or call Jacobson at 208-652-7771, 208-360-9507 or 208-652-7338. The race also has a Facebook page under the name Mesa Falls Marathon. Packet pickup is all day on Friday, Aug. 21, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the elementary school in Ashton.

About the Mesa Falls Marathon

  • The course record for the full marathon is two hour. 38 minutes, held by Pat Bragassa.
  • The marathon awards a first, second and third place finishing plaques, in five year age categories, in the full marathon, and men and women divisions in the half marathon.
  • USA Today wrote the following about the race: “Skip the crowds – and the hassle – of big, classic tourist races and sink into the easygoing pace and welcoming feel of a small-town course.  In Mesa Falls, breathe in a beautiful, downhill course through lonely farmland and rushing springs, share a well-deserves handshake with the (“fantastic” organizers at the finish line, and chat with locals over a huckleberry milkshake from the local drugstore’s soda counter. No wait or reservation necessary.”

(Source: – “Amazing Races to Run Before You Die”, Sept. 2013)

Originally printed in the Upper Valley Standard Journal on August 4th, 2015.