I have participated in most marathons and half marathons in Utah, and I can honestly say this is by far and away the best one. The scenery can't be beat with Bridal Veil Falls, Provo River, and Deer Creek. I love that this race doesn't take you out of the canyon until mile 21! Many other marathons in Utah have half, or sometimes even more than half of the race winding through ugly parts of town. This race is not too steep downhill. There are some races that kill your quads, but I was able to run Ragnar the week after this race without any problems.
Don't go too hard on the first half (that is true of any race). Also get a cheap hoodie you don't care to lose that you can shed on course after the first few miles. That starting line is cold.
Make sure that you stay at the Provo Marriott. This hotel is right next to the expo, and only one block from the finish.
They go the extra mile
By ra about 2017
I like the PR bell in the finish (I was able to ring that bell by setting my personal record). I also liked that they had mist machines the last few miles to cool us off. The race was not super hot, but it was nice to have mist a few places in the last miles.
Take the last buses (they start busing super early... probably to beat the heat).
The Marriott is the place to stay, expo next door, busses to the start across the street, finish line a block away, the staff is very welcoming and they have everything including a bar if you want to indulge in a post race toast. However, I had a room on the South tower and a band played in the parking lot until probably 10 right below my windowÖnot cool when your alarm is set for 3am.
By Fred D. about 2013
Reasonably well-run marathon with a very (!) scenic course. Expo pretty much a dud, but with small group that is to be expected.
Buses leave very early to take people to the starting line as there is no parking and no drop-off at the start. I caught a bus at 3am, so I had relatively little sleep the night before. Arrived at the start at 4am, so I had 2 hours to kill prior to the start! Temps were in the 40ís, but there were a number of campfires going in a nearby field to keep everyone warm, which was nice. Water and Power Aid at the start, but no food, so I did not have anything to eat prior to the race (big mistake). It would be great if they provided some food at the start, particularly since the wait is so long.
Starts off on an asphalt surface with a lot of gentle downhill. Sounds easy enough, but donít be fooled. This race has a lot of downhill which is hard on the knees and quads. Added to that, the surface turns to concrete at about mile 7 for the rest of the race, which is also very hard on the knees and quads. My legs were screaming at mile 20 and the last six miles were painful. Fortunately, the last 6 miles are on a flat stretch, so I was able to keep running despite the pain. Nonetheless, I was not prepared for the extent of the downhill elevation profile, and my legs were really beat up by the finish. Hard to walk at all for the rest of the day. My Garmin showed an elevation gain of 780 ft, with an elevation loss of 2,450 ft.
Also, this run is at a high elevation (starts at 6250 feet), especially for those training close to sea level. I flew in the evening of June 6 and ran the race on June 8. Donít know what impact that had. On the positive side, temps at the start were in the 40ís, rising to the 70ís at the end of the race. Humidity is low, so keep well hydrated.
Almost zero crowd support, as one would expect. Not a big deal considering how awesomely scenic the race was. Some support along the last 6 miles, but big crowd shows up at the finish line. Food at the finish was not plentiful. I ate bananas and some power aid to recover. Not much else available that I could see. Nice park to lay down in, relax, and enjoy the sun and satisfaction of having just finished the race. Medal was good, large, with the now popular spinning portion in the middle.
Overall, a good experience, but I think in the future I will be more wary of the races with a large downhill profile. Despite some of the difficulties, I was still able to PR.
Bring something to eat while waiting at the start. Drinks are provided but no food. Also, bring something to sit on, like a piece of cardboard. The field is loaded with burrs and is uncomfortable for sitting. Two hours is a long time to stand!
You may be tempted to start fast given the gentle downhill for the first 7 miles. Be cautious. Do some of your training an downhill course if possible. Some weight or resistance training for your legs, especially your quads, is highly recommended. Do not underestimate the difficulties of a downhill course!
With low humidity, you my be tempted to drink less. Stay well-hydrated.
Stayed at the Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Hotel offers marathon discount and is only a block from the Conference Center (Expo) and the finish line. Provo is about a 40 minute ride from the SLC airport.
Provo is mostly Mormon, so not many coffee shops or bars. Many restaurants don\'t serve alcohol. Not a problem pre-race, but if you want a drink the night after the race, you may have to look around a bit. Get tips from hotel concierge. Salt Lake City is about 40 minutes away, but has a lot of good restaurants and it is much easier to get a cup of good coffee and a drink. Great place to go after the race.
Marriott is also only a couple of blocks from where the buses pick you up to go to the starting line. No parking or drop-off at the starting line. You have to take the bus.
Race is at altitude. What can I say. Not many can come 2 weeks early to adjust, so I suggest getting there only a day or two prior to the start. If you know ahead of time that you have difficulty adjusting to higher altitudes, then this may not be the race for you. However, the race is below 6500\', so it is not a big problem for most.
By jlarson about 2013
This was my second marathon, and after my first marathon I knew the experience would be hard to beat....Someone dropped the ball and they had NO PORTA_POTTIES during the entire 26 miles. They had them at the beginning and the end. It was awful, people just started finding weeds, or rocks to go behind. That made the entire experience unbearable!!!!!
A useful tip, always make sure the race describes where the bathrooms are. PS immodium AD will be your best friend. Don't forget to train with shot blocks, gu, or some snack to give you calories to burn, and don't forget to drink water when you train!!!!!!!!!!!!!!