Crossing the finish line at The Gateway—that’s what participating in the Salt Lake City Marathon is all about, as well as the lingering sense of accomplishment. These joyful feelings are enhanced by the cheers and encouragement of 20,000 spectators along the way. Being one of the celebratory onlookers, surrounded by music and food, is pretty swell, too.
Utah’s premier running event takes over the Salt Lake Valley on April 16, starting early. A non-competitive bike tour begins at 6 a.m., followed by the wheelchair and hand cyclists at 6:10 a.m. The half and full marathons begin at 7 a.m. The course starts at the University of Utah’s George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge, dropping in elevation as it careens through Sugar House, down to Holladay, then heads north to Liberty Park and, finally, up State Street before ending at The Gateway. The manageable 5K starts and ends at The Gateway. Runners can register at the free Quality of Life Expo at the Salt Palace April 14-15, open to the public.
The day isn’t just for endurance athletes. At both starting lines, guest speakers will say a few inspirational words as onlookers and participants gather for the first whistle. Along the final mile of the course is a “celebration station” for holding up motivational signs, cheering and giving out high-fives. At the glorious finish, the Finish Line Festival offers a chance to kick back, consume some refreshments and slap some backs after one inspiring day of motion.
Salt Lake City Marathon @ various courses and start times, finish @ Olympic Legacy Plaza, The Gateway, 48 N. Rio Grande St., April 16, SaltLakeCityMarathon.com