Race Review: Utah Valley Half Marathon

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a race that wasn’t for Bibrave. I found the Utah Valley Half while searching the internet and figured since I needed Utah for my quest of 50 states, it was worth the flight to Salt Lake City and the drive to Provo. The fact the course was all downhill didn’t hurt things at all.

After waking up ridiculously early on Friday, I had a direct flight from Spokane to SLC and was in by 9 AM. I picked up my rental car and had a straight shot to Provo. Packet pick up was 10 AM to 9 PM on Friday since the race was on Saturday. I was able to go straight to the Utah Valley Convention Center to the Expo. Packet pick up was pretty easy, though you couldn’t look up your bib numbers before you got there, you had to leaf through books to find them; too bad I didn’t see the bulletin boards with them posted until afterwards. You got a string bag, your bib and a jacket. There were local vendors set up, as well as Brooks and some National Running Store shops. Afterwards, I went and found an early lunch and checked into my hotel. A little cat nap didn’t hurt things either and I followed that up with a 4 mile run in 80* weather. I was able to find dinner and walk around town a little bit, though the town is on the small side. There may or may not have been outlet malls 20 minutes away that I went to for some shopping…

Saturday, I was up bright and early at 315 AM. Since the race was point to point, we had to be shuttled to the start. Luckily, the shuttle pick up was at the Provo Town Center across from my hotel. The last shuttle left at 430 AM, so the goal was to get to the pick up before the last shuttle left. It took 20 minutes and change to get to the half marathon start (which was the half way point for the full) and also happened to be half way up the mountains. My shuttle got there at 430 AM, which meant 90 minutes of waiting. I wish they would have had the half shuttles until 5 AM because we sat around waiting for a long time and it was chilly. I was glad I brought a throw away long sleeved shirt. Luckily, they had fire pits going to keep us warm. Plenty of porta potties, some water and some music were going. They also had a bag drop truck if you were checking a bag.

The race started promptly at 6 AM (as did the full from 13.1 miles up the mountain). By then, the sun was out and it was starting to warm up some. I had to make a bathroom pit stop half way through the first mile, but it covered me for the rest of the race. It also meant I had time to make up. The course itself was very scenic. Our side of the road was shut off for the entire time we were on the highway. Mile markers were every mile and there were water stops the every 2 miles for the first 10 miles and then every mile for the last 3 miles. ¬†After a 10:50 min first mile, I was pulling sub 9 minute miles the rest of the race. Around mile 8, the 10K runners joined in with us. They had started on an off shoot of the course for the first mile and the last 5 and change were on the main course for them. The downside is that by the time they joined us, the 1:55-2:00 half marathoners were hitting the back of the packers of the 10K, which got really frustrating when I knew I was getting close to running sub 2 hours. After some weaving in and out, I was able to get out of the walkers for the most part. I don’t even think I stopped for water at last water stop or 2 in order to be sure I got under 2 hrs. Officially came in at 1:55:42 and got to ring the PR bell as I came through the finisher chute.

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Plenty of food, chocolate milk and things to do. There was a station to print off your preliminary results as well as some vendors. If you checked your bag, the bag check was off to the side. It was pick up based off the honor system in a sense, as you had to find your own bag. I took the shuttle back to the drop off point and walked back to the hotel. After I showered, I found lunch, did some driving around and relaxed the rest of the afternoon.

Overall a great race, definitely one to go and run. I have the full on my bucket list to do, especially knowing how the last half of the course is. Please go out and run this race!

 

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