My second marathon has been completed! I’ve got a full recap of the Top of Utah Marathon for you today, the first half is kind of a walk through of my personal experience, while the second half is details about the race itself. If you’d like to skip my fluffy store and get to the details, feel free to click below!
My Race Experience:
The Race Plan
Originally the plan for the Top of Utah Marathon was going to be that I would run it with my cousin, whom I had been training with for months. This was going to be my second marathon (I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon last year), and her first. Unfortunately, just a few days before the race, my cousin was no longer able to join me for the marathon. So I went alone….
The day before the race my husband and I took the 2 hour drive up to Logan at about 5:30pm. We went straight to the expo, which was extremely disappointing (see below), and after spending only about 10 minutes there decided to go find snacks at the grocery store. We had fun kind of checking out the town as we wandered around finding snacks for that night and the following day.
Then we checked in to our hotel, we stayed at the local La Quinta, which was actually quite nice! They did however, tell my husband that their complimentary breakfast started at 10am, when it in fact ended at 10am, so he missed it 😐 So just so you all know, should you decide to stay at the La Quinta, breakfast ENDS at 10am.
I proceeded to nervously lay out all my clothes and gear so that I wouldn’t have to wake up too early the next morning.
Having pre-planned the night before, I was able to quickly get dressed in my Oiselle singlet! Tape up my leg, I had a little bit of posterior tibial tendonitis, but the taping really helped, and then grab my gear and head out to the bus.
The first bus ride was not bad, there were a few people next to me that were laughing and having a good time with me; turns out we were from the same home town out in California.
Once we got dropped off at the park, we headed over to a second bus that took us up the canyon; this bus ride was much longer, about an hour. And it was BORING; I ended up sitting next to someone that didn’t talk the entire time, so I got a little antsy and bored.
At the top of the canyon we got off and headed into the heated tent where I was able to stretch and get my audio book ready to roll.
At 7am the race started, with the sun barely creeping up above the mountains, and a massive harvest moon in site.
For the first 4 miles I ran my own pace, hoping to eventually fall into a group of people that were running similarly. During that 4 miles, I decided not to listen to my book yet, but to look around and enjoy the immense beauty of the fall colored mountains and brisk air. As I ran I noticed that one girl and I were running fairly similarly…when she suddenly came up from behind me and introduced herself!
We continued to chat and get to know one another as we ran down the canyon. The run down the canyon by the way, was perfect! The grade was not so steep that it hurt the knees or made you pound the ground, but enough that it felt easy to get down.
This other girl and I continued to chat and run together until about mile 23, when I needed to stop and stretch out my quad that started to cramp. We caught up again at the finish line though, so that we could take a picture together and say goodbye.
Around mile 14, the course begins to change, and runners are no longer running down the canyon, but through neighborhoods and towns. The grade however, never gets steep or difficult to handle.
Throughout the run in neighborhoods we found many people out cheering on the runners and even handing out refreshing wonders like otter pops. The community was amazingly welcoming.
As previously mentioned, around mile 23 I had to stop for a moment to stretch out my quad. At this time, the girl I had been running with continued on her way and after giving it a good stretch I was ready to do the same. I ran alone for the next couple of miles, which included a stretch up the main street of Logan. Funny enough, while running up this semi-busy road I noticed my husband in one of the cars stuck in the traffic. I was on mile 25, and he was attempting to get to the finish line before me (don’t worry, he made it).
About one mile before the finish line the 41/2 hour pacer caught up with me, so I decided to finish the race with her. She was a doll! So sweet!
At the finish line my husband was there taking pictures and ready to completely take care of me.
Immediately after the race my legs were a little shaky so I waited in the grass while my hubby got the car. Unfortunately, from there we had no where to go but home because we had already checked out of the hotel, so I had to sit in the car for 2 hours to drive home. Lucky me though, my husband stopped at a Maverik for a Dr. Pepper slushie 😀
I took a few days completely off from exercise. After about day 3 I started doing upper body workouts again, and a week later went on my first run since the marathon.
The Top of Utah marathon went well! My official time was 4:28:06 which is over a half hour better than my Salt Lake Marathon last year, so I was very happy! The hubs got some great pictures, and I met a new friend! I really enjoyed the fact that there was a beautiful scenery the entire time to look at as well as a downhill glide for the first 14 miles. I highly suggest this marathon for anyone, especially first timers! 2 thumbs up from me for the Top of Utah Marathon!
The Top of Utah Marathon comes down the Logan canyon of Logan, Utah during the month of September. This year the race was on Saturday September 17.
The cost was quite reasonable for a marathon, I signed up for the race in July, two months ahead of time, and it cost $90.
I currently reside in Utah County, which means that I did have to get myself all the way up to Logan (about a 2 hour drive). Seeing that I was going to have to be there by 5am Saturday morning, my husband and I chose to go up the night before and stay in a local hotel (we chose the La Quinta). I highly suggest doing so for anyone that does not live in the immediate Logan area; however, be sure to book early, because the hotels in the town end up very full that night for this very reason.
The great thing about staying in a local hotel, was that the Top of Utah race came around and picked up all the people at the hotels and took them to the park. From the park, we got on a second school bus that shuttled us up to the top of the mountain.
At the top of the mountain there was a heated tent, that was actually warm! Thank heaven, seeing as it was about 34 degrees outside that morning. Plus, plenty of Port O’ Potties available.
The swag was pretty good, but the goody bag lacked (think the lack of supporters at the expo had something to do with this too). Each finisher got a medal in the shape of Utah with a runner and moose inside and a long sleeve technical shirt; this year’s shirt was grey with writing and patterns in blue.
The pre-race goody bag lacked quite a bit….in fact, I’ve participated in 5ks with better pre-race packets than this! There were a few coupons for local stores (which was a little pointless since most of the runners that participate are from out of town), 1 GU, and that was it!
Much like the goody bag, the pre-race expo was underwhelming. I believe there was one clothing place there, with very little to look through, someone selling a protein drink, and then an Altra representative to talk about their shoes. That was it! I believe my husband and I spent all of about 10 minutes there before we took off to do our own thing.
Race support was phenomenal; as previously mentioned there were buses that drove us up the canyon to a heated tent (that was actually warm). There were plenty of Port O’Potties at the start line, and then again at every single mile for all 26.2 miles. There were aide stations every couple of miles for the first half of the marathon, and then every single mile for the last 10 miles or so. The aide stations included both Gatorade and water, as well as drop boxes for any extra clothing runners wanted to get rid of on the way down (the race started at 34 degrees and ended at 75 degrees). At a few of the stations there were also different kinds of fruit and GUs available.
As for other race support, as we ran through the surrounding neighborhoods many people were outside their homes cheering all the runners on. Lots of spectators were handing out food and even otter pops (I LOVED that person). It was a really fun and welcoming community to run through.
THIS is what made this marathon a spectacular one (the picture to the right doesn’t do it justice)! For the entire first half of the marathon runners come down a canyon filled with color, aspen trees, gorgeous mountains, etc. In fact, this year, we happened to have run during the harvest moon, and for the first few miles we all got to watch a most spectacular scene of this massive moon just above a mountain filled with colors of red, green, yellow, and orange. After about mile 14, the marathon continues out of the canyon and through a few neighborhoods before finishing at a park. Even through the neighborhoods it was gorgeous, much of the Logan area is farmland so there were lots of open nature areas through the towns. We only had to run one busy street the entire time and it was only for about a mile (unlike my previous marathon in Salt Lake City).
The finish line was great, it was set up at a park and of course filled with people ready to cheer you on for the last few meters. There was a photographer right there at the finish so both my husband and the race photographer got some great shots of this accomplishment as I flashed a few thumbs up 🙂
The after race snacks were pretty good; goldfish, chocolate milk, oranges, bananas, apples, juice, ice cream, and more. Many people stuck around the park to stretch and wait for the awards ceremony, nothing too spectacular past that, but I did enjoy the fact that it was at a park with ample area for runners to recoup, stretch, sit, or even walk around.
Oh, and side note, I totally got chosen as the cover shot for the finish line on the Elevate Images website, how fun!
Have you run the Top of Utah Marathon? What were your thoughts? What race is next on your list?