Beginner's LuckSloan Canyon on April 9, 2016

Race ScheduleBeginner's Luck

We're once again taking over the McCullough Hills Trail, now with cooler temperatures and the same great courses. Test yourself on the difficult 55K course and compete for one of the cash prizes!

Running the entirety of one of the most popular trails in the Las Vegas valley, Beginner's Luck is one of our most popular races. Cutting through Sloan Canyon from the Palm Hills area of Henderson to Anthem near Del Webb Middle School, the McCullough Hills trail is a wide, groomed trail that is great for novice and advanced runners alike.

Race Distances

We will be offering a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and 25K, on an out and back course along the McCullough Hills Trail and the 601 trail, along with a 55K using McCullough Hills Trail and Anthem East Trail.

5K Course

3.1 miles, 390 ft of vertical climb

An out-and-back course following McCullough Hills Trail just short of the 5K halfway point before turning around and returning on McCullough Hills Trail and the singletrack of 603, and 601. Starting at the Mission Trailhead, the 5K course is mostly flat and uphill for the first half, with some fast downhill sections on the return route.

10K Course

6.2 miles, 750 ft of vertical climb

An out-and-back course following McCullough Hills Trail just short of the 10K halfway point before turning around and returning on McCullough Hills Trail and the singletrack of 601. Starting at the Mission Trailhead, the 10K starts out uphill, followed by a flat stretch before climbing uphill to the turnaround. The return route is mostly downhill with some short flat and uphill sections thrown in for fun.

Half Marathon Course

13.1 miles, 1450 ft of vertical climb

An out-and-back course following McCullough Hills Trail just short of the Half Marathon halfway point before turning around and returning on McCullough Hills Trail and the singletrack of 601. Starting at the Mission Trailhead, the Half Marathon climbs for 4 1/2 miles before slightly descending to the turnaround 2 miles later, with a short climb to start the return trip, followed by mostly downhill to the finish.

25K Course

16 miles, 1850 ft of vertical climb

An out-and-back course running the entirety of the McCullough Hills Trail, the 25K climbs to a ridge at 4.85 miles before descending to the turnaround near Del Webb Middle School at mile 8, then turning around for a very steep mile before the climb evens out and rises steadily back to the ridge at mile 11.15 before a mostly-downhill run along McCullough Hills Trail and the singletrack of 601 to the finish.

55K Course

34.7 miles, 6500 ft of vertical climb

Starting at the Mission Trailhead of McCullough Hills trail, the 55K is the only course that will run the south section of the 601 trail, a mix of sandy washes and singletrack. After meeting back up with McCullough Hills Trail around 4.75 miles, the course continues running the entirety of McCullough Hills Trail to the turnaround near Del Web Middle School. The course then continues up a very steep mile before heading south on the Anthem East Trail for some very steep rolling hills capped off by a mild climb around the Park Peak loop via the 404/Black Mountain Trail, then returning back north on Anthem East Trail. A second stop at Del Web Middle School before returning on McCullough Hills Trail and finishing on the singletrack of 601.

Lil' Dashers 2K Kids Run

Lil' Dashers

Have a budding trail runner at home? Bring them out! At 11:00am on race day we'll kick off the Lil' Dashers 2K, an introductory trail race just for kids 12 and under. With an aid station serving water and lots of encouragement along an easy-to-follow out-and-back course, Lil' Dashers runners will get the full Desert Dash trail race experience! All entrants receive a Lil' Dashers water bottle with straw and all finishers receive a custom Lil' Dashers finisher medal.

Race Schedule

Distance Start Time Time Limit Awards Ceremony
Lil' Dashers 2K 11:00am 1 hour TBA
5K 8:00am 5 hours, 45 minutes 8:45am
10K 7:30am 5 hours, 45 minutes 9:15am
Half Marathon 7:00am 6 hours 10:00am
25K 6:30am 7 hours, 30 minutes 10:30am
55K 6:00am 10 hours 1:30pm

Prizes & Awards

The big prize for Beginner's Luck will be a pair of $500 cash prizes to the overall male and female winners of the 55K course.

There will be other prizes from our sponsors (announced as the race gets closer) for the overall winners of all distances, along with medals for the top 3 males and top 3 females of each distance.

All finishers will receive a custom Beginner's Luck medal created specifically for this year's race, and all registered runners will receive a Beginner's Luck tech tee, in either unisex or ladies-fit*.

*To be guaranteed a ladies-fit tech tee, you must register by February 25, 2016 at 11:59pm.

Aid Stations

There will be aid stations serving the 10K, Half Marathon, 30K and Marathon at the locations listed below. There are no aid stations on the 5K course.

Race Race Mileage Aid Stations
  No aid stations
  Mile 2.5 Henderson Aid Station
Mile 3.5 Henderson Aid Station
Half Marathon
  Mile 2.5 Henderson Aid Station
Mile 5.5 Overlook Aid Station
Mile 7.5 Overlook Aid Station
Mile 10.6 Henderson Aid Station
  Mile 2.5 Henderson Aid Station
Mile 5.5 Overlook Aid Station
Mile 8 Anthem Aid Station (turnaround)
Mile 10.5 Overlook Aid Station
Mile 13.5 Henderson Aid Station
  Mile 5 Henderson Aid Station
Mile 8 Overlook Aid Station
Mile 10.5 Anthem Aid Station
Mile 14.5 Crescent Heights Aid Station (Water/Tailwind Only)
Mile 16.5 Black Mountain Aid Station
Mile 20.7 Black Mountain Aid Station
Mile 22.7 Crescent Heights Aid Station (Water/Tailwind Only)
Mile 26.7 Anthem Aid Station
Mile 29.2 Overlook Aid Station
Mile 32.2 Henderson Aid Station

All aid stations will be stocked with water in water jugs (you must carry your own water bottle), Tailwind Endurance Fuel provided in cups, energy gels, and an assortment of munchies and goodies to eat.

We have a very firm belief that true trail runners are explorers at heart and minimalists in many ways, therefore, our aid stations are self-serve, meaning no little cups for water! You must bring a hydration system of your own to fill up.

Registration Fees & Deadlines

To guarantee a shirt in your size, you must register by March 25, 2016 at 11:59pm.

  Kids 2K 5K 10K Half Marathon 25K 55K
Early Bird Entry
Until February 26, 2016 at 11:59pm
$25 $45 $55 $65 $75 $95
Standard Entry
Until March 25, 2016 at 11:59pm
$30 $55 $65 $75 $85 $105
Late Entry
Until April 7, 2016 at 11:59pm
$35 $65 $75 $85 $95 $115

Bryce Erekson Breakfast Buffet

Beginner's Luck was created in honor of Rob and Ryan's younger brother Bryce, who passed away in 2011. One of his favorite activities was hiking in Sloan Canyon in the area where McCullough Hills Trail was eventually created. His favorite thing to eat at any time of the day was breakfast, so we've created the Bryce Erekson Breakfast Buffet in his honor.

The breakfast buffet is complimentary for all race participants after their race. Spectators can partake of the breakfast buffet for a very small fee.

Race Parking

Parking for all race participants and spectators will be at Foothill High School 800 College Dr., Henderson, NV 89015. The shuttle service will start at 5:00am and will continue with the last bus leaving Foothill High School at 6:45am for the race.

Shuttling will continue after the race with a bus leaving the start/finish area every 30 minutes until approximately 2:00pm. Runners finishing after 2:00pm will be driven back to Foothill High School by race staff.

If you are having somebody drop you off at the race, they can proceed to the race start/finish area, located at the McCullough Hills Trailhead at 295 E. Mission. We will also have an area to secure bikes if you choose to ride a bike to the race.

Parking at the race start/finish is for volunteers and Desert Dash staff only. All others will be redirected to the remote parking area at Foothill High School approximately 2 miles east.

Bag Check

A bag check will be provided at the race to check any belongings you do not wish to leave in your car during the race, with the reusable Desert Dash drawstring bag given out at Packet Pickup.

Packet Pickup

Packet pickup will be available the day of the event at the start/finish as well as on Friday, April 8th from 2pm – 6pm at REI's Henderson location in The District at 2220 Village Walk Drive Ste 150, Henderson, NV 89052.

Refund Policy

We will provide a 100% credit towards a future Desert Dash event up to 6 weeks from the event (February 26, 2016) if notified via email at or via phone at (702) 329-0262.

From 6 weeks up to 2 weeks before the event (March 25, 2015) we will issue a 75% credit towards a future event if notified via email, and from 2 weeks up to 48 hours before the event (April 7, 2016) we will issue a 50% credit.

No credit will be issued within 48 hours of or anytime after the event. There are no refunds given.