Top 3 Utah Marathons to Add to Your Bucket List

Updated: Sep 15

Wait a second! A running post? Aren't you just about travel on the Minivan Bucket list?


Yes, you've got that right about my love for Utah travel. But while I love discovering our beloved state in the minivan with my cute family, I am also an avid distance runner. With that said, I am always down for adding a new race and a PR to the Utah Bucket List. I hope you will consider it too!



WHY RUN RACES IN UTAH?

Short answer: It is beautiful but will also make you a better runner.


I grew up running Utah's terrain with my dad---a 2:47 marathoner. His daily run consisted of steep up and down the canyon runs and he dragged me along. It was brutal but prepared me for sea level races like Boston and Santa Barbara.

For example, at Boston I dreaded Heartbreak Hill, until I found myself at the top of it asking a guy next to me "When do we hit Heartbreak?" His response was "You just ran it." Now, I'm not diminishing Heartbreak--it's a tough spot on the course. But compared to the Rocky Mountains, it felt pretty small. Life in Utah is elevated: High altitude and intense steep terrain are reasons elite athletes come here to train. Don't believe me? Shalane Flanagan often came to Park City, UT for intense training before her Olympic games.


You will improve your performance at other races by racing or training in Utah.

WHY ADD THESE SPECIFIC MARATHONS TO MY BUCKET LIST?

Mostly because they are fast and beautiful courses. Next, they are close to many things to do in Utah with my loved ones. Finally, for me they are nostalgic since I a native Utahan. My goal is to accomplish what my dad did: Run a Sub 3 marathon on one of these courses.


I want to have my kids witness me accomplish my running bucket list.



There are a few factors to choosing a good marathon:

  1. Location/Things to do

  2. Course

  3. Environment

  4. Logistics

  5. Boston Qualifier

3. Huntsville Marathon

Most Affordable

Ogden, Utah

September

Location: Beautiful, Scenic, Greater Ogden/Outdoors

Course: Beautiful, downhill, PR

Environment: healthy competition

Logistics: Inexpensive Well managed, running photos

BQ: Yes, about 21% qualify


The Huntsville Marathon has gained popularity over the years and for a good reason. I've wanted to add it to the bucket list because the gradual downhill drop of 3500 feet for 26 miles is a marathoner's dream. In addition, the fall colors and views of Pineview reservoir would be a breathtaking view for 3 hours. This course also has a PR score of 104.


This race is also fairly inexpensive with an $85 registration fee compared to the average $129 of other Utah marathons.



I also am drawn to Huntsville because of how small the field size is. About 350 runners take to the course each year but there is $15,000 worth of cash prizes awarded to those who participate. So, you're likely to get something. I once won a half marathon and was rewarded a $3 pumpkin pie at a fairly large race. Do I appreciate any prize? Sure. But I do like to see race organizations try harder than a pie. Yes. To most, cash is king--Huntsville knows what's up.


MY MUST HAVE RACE DAY ITEMS FOR A DOWNHILL COURSE

Garmin Forerunner Watch 235 the most popular and more affordable running watch

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones bluetooth beats wires any day

Calf Compression Sleeves saves your calves from the downhill pounding

Asics Thick Socks say goodbye to foot blisters with these

Bodyglide Anti-blister rub this on your feet before you put on thick socks

Asics Gel Nimbus- I own these in 7 different colors. It is like running on clouds.

Champion Speed Running Shorts A perfect loose fit

Criss-Cross Support Sports Bra Keep your chest safe and snug

Adidas Windbreaker this will save you from the freezing temps at the start of the race

I'm excited to add this race to the bucket list because there are so many things to do in the beautiful Ogden area. One of our favorite places to go as a family is paddle boarding at Pineview Reservoir because it is one of Utah's best sandy beaches.




WHERE TO STAY:

Marriott Courtyard Ogden


THINGS TO CHECK OFF THE UTAH BUCKET LIST BEFORE OR AFTER THE RACE:

  • Visit Antelope Island