by Holly Martin
There’s plenty of classic races that are exceedingly popular, but Utah has a couple of hidden gems as well.
If you’re looking for something new, something off the beaten path, Utah has it.
One race that has quickly become my favorite is the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half, held on September 13. No matter if you choose the full or half distance, you’re guaranteed a fast, beautiful, and incredible race experience down Big Cottonwood Canyon. 2014 will be the third year since the race’s inception, but you would never guess it’s that young—the organizers provide an incredibly friendly, welcoming, and well-organized event that’s worthy of your entry fee. They’ll even let you choose if you’d rather have a short- or long-sleeved tech tee, along with a lot of other great swag.
What are you waiting for? Register and start your downhill training ASAP!
Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ve had enough of these downhill races. How about an uphill sprint?”
Well, I may think you’re crazy, but there’s another fantastic race that’s right up your alley. The Sports Am Hidden Peak 6K Challenge is a 6K trail race held at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon (September 27) that’s guaranteed to test your legs and your lungs. Runners start at the base of Snowbird and traverse up to the tram at Hidden Peak; that’s an elevation gain of 3,240 feet! Once you’re at the top, enjoy the awards ceremony and some food, then head down to Oktoberfest at the Snowbird base to celebrate. An added bonus- Snowbird is offering discounted rooms for runners, but hurry, vacancy is limited during festival weekends.
Bummed that all your buddies got into the St. George Marathon but you didn’t?
Don’t let your training go to waste. Up the ante and try out The North Face Endurance Challenge at Park City Mountain Resort on October 4 and 5. With 9 (yes, 9!) distances between 50 miles to a Kids Run to choose from over two days, there’s sure to be an event you’ll love. The entire series takes place at PCMR, so you’ll be guaranteed beautiful views, challenging trails, and even a chance to meet ultrarunner Dean Karnazes.
Need an excuse to break out your old Steve Prefontaine costume?
Register for Howloween Half Marathon & 5K, held October 25. The course runs will avoid 4am bus rides to the start by having a convenient start and finish at the Provo Towne Center Mall.
Just an FYI, if you’re going to wear a costume, make sure you test it out a little before race day—the chafing marks and bruises you may encounter may not look so hot with your Britney Spears get-up.
And what’s Thanksgiving Day without a quick 5K before you stuff yourself silly? The Sports Am Cold Turkey Run on November 27 has an event for everyone in the family—a 5K (starts at Olympus Hills) or 6K (starts at the Capitol building) for the older ones, and a Kid’s 1K for the whippersnappers. The race starts at 9:00, so you’ll be able to run and make it home in time for turkey festivities. Go ahead, work up a calorie deficit and have that extra piece of pie!
Even if none of these fantastic races is quite what you’re looking for, don’t despair! There’s a bevy of events to choose from around the Salt Lake valley, from traditional road races (Winter Sun 10K), to ultramarathons (The Dead Horse 50K), and even theme races (Harry Potter 5K).
Late summer and autumn in Utah reminds me why I moved here—the weather is beautiful, the leaves begin to change, and opportunities for incredible races are abundant. I invite you to check out our local race calendar for a list of great events around Salt Lake City, and happy running!