Entries to the St. George marathon have closed. The Salt Lake City and Provo marathons are long past. But there are still quite a few gems remaining when it comes to running long but survivable distances.
Many of Utah’s marathon events offer half marathons as well as10Ks and 5Ks that allow new runners or those more comfortable with lesser distances to compete. The half-marathon event is usually $10 less than the marathon entry fee. There are also events that consist only of a half marathon. But register quickly: Utah marathons and half marathons fill up amazingly fast. Here are five unique and beautifully scenic races:
1. LITTLE GRAND CANYON MARATHON/HALF MARATHON
This scenic race starts in Huntington, a small town near Price. “There are a few small hills near Mile 4, but it’s mostly downhill, so it’s not really difficult,” says organizer Jared Haddock. “Little Grand Canyon is part of the San Rafael Swell; it’s not an actual part of the Grand Canyon, but it has the same kind of scenery. There are pictographs throughout the canyon, so you’ll be running past history.” Runners give this race rave reviews. Participation isn’t as high as some other Utah marathons, so you can enjoy running through the tranquility of nature rather than through a large crowd.
Sept. 8, Huntington, MammothMarathons.org/little-grand-canyon-marathon
2. THE HUNTSVILLE MARATHON/
This race is a good excuse to visit the roomy, rural Huntsville area, which so many visitors to nearby Snowbasin Resort ignore. You’ll be bussed to the start in Monte Cristo to run a gentle downhill course that shows off fiery autumn leaves in all their glory. Since the route is all downhill, it might be a good first marathon or half marathon for runners looking to improve their race endurance.
Sept. 29, Huntsville, HuntsvilleUtahMarathon.com
3. MESQUITE “TRI STATES” MARATHON/ HALF MARATHON
This race allows runners to brag that they ran through three states in one day: Participants jaunt through Nevada, Arizona and Utah. There’s a catch, however: The hills don’t start until Mile 18. There are some pretty steep climbs over the final eight miles. Another catch: roads stay open, so motor traffic has priority—the race faces traffic. After the start, runners are expected to stay in line, only two or three abreast, or even single file if traffic is heavy. But hey, there’s a $2,500 purse for the marathon and $1,500 for the half marathon (the entry fee is $75).
Nov. 17, Mesquite, MesquiteMarathon.com
4. LOGAN PEAK TRAIL RUN
Organizers don’t call this a marathon, because it’s actually 28 miles. It’s also perhaps the highest-altitude marathon in Utah, starting at 4,847 feet and climbing to 9,710 feet by Mile 14 before descending to repeat the looping course. “It attracts a different group of runners, because it’s an off-road race,” says organizer Bruce Copeland. “It’s probably one of the most scenic races in Utah.” Entry fee is $60.
June 30, Logan, LoganPeakRun.com
5. LEGACY MIDNIGHT RUN
This North Salt Lake-to-Farmington event is a fun race that totally glows. Runners must wear glow sticks provided by the organizers, or personal glow-in-the-dark items. Flashing lighted balloons serve as markers, along with LED stakes outlining the course. The start is at 10 p.m.; racers who finish by midnight get a medal with a flashing light. You’ll definitely be laughing in the dark. There’s also a 10K and 5K, which take place in Farmington. Entry fees are $52-$57.
Aug. 3, North Salt Lake, LegacyMidnightRun.com