Monday, September 21, 2009

Top of Utah Marathon report

Going into this race, the majority of the people who have run it really liked the course and now I know why.
The weather was outstanding. Our hotel had a complimentary breakfast and they opened it at 4 am because of the race. It was a 20 minute bus ride up the canyon to the starting line. We got there in plenty of time to hit the restrooms and get warmed up. By warmed up I mean getting into the tent with all the other runners and the heaters. It took enough of the chill off to be ok.
The first 19 miles of the course was mostly downhill. A gradual 1-2% grade so it didn't shred the calves. The race started. For the first mile I was glad that I had done quite a bit of trail running because I ran along the side of the road to pass people. After that it thinned out enough to squeeze by people. I started off slow and steady not wanting to hit my stride too soon. In retrospect, I think I could have picked it up a little and still be ok.

The aid stations began at mile 3 and were every 2 miles after that. The canyon was fabulous. At times, we got a slight tail wind which felt nice. My upper body tend to take a little more time to warm up so I debated whether to wear a jacket and throw it in one of the clothing drops along the course or just go for it. I'm glad I opted to pack it with my other clothes as I was fine.

The first 14 miles there were no spectators. At mile 14 there were so many people there cheering on the runners that it felt like the finish line. The volunteers on the course were fabulous. There were so many people handing out water and gatorade that I almost felt bad not taking something. Everyone of the volunteers were cheering on the runners. EMTs were at every aid station and the police presence was really good. I saw more than one policeman double checking on a runner as they were stopping traffic.

At mile 20, my energy was shot. I was so grateful for a banana at mile 21. After that, it was one aid station to the next. I knew I could make it one more mile. I also had done a 23 mile run once before so I just kept telling myself that if I had done 23, I could do 3 more. I rounded the corner with 3 blocks left to hear some familiar voices screaming "DAD!!" and then three kids came running beside me telling me to "Keep Going" and "Pick up the pace". They ran with me for about a block and a half.

Finishing was incredible. I had three goals in mind. The supreme goal was a 3:20 marathon, the middle goal was 3:30-3:40 and the other was "finish the damn thing in one piece". I ended with a 3:45 so I am pleased with the time.

The post race was cool. They had a live band that was really good, there was plenty of food, chocolate milk, gatorade, water, fat boy ice cream sandwiches. They also had a full-blown Medical station set up with hydration stations set up. Again, the volunteers were everywhere.

We walked back from the race to our hotel which was about 4 blocks away. It was good to just walk and let my muscles cool down and stretch out. I showered quickly then went down to the pool and just waded and stretched out a little more. The water was cool, but not freezing. After a celebratory lunch I came back to the hotel and crashed for a few hours. That night, we took the kids to a movie and just relaxed.

Hats off to the organizers. They stay at the finish until the very last person comes through to congratulate them.

The question is "What's next?" I'll figure that out later in the week.


  1. Congrats on a great race! It's always awesome to have family support on the course when those late miles start becoming tough!

  2. Hello there... I have been searching for some information on the Top of Utah Marathon. I just completed my first marathon in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and I will be running TOU in September. How did the elevation affect you? What hotel did you stay at? Do you recommend booking early? Please email me at
    Thank you...
    I look forward to hearing from you!!