Big Cottonwood Marathon and Fall Race Planning

Image I’ve done my research.  I’ve looked at the pictures, and runner comments, and course.  This race looks absolutely incredible!  I must sign up, and fast! This race, just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, is mainly a downhill course.  I have never been to Utah, and this seems like a pretty great opportunity to check out the area and its beauty. Looking at Fall races, and trying to put together a good schedule, a few things have occurred.  First off, I really enjoyed the Asheville City Marathon I ran last September.  I planned on going back, spending race weekend in the mountains and enjoying the Fall foliage.  A few months ago, even though they had already started the registration process for this coming year, they cancelled the event completely, and gave refunds to all that had registered.  This left me with a hole in my Fall schedule.  I also decided (since it’s free to enter) to put my name in the hat for the Chicago Marathon, in October. Distance race planning can be tough.  Making sure you have to funds, travel, new races versus old races, rest time, etc., a lot goes in to the planning schedule.  Summer here is too hot for racing, so I generally get a lot of training miles in.  These training miles in the tough summer heat always leave me well prepared for a great Fall racing season. So…. Options….   Big Cottonwood Full in Utah, mid September. image A week later the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon in Tennessee put on by Vacation Races.  These two races, on back to back weekends lead me to think of just taking the entire 12 day stretch off as vacation time from work. October…. Rock ‘n’ Rebellion Half on the 5th, here in Raleigh. Depending on the lottery, maybe Chicago mid month.  Not sure I could afford a trip to both Utah and Chicago in the Fall.  Fun to think about though. Greensboro Marathon on the 18th, followed by the Bull City Race Fest Half on the 19th. ( both of which I am already registered for) November… City of Oaks Half Marathon on the 2nd, with my son.  (Registered already) Not sure if the season will continue after that race.  I have the opportunity to head to Spacecoast Marathon in December, or have always wanted to run Kiawah Marathon, which is also in December.  We’ll have to see how it all pans out.  Race planning is fun, isn’t it?

Do you have any big plans for the Fall this year?

6 thoughts on “Big Cottonwood Marathon and Fall Race Planning

  1. I ran Big Cottonwood last year. Great race. The first 17 ish miles are downhill and then you run through the town and side streets. Great support in town. The scenery was amazing. We were all cold and in fact I didn’t drop my long sleeve shirt until mile 18. I would do this race again: the medal, swag and atmosphere were perfect. Practice some downhill before you get here or you will hurt during and especially after! When someone says “it’s downhill so it must be easy,” I know they must not be a runner… Enjoy!

    • Thanks for the tips. Sounds like a great race to me, and sounds like you really enjoyed it. Running this event requires an investment in flights from the east coast. Would plan a few extra days there. Anything I should go and see or explore while there?

  2. Hi Paul,

    Big Cottonwood is practically in my backyard. Just a word of warning on this race: it is all downhill. Sounds easy but it isn’t. I ran a half in 2012 with 1500 drop in the first 3 miles. It was great but the next day I could hardly move. I would highly recommend you get some downhill training. I don’t think my knees could tolerate that race so I tend to avoid the extreme downhill ones.

    The canyon will be absolutely beautiful at that time of year and the weather should be ideal. I imagine though that as you get back into the valley it will get warm, where as the top it could be 10 – 15 degrees cooler.

    Also, keep in mind you will be at altitude. I think you are pretty much at sea level but that marathon starts at over 7000 feet (I think there are some canyons that get up to 9000). The air will be thinner. It takes some adjustment and some people are more prone to issues than others.

    Fall marathons for me: I am doing Vegas again and I am going to try and get into St. George. If you haven’t done that one, you should look into it. Supposedly an awesome marathon.

    Also when you are here and if you want a mni-Vegas vacation, consider driving out to Wendover. It is only 110 miles west and it is a mini-Vegas. Plus the drive out there is unreal.

    Hit me up when it gets closer to race day. Maybe we’ll hang out.


    • Sounds great! And thanks for the tips. I’ve run Blue ridge which has some pretty fair descents, so I know what you mean about tough. I’ll have to look at Wendover. Might be a fun side trip. I will be out there again late August.

      • There are no shortages of marathons out here Paul. Ogden (which is in May and has a lottery system) is also stunning and well-run. Layton, in September is also interesting although small (a few hundred people). There is also one in South Jordan at which is also well run, but less exotic. Definitely chat with me before you come. Also the Wyndam Suites on Fort Union in SLC (technically Cottonwood Heights) is a good place to stay and close to your Big Cottonwood Marathon.

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