The 14th Annual Zane Grey Highline Trail 50-mile run will begin at 5 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at the Pine Trailhead located a mile south of Pine.
The course, which is officially 51.4 miles, follows the Highline Trail to the finish line located at the Highway 260 Trailhead five miles east of Christopher Creek.
Last year the race drew 107 ultra-runners from around the United States.
Nate McDowell, a 31-year-old Utah resident tied with 35-year-old Colorado native Chad Ricklef for first place honors. The two were clocked in 8:11.44. The duo shared championship bragging rights and $350 in prize money
In the women's division, 31-year-old Anthea Schmidt of Crested Butte, Colorado was first in 10 hours and 18 minutes.
The first run held May 5, 1990 was organized by Pat McKenzie who had driven by the Pine Trailhead many times on his way to camping trips. When he learned the trail was about 50-miles in length, he decided it would make an ideal race course.
Among the finishers of the inaugural run were Scott Modzelewski, Karsten Solheim, Sabin Snow, John Cheeley, Dave Selzer, Stepp Papp and McKenzie.
The trail, which lies entirely in the Tonto National Forest was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1979. The Forest Service and many volunteers including several ultra-runners have worked countless hours to restore, maintain, clear and mark the historic trail.
For the race, five aid stations will be set up along the course where runners can receive sports drinks and snacks to help them battle heat stress and dehydration.
In last year's race, five runners in the men's division were ahead of the course record pace at the half-way point located at FS 144 and the Highline Trial. But, the Arizona heat eventually slowed their progress and the course record was not broken.