The Top of Utah Marathon in Logan is beautiful. You start about 17 miles up the canyon at Hardware Ranch and run down. The race organization, support and volunteers could not be better.
Running Sherpa and I drove to Logan Friday night after grandpa's party. We got there right at 9:00pm just in time to pick up our packets. I didn't know it when I made hotel reservations but packet pick up was at our hotel. Speaking of hotels, if you need a hotel in Logan the Marriott Springhill Suites is very nice.I laid out my running clothes so everything would be ready in the morning. We got up at 4:15 (3:15 CA time), got ready, ate breakfast at the hotel and went down to Merlin Olsen park to board our busses. When we got to the top there was just enough time to stand in the port a pot line and line up at the start. It was cold but not too bad, I had the black jersey in the picture over my regular shirt. Craig had told me this was a much harder marathon than St. George, he did it when he was doing the Grand Slam and didn't really have a good day. My goal was to do a 5 hour marathon and I fell short, way short. I figured if I kept my pace about 5.2-5.3 mph till about mile 20, I could slow down for the last part which is harder. I'm not sure what happened, my Garmin said I was at 5.2 average at mile 13, but the clock time was about 2:45, I was very discouraged, even subtracting for my chip time start I was off. I ran pretty well till we hit the bottom, the last 10 miles or so are flat/slightly uphill, you can see the Logan temple where the race ends but you still have 10 more miles. According to Milliseconds I was still on track for my 5 hour plus a few finish, but somehow in the last six miles I lost it. Literally and figuratively. The streets kept winding around zig zagging, my pace slowed to hardly a jog, the race walkers passed me and I thought I was still running. It took forever to finish, the last mile I wasn't sure I could go on, I had blisters, my legs felt like stumps and I was an emotional wreck. Then at mile 25.5 or so "I'm a Loser" by the Beatles came on my iPod, it was all I could do not to cry, I couldn't breathe, I just wanted to sit down on the curb and quit. I pulled out my earphones and just kept going and going, where was the finish line....You had to keep running down this street and still make two more turns, too many turns. Yeah I finished but I couldn't smile, I couldn't talk, I was pretty miserable. When we finished there was a nice shady spot for the runners to sit on the lawn, I wanted so bad to sit down, but even with Craig helping me I couldn't sit on the ground.
I definitely felt the altitude at the start I could feel it, and at the end when I was getting a little too emotional I started having a hard time breathing which hasn't happened before. Craig had Motrin in his pocket for me but it had fallen out in the car and my IT band flared up and really hurt the last 10 or so miles. Maybe he left it in the car on purpose, at St. George last year when I told Kerri how much I had taken she said, "Mom! You're not a twenty year old guy!"
This is a scenic marathon, don't let the elevation profile fool you, the bottom part is very hard. I don't think I would do it again but that's only because I didn't have a great experience. I really was undertrained. As far as scenic and race management, I would have to give this race a thumbs up. I'll put some pictures up when I get them.