6 Destination Races
6 Destination RacesBy Coach Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.comRacing and traveling is a great combination and many runners are taking time out for “staycations” and “race-cations.” Racing is the best reason to travel in my opinion and I have a personal goal of racing in all fifty-states in my lifetime. If you are looking for some beautiful and scenic races here in Utah, check out these destination-worthy races:Canyonlands Half Marathon aka Moab Half – March 17, 2018This is one of my personal favorites. Runners are shuttled up to the start and the route winds down the canyon running on the road along the Colorado River ending at the Swanny City Park. It is a well-organized early season event in Southern Utah. This long standing event started in 1976 and offers a 10-year club. The event really draws a crowd with hundreds of participants in the half marathon and five mile event (a unique distance you don’t see too often). Moab is a half-day drive from Denver and 3-4 hours from Salt Lake. Lodging options range from camping to family-friendly five-star hotels. There is plenty of hiking in the area with parks nearby; Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park and a large amount of BLM and Wilderness Study Area Land. People like to explore with jeeps, ATV’s, mountain bikes, hikes, rock climbing or explore the Colorado River with white river rafting! Learn more: https://www.madmooseevents.com/canyonlands-half-marathonZions Half Marathon – April 28, 2018People travel from all over the world to experience the spender of Zions with all the many trails and beautiful scenic red rocks. The Zions Half takes place in Virgin, Utah. While you are there take up some horseback riding, or check out the Buffalo Trails Trading Company Restaurant/Museum to learn about the area. Traveling with kids? Make a stop at Fort Zion’s petting farm or explore the wilderness on some mountain bikes or camp-out at the Ranch after you tour the half marathon course. The event is held on the west side of the park on Smith Mesa featuring a new route this year. Although this race is not technically a “trail race” it is mostly dirt. Be sure and register early as this race sells out quick. Learn more: https://vacationraces.com/half-marathons/zion/Ogden Marathon – May 19, 2018The Ogden Marathon is the biggest single outdoor marathon in Utah and is known for its outdoor beauty and scenery with world class views and competition; it’s no wonder the phrase “Get out a live” is a commonly associated with the area. It is also the home to the Hill Aerospace Museum and Union Station. Take your little ones to Cold Springs Trout Farm and catch fish, or tour the Botanical Gardens. The George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is also a big hit for the family; be sure to take quarters to feed the fish there. As for the race, it draws people from all over the country to compete as well as local athletes. A well-known Winter Run Circuit series of races; 10K, 10 miler, Half and 30K, builds up to the full or half marathon events in May. I can attest to the beauty of this course as it literally took my breath away running down the canyon. It is so beautiful! I also love the charitable causes that surround this event with the Goal Foundations involvement and its’ benefiting programs. Use the discount code blonderunner18 to save $10 Learn more: https://www.ogdenmarathon.com/Bryce Canyon Half – July 14, 2018 Although I have not personally done this race, it is getting rave reviews from all my running friends as one of their favorites, so it’s one I am adding to my must-do list. This event offers a half marathon, 5K and Color Me Fun Run, so it has something for everyone. It’s well organized with great local support and each aid station has a fun theme with locals compete to win “the best aid station”. They also offer nice tech shirts, medals and great swag. Many stay at the Ruby Inn or if you are a camper like me, make your reservations at the nice campground. Runners who return year after year tell me the route has beautiful scenery and the first 7 mile stretch is downhill making times fast. While you are there, explore the sandstone cliffs on foot, by horse or ATV. Brain Head Ski Resort is also a reason to return in colder months. Learn more: https://www.brycecanyonhalfmarathon.com/Top of Utah Marathon – Sept. 15, 2018The Top of Utah Marathon starts at Hardware Ranch Elk Refuge and tours the beautiful area following the river down the Blacksmith Fork Canyon and eventually winds through down town Logan; home of Utah State University, my alma mater, where I competed on scholarship as a long distance runner and running many miles there, so I can attest to Cache Valley’s great beauty. If you get a chance, explore the hikes up Logan Canyon or stop at the small Zootah at Willow Park with your children. I always like to stop at Gossner’s cheese for a treat after the event. There is a series of races to build you up for the big 26.2 event. This event is great for first-timer marathoners to seasoned athletes alike. Be sure and add this race to your to-do list. Learn more: http://www.topofutahmarathon.com/full-marathon-home/Snow Canyon Half Marathon– Sat. Nov. 3, 2018 This is another beautiful and scenic race through Snow Canyon State Park. The downhill makes for a fast race on this USATF certified route. There is a 5K option as well running on the surrounding trails. Take in an easy hike after the event at Pioneer Park or mosey along the well marked paths of the Red Hills Desert Gardens viewing cactus and local vegetation. Other note- worthy area adventures with children include the St. George’s Children’s Museum or hit the outlets or Kayenta for some shopping. ATVs, golf, duck ponds…you name it, they have it in this great desert mecca. Learn more: https://www.sgcity.org/sportsandrecreation/races/snowcanyonhalf5kkidsrunHappy Running,Coach LoraCoach Lora Erickson is originally from Colorado and was recruited to run for the University and Utah & Utah State University where she finished up her degree in Community Health Education with duel minors in Chemistry and Nutrition. Coach Lora is a certified running, triathlon, cycling and swimming coach and has been coaching for over 25 year. She has a true passion for health promotion and especially loves to work with beginners. She offers online and in-person coaching as well as small group and community classes. To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com
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