cave creek

Cave Creek Thriller Trail Runs

Saturday, October 13, 2018
50K | 24K | 11K | 5K
Cave Creek Regional Park Cave Creek, AZ

5:20 AM – 50K Shuttle Pickup at Cave Creek Regional Park
6:30 AM – 50K Start at Agua Fria Trailhead (Maricopa Trail)
7:15 AM – 24K Shuttle Pickup at Cave Creek Regional Park
8:00 AM – 24K Start at Anthem Trailhead (Maricopa Trail)
8:00 AM – 5K Start at Cave Creek Regional Park
8:15 AM – 11K Start at Cave Creek Regional Park

6:00 PM – Thrasher Night 30 Km Start
6:15 PM – Thrasher Night 5 Km Start
6:30 PM – Thrasher Night 11 Km Start

Quick Links: Race Info | Registration | Course Info | Results | Photos | Race Day


This race is part of a Series Pass with discounted entries! Check out some options HERE! 

Group picnic area (Ramadas 2 & 3)
Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ. Directions

Course Summary
Now in its eighth year, the Cave Creek Thriller plays host to four different distances and acts as the first race of the Desert Runner Trail Series. 50K runners will start at the Agua Fria Trailhead near Lake Pleasant and travel along the Maricopa Trail, a short section of the Black Canyon Trail, pass through Anthem along a desert corridor, climb past Spear S Ranch and finally enter Cave Creek Regional Park to finish along the Go John, Quartz & Overton Trails. The 50K will be point to point this year.

The 24K is also be point to point. Runners will start from the Anthem Trailhead, following the same route as the 50K runners from there into the finish.

11K & 5K runners will stay entirely within Cave Creek Regional Park on hilly and pristine mountain trails.

Expect hot conditions (we typically see temps into the 90’s)! Portions of the trail are steep, rocky, and entirely exposed to the sun with great views of the expansive Sonoran desert.

This is typically a hot race, with sun exposed trails and temperatures into the 90’s! Forecast for Cave Creek, AZ

Bib/Shirt Pickup
Thursday, October 11
Packet Pickup 5:00-7:00PM
Group run 5:30-6:30PM

iRun Phoenix
4730 E. Indian School Rd. #125
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 368-5330


Friday, October 12
Packet Pickup 5:00-7:00PM
Fleet Feet Scottsdale
18261 N Pima Road E 135
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(480) 907-6699


Saturday, October 13
Race Day Pickup
Cave Creek Regional Park

Aid Stations
Aid stations every 3.0 to 9.1 miles including water, electrolyte drink, sweet snacks, salty snacks, and fruit. Please plan to run with at least two bottles of water.

Aid station distance chart:

Race Perks
Gender specific cut race shirt
Chip timed race results displayed at finish line
Scenic and challenging course on desert trails
Well stocked aid stations every 3.0 to 9.1 miles
Post race food (bagels, fresh fruit) & socializing
Finisher award pint glass

NEW: Cupless Events

In an effort to continually lessen our race footprint, we are expanding our cupless events to the Desert Runner Trail Series. We will have UltrAspire reusable cups available at registration and on race day or feel free to bring your own! To check them out or purchase one directly visit our website HERE.

Crews & Pacers
Crews are welcome to support runners at the finish line at Ramada 2 & 3 as well as the Anthem Aid Station in the 50K race.

Pacers are not permitted for any race distance.

Awards to the top 3 male & female finishers at each distance.
All finishers will receive a finisher award.

Volunteer Helpers
If you would like to join our volunteer team, we are looking for help with event setup, aid station captains, aid station helpers, timing, photography, videography, social media, course sweep and event breakdown. Volunteer perks include a piece of Aravaipa merchandise or race goody and Aravaipa Race Credits. You can see our current opportunities and sign up here: Cave Creek Thriller Volunteer Form

Charity Beer Garden
For the 2017-2018 Desert Runner Trail Series Aravaipa Running will be working with the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) to bring awareness to their cause. Proceeds from the beer gardens at each event will go directly to SWCC. The Beer Garden is being sponsored by Huss Brewing. More information available on our blog.


Entry Fees

Until 8/1 Until 9/13 Until 10/9 Race Week
5KM $32.79 $38.26 $43.72 $54.65
11KM $38.26 $43.72 $49.19 $60.12
24KM $49.19 $54.65 $60.12 $71.05
50KM $76.51 $81.98 $87.44 $98.37

Save $10 with our no-shirt option! Shirts guaranteed on race day if ordered by 9/13, otherwise shirts will be sold on race day if available.

Entrant Limit
400 Runners
Entrant Lists

Registration Options
Online via Ultra Signup
Mail-In Entry Form

Online registration closes on 10/9 at midnight. Registration will be available after online registration closes at all packet pickup locations and race day as long as we have not reached our capacity.


Anthem Aid Station: 11:00 AM (50 Km only)
9.5 hours for the 50 Km (4:00 PM).


Courses for 2017 feature point to point 50K & 24K routes running along the Maricopa Trail. Course Photos

Course Maps




Elevation Profiles

Thriller 5K Profile Thriller 11K Profile Thriller 24K Profile Thriller 50K Profile

GPS Files
50K | GPX | KML
24K | GPX | KML
11K | GPX | KML
5K | GPX | KML

*Note on GPX & KML files: Right click and select “Save link as…” to download files.
GPX files may be opened by downloading the demo version of TopoFusion for free. KML files may be opened in Google Earth.


Course Records
50K | Male – 4:06:11 – Travis Swaim (’16) | Female – 5:24:31 – Kristina Pham (’16)
24K | Male – 1:45:33 – Art Degraw (’17) | Female – 2:09:21 – Kelly Wolf (’15)
11K | Male – 51:05 – Eric Schmitz (’16) | Female – 56:03 – Andrea Felton (’14)
5K | Male – 21:00 – Dylan Arana (’14) | Female – 27:50 – Kristin Simonson (’15)

Past Distance Course Records:
31K | Male – 2:31:59 – Jules Miller (’13) | Female – 3:19:08 – Caris Markos (’13)
30K | Male – 2:21:50 – Jules Miller (’12) | Female – 3:03:41 – Michelle Lindsey (’12)
19K | Male – 1:44:31 – Alan Eder (’13) | Female – 2:00:08 – Elizabeth Rich (’13)
12K | Male – 56:57 – Josh Benson (’13) | Female – 1:03:51 – Lauren Besenfelder (’13)
10K | Male –  47:46 – Tim Merritt (’11) | Female – 56:12 – Lisa Raykowski (’11)

2017 | 50K | 24K | 11K | 5K
2016 | 50K | 24K | 11K | 5K
2015 | 50K | 24K | 11K | 5K
2014 | 50K | 24K | 11K | 5K
2013 | 50K | 31K | 19K | 12K
2012 | 50K | 30K | 10K
2011 | 50K | 30K | 10K
2010 | 50K | 30K | 10K

2017 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery 
2016 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery | SweetM Images
2015 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2014 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2013 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery
2012 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery | Joan Hellman
2011 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery | Manoj Nagalla | Bret Sarnquist
2010 | Aravaipa Photo Gallery


Race Day Schedule
Please arrive early to park, check in and warm up prior to your run. 50 Kilometer & 24 Kilometer runners will either need to find a ride to their starting line (which are not located at Cave Creek Regional Park) or take the race provided shuttle bus. See schedule below for what time to arrive for shuttle.

Restroom facilities are located at the start line at a permanent park facility as well as at the starting lines of both the 50K & 24K.

5:00 AM – Packet pickup / race day registration begin
5:20 AM – 50K Shuttle Bus Pickup at Cave Creek Regional Park
6:07 AM – Begin Civil Twilight
6:30 AM – 50K Start at Agua Fria TH on Maricopa Trail near Lake Pleasant Regional Park
6:32 AM – Sunrise
7:15 AM – 24K Shuttle Bus Pickup at Cave Creek Regional Park
8:00 AM – 24 K Start at Anthem TH on Maricopa Trail
8:00 AM – 5K Start at Cave Creek Regional Park
8:15 AM – 11 K Start at Cave Creek Regional Park
4:00 PM –  Overall cutoff / Race ends
5:00 PM – Thrasher Night Run Packet pickup begins
5:56 PM – Sunset
6:00 PM – Thrasher Night 30K Start
6:15 PM – Thrasher Night 5K Start
6:21 PM – End Civil Twilight
6:30 PM – Thrasher Night 10K Start
10:00 PM – Thrasher 30K must start 3rd & final loop
12:00 AM – Thrasher 30K cut-off / Race ends

Park Entry Fee
Remember the park charges a $6 park entry fee per vehicle. Please arrive early and have correct change (cash) available on race morning for a smooth entry process. Carpool to save! If you are participating in the double (day & night runs) your pass is good all day.

Trail Running & Trash
Please respect the trails and the beauty of the desert by disposing of any trash at one of our aid stations.

Race Timing
We will be utilizing a chip timing system at this event to record your time at the finish. You will be provided with a timing chip attached to the back side of your race bib. It is important to not crease, or fold the the timing chip to ensure your finish time is read.

Drop Bags
A drop bag will be allowed at the Anthem Aid station for 50K runners. Please have your drop bag with you on race morning to be collected either at packet pickup or at the actual race start at the Agua Fria TH. They will be transported to the finish line after the Anthem Aid Station closes down around 10:00 AM.

Aid Station Helpers
We cannot produce these trail runs without the help of our amazing volunteer team. You can even help and run on race day. If you would like to join our volunteer team, we are looking for help with event setup, aid station captains, aid station helpers, timing, photography, videography, social media and event breakdown. Volunteer perks include a piece of Aravaipa merchandise or race goody and Aravaipa Race Credits. You can see our current opportunities and sign up here: Cave Creek Thriller Volunteer Form

Course Markings
The race courses will be well marked with orange plastic ribbons with black polka dots. Trail junctions and turns will be well marked with colored laminated signs that correspond with your race’s color (5K = Blue, 10K = Green, 24K = Yellow, 50K = Red). Please pay attention to these signs at each junction as there are multiple race distances and race courses! In addition, blue & white checkerboard plastic flagging will be hung to designate non-race or “WRONG WAY” trails. All runners are responsible for understanding the layout of the courses. Please familiarize yourself with the course maps on our website prior to race day and/or print a map to bring along with you.

Desert Runner Trail Series
Cave Creek Thriller is the first race in the Aravaipa Running – Desert Runner Trail Series, Arizona’s premier trail & ultra running series. Trail Series = 24k & Ultra Series = 50km

Parking / Start Area
The finish line is located at the Group Picnic Area within Cave Creek Regional Park. Overflow parking will be available at the horse staging area parking lot or around the Tonalite Drive Loop approximately 1/4 mile from the start/finish area.

Cave Creek Regional Park offers a campground with 38 individual sites and a group camping area. Each site has a large parking area to accommodate up to a 45′ RV and is a “Developed Site,” with water and electrical hook-ups, dump station, a picnic table, a barbecue grill, and fire ring. Cave Creek Regional Park provides clean restrooms with flush toilets and hot water showers. All sites in the campground may be reserved online here: Camping reservations.

Directions to Cave Creek Regional Park
From central Phoenix, take I-17 north to Carefree Hwy (SR 74). Exit Carefree Hwy. and travel east to 32nd St. (7 miles). Turn north on 32nd St. to the Cave Creek Regional Park entrance.

37900 E Cave Creek Parkway
Cave Creek, AZ 85331

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