Swap a road trip for a marathon adventure in The Beehive State
Utah is one of the ultimate road trip destinations – but you don’t need to be driving a car to get the most from it. The rugged mountain state is speedily emerging as a road running mecca.
With some of the most spectacular roadside scenery in the US, it’s no surprise that Utah’s popularity among runners of all ages, levels and abilities has seen a swathe of competitive races spring up in recent years too.
Running is an excellent way to engage with the state’s remarkable landscape, used so often as a Hollywood backdrop. But for those keen to push themselves further and fly home with a medal in hand, here are five of the best races for tourists to enter.
1. Escalante Canyons Marathon: Boasting immense mountain scenery, this route follows Utah’s All-American Scenic Highway 12, described as one of the world’s most beautiful roadways. Runners race through gorges lined with majestic sandstone cliffs, over the famous Hogsback ridge, and past the rich red rocks of Calf Creek Canyons.
When: 14 October 2017
To enter: www.escalantecanyonsmarathon.
2. Utah Midnight Run – Legacy Highway: This one has something for everyone – 5K, 10K and half-marathon – and is contested under a full moon, glow sticks in hand. The idea is to ‘chase the midnight hour’ along picturesque Legacy Highway, making it to the finish line before the clock strikes 12.
When: June/July 2018
To enter: www.utahmidnightrun.com
3. Salt Lake City Marathon: Recently dubbed a ‘super cool hipster haven’ by the Boston Globe, Utah’s capital is rapidly evolving making it so much more than just a mountain gateway. The annual city marathon is a fantastic way to explore this cool urban destination.
When: 21 April 2018
To enter: www.saltlakecitymarathon.com
4. Top of Utah Races: Fast and beautiful, this Northern Utah race series ranges from full and half marathons to the popular 15K Top of Utah Freedom Run. The route slices through some of the most gorgeous mountain scenery in the US, but is notoriously flat. Plus the marathon doubles as a Boston qualifier, so if that’s your ultimate goal, this is a great place to smash your personal best.
When: The next series runs July-September 2018
To enter: www.topofutahmarathon.com
5. Sand Hollow Marathon: Southern Utah’s leading marathon, this route starts and finishes in the beautiful little town of Hurricane. The star of the show, however, is Sand Hollow State Park – a picture-perfect rural setting near the edge of Zion National Park, only two hours from Las Vegas by car.
When: 10 March 2018
To enter: www.sandhollowmarathon.net