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Monday, June 15, 2015

Utah Valley Marathon, June 2015

Saturday, I ran my second full marathon, the Utah Valley Marathon.  Pain you enjoy they say..... I picked this race for a few reasons.  Some friends were training for it, and it was highly rated online, and even in Runners World.

Utah Valley Marathon was selected as best marathon for 2014 by Runner’s World Magazine. June 2012, Runner’s World made a list of reasons to run the Utah Valley Marathon.  So, now you know why, even after I said one and done (read about my last marathon here and here.). Now, let's talk about the race details. 

All proceeds go directly to charity (see the list of charities here). Price: $95 - $125 depending on when you sign up. Most importantly, I recommend getting a hotel in downtown Provo the night before the race. Marriott has a special block reserved for runners and a double room runs about $140 a night. 

The race starts at 6 am in Wallsburg, Utah, up Provo Canyon. There is no available parking at the starting line and no drop-offs are allowed.

Everyone is taking the bus at dark o thirty.

The primary marathon bus pick-up is just north of the Provo Marriot Hotel & Conference Center (101 West 100 North Provo, UT). The Provo Marriott is about two blocks from the finish line. The first Marriott bus leaves at 3:00 A.M. and the last bus leaves at 4:15 A.M. The half marathon has a different pickup location and time. 

Aid stations at miles were at 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26.2. Each aid station had both water and Powerade. Oranges and bananas were provided at miles 11, 15, 21, and 24. Miles 7, 13 and 19 had CLIF Shot gels.

The bus drops you off at the start around 4:30 am depending on what bus you take.  You watch the sunrise while waiting for the 6 am start.  You can bring some throwaway clothes at the start to keep you warm while you wait for the race.  You can also use your gear bag as a gear check with any clothing and goodies you want to keep.  There are also fire pits and water at the start line to keep you warm and hydrated while you wait.  While the fires were a good idea, the smoke was a little obnoxious.  

The course is known for its beauty and amazing sights along the way.  From Wallsburg, you pass by the Deer Creek reservoir, the half marathon start, Bridal Veil Falls, Scenic Provo River with fly fisherman, the BYU stadium, and downtown Provo.  


Olive has been to a bunch of my races and her reaction when she seems me is probably the best in the world.  Clearly I was quite excited to see her too. 

Positives: The course was very scenic with the Provo River, falls, and the geography of the canyon. The left side of the road was also closed down to traffic so runners had an entire road to run on.

Negatives: A large portion of the course was on a concrete road. This was rough on the knees. While the canyon was gorgeous, it was also impossible for anyone to cheer. This was a really quiet race until mile 20 when you Provo and are out of the canyon.

If you do want to cheer, there are many good locations to cheer along University Avenue in Provo, and a few locations in the canyon with parking. If you choose to go cheer for your athletes in the canyon be very cautious of the runners and vehicles. The traffic is limited to one Provo bound lane, and may be difficult to cross. The parks they recommend for best spectating in the canyon include: Mount Timpanogos Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn’s Park & Deer Creek State Park.

I ran the entire race with Andy and Laura.  Andy has run a few marathons, and this was Laura's first.  I had no time goals what so ever (my training was quite minimal) so I stuck with the girls the entire race and really enjoyed the company.  Misery loves company. 

I was so happy to see these Otter Pops at mile 20 something.  I was amazed at how good this tasted.  Maybe it was the fact that they are delicious, or maybe it is just that it was an ice pop on a hot summer day 20 miles into a marathon, 

I really liked that the finish was a straight shot.  You could see the arch a while out and it was motivating to see the end that last mile.  There was a lot of food at the finish including oranges, bananas, bread, ice cream, water, and powerade.  There were massage tents and an ice bath available.  We sat in the shade for a bit and stretched before heading back to the hotel for a shower. 

I ran the marathon in 4:30 at a 10:13 average.  We had the goal of maintaining a 10:00 pace the entire race and we did a pretty good job.  We ran all of the race, only stopping to walk through the water stations to hydrate.  

The race was downhill, down the canyon, with a few hills along the way.  I was really confident, charging up all the hills while some people had to stop and walk (thanks Utah !).  The scenery and the downhill aspect of the course really helped with this race.  I felt good (as good as 26.2 feels) with the exception of knee pain.  I think the different model of shoes and the concrete worked against me this race. I finished with a smile on my face and was so happy to refuel with friends. 

The group decided on Mexican for post race food.  And I was quite excited to see french fries on the menu.  So after 26.2 miles, I had street tacos and french fries.  

This was a fun race with great friends.  I would recommend this race to someone looking for a scenic race with a lot of decline.  With that said, no more marathons for me!  Sticking to halfs and smaller races for now! 

1 comment :

  1. Famous last words ;)
    Awesome job on your second marathon! So nice you had a friends to stick with. It really does make it go a little better, doesn't it?
    Tacos and fries... so jealous of your meal! But then again, I don't want to run 26.2 to earn that!


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