St. George Marathon: Fast, Scenic, & Runner Focused!
In October 2014, I was lucky enough to get an entry into the popular St. George Marathon in The City of St. George, Utah. This is known as one of the fastest Fall marathons in the country due to its point to point course with over 2,500 feet net descent.
Because of the location, this is also a popular race to build a trip around – and I did just that, traveling there to run the race with my sister-in-law and surprising my nearly 11 year old son with an early birthday surprise by using a companion plane ticket!
This is a beautiful, well-organized race. The race starts at 7 a.m., but because it is point to point, there is some travel to get to the start. We had to catch the bus at 4 a.m. for a ride to the top of Snow Canyon. It was a windy and chilly wait until the race started at 7 am. Even though there were 7,000 runners, we all received mylar blankets while waiting at the start. They also had hundreds of bonfires lit to keep us warm while we waited, along with plenty of port-a-potties and food.
Once we were off, the course had plenty of water stops, gels, and even volunteers rubbing on icy-hot for those who needed it. With temperatures rising throughout the day, they even had water misting stops to run through towards the end and cold wash-cloths along the way. There was lots of crowd support the last few miles to keep you going!
And the finish was great, with all kinds of food and beverages – truly the most variety and abundance of food I have seen at any race! I loved the unique medal made of red ‘stone’ – like the canyon we ran down.
This is definitely one to put on your list!
Keep in mind that while this is a fast course, there are challenges:
- It is at an elevation of 5,000 ft, which is higher than most experience (I trained at 900 ft).
- The temperature changes quite a bit from start to finish. For us, it was only 41 at the start – freezing! I finished with temps in the upper 60’s.
- At mile seven, there is a 1 mile 6% uphill grade called ‘Veyo” – which is totally tough, but OK if you run it smart and plan for it.
- There are also a number of steep downhills, so it is important to keep an even effort — running the uphills much slower than your average pace and the steep downhills much faster.
Next year’s race is October 3, 2015, and the number of runners will be capped at 7,800. Unless you fall within certain categories, you have to participate in a lottery to get a spot. Online registration for the lottery opens on April 1, 2015, 8:00 a.m. Good luck!