What Is Prerunning?
prerunning desert mountain

A term heard around the off-road community is prerunning, but what exactly does it mean? Prerunning can be found from Baja to King of the Hammers, and a wide area in between.

The term prerunning means to drive or review a racecourse before race day. Prerunning gives teams and drivers the ability to check out multiple lines to see which is faster, but it also allows them to mark dangers.

course markers on McKenzies 250 course
On the course there are markers helping guide racers. Some Racers do not use GPS while racing.

Prerunning is vital to off-road racing when it is allowed. Some races such as the Mint 400 and Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno do not offer the ability to prerun.

Teams that head to the dirt with a strategic plan can have the most success on race day. Many things can go wrong on race day, but knowing what is coming your way is half the battle.

prerunning tablet
When we went prerunning for a recent MORE race, we used onX Offroad to follow the course and make notes.

A prerunner is the term for the vehicle in which the prerunning is done. Ideally, it is a vehicle set up like the race vehicle, which helps to know how the race vehicle handles race day. How side-by-side handles, or how the terrain is different from a Trophy Truck or Ultra 4 rig, which will make a difference in how to drive certain sections.

Prerunning gives drivers the chance to see the course and a chance to check out the area they will be flying through on race day. The desert is a beautiful place, and in certain regions such as Baja, there is a lot to see that you don’t see on race day.

going through MORE course
Prerunning the MORE McKenzies 250 course.

If you ever get the chance to go prerunning or to be able to prerun yourself, don’t pass on the opportunity. Seeing the course and what the drivers and teams will go through on race day can be appreciated only after seeing exactly what it is.