Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Guest Post: @RunRevel #BigCottonwood Recap #TOTR

Hi everyone!  I am linking up this post with Tuesdays on the Run blog link up with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Run the Great Wide Somewhere

have told you before that I am a Revel Race Series Ambassador.  And I have met some amazing people who are also Ambassadors and who run more races than just Canyon City like I have.  They have run the other two - Rockies and Big Cottonwood.  All Revel races have fast downhill courses in BEAUTIFUL settings!  

So this recap is from fellow Ambassador, the wonderful Jamie Cheney!  Sit back and read and see why Big Cottonwood is a MUST DO!  In fact, this girl is planning on heading to beautiful Salt Lake to participate in the race myself next year on September 10, 2016!  

The Big Cottonwood Marathon is a must do race.  At 5:00 a.m., I boarded the bus.  The buses were extremely well organized and I waited less than 5 minutes before I was on my way up the canyon.  The buses take you 9 miles up beautiful Cottonwood Canyon.  

Once at the starting point, there were plenty of restrooms and space to spread out, stretch, or my newest favorite pre-race tradition -- sleep.  I had roughly an hour before start-time.  Equipped in my sweatpants, half-zip, scarf, and beanie, I laid my fleece blanket on the floor and put my provided aluminum blanket over me.  I slept for a good 40 minutes before returning to the restrooms once more before the race started.  I then stripped off my sweats, tossed them in my drop bag, and dropped them as I took a brisk 40 degree jog to the starting line.

The race started right on time (unusual for most races) and the first few miles were the perfect temperature.  I had a half-zip jacket on and my shorts and I was plenty warm.  The fall colors in the canyon were amazing and you could not have asked for better weather.  Around mile four, I left my jacket at an aid station and stocked up on mandarin oranges (I’m not a huge eater before a race so I really appreciated the fruit, gu’s, and candy that were given out at the aid stations).  There were a number of restrooms all along the course.  The downhill of the canyon is one of my favorite parts.  I am a strong downhill runner and love downhill courses, but boy did I feel my quads and hamstrings the next day. 

You really can’t beat Big Cottonwood’s downhill grade (especially if you are trying to qualify for Boston). The canyon is FAST.  This is my 3rd year running the Big Cottonwood Canyon half. I used a pacing wristband to make sure I hit my goal of under 2 hours (I finished in 1:58).  I have tried to hit this goal 2 times before.  Last year I came in at 2:03 and the year before 2:10. This year was different.

Each aid stationed buzzed with volunteers, cow-bells, and goodies.  The mile markers were clearly marked and the signs along the course were funny and amusing. Here are some of my favorites:
- Pretend that Ryan Gossling is waiting for you at the Finish Line.
- Do these shorts make my butt look fast?
- You are doing something 99% of the population cannot do.

By Mile 8 it was a beautiful 75 degrees. Mile 10 welcomed a slight uphill grade as you came out of the canyon.  It felt really great to start using different muscles as you propelled uphill.  
The finish line was equipped with pizza, fruit, bagels, popsicles, cold towels, and my personal favorite beverage of choice – Coke.  The medal is definitely one I look forward to adding to my collection. I posed with my two kids as my husbanded snapped some pictures. 

Big Cottonwood is a race I look forward to every year and can’t wait until next year to run and try to reach my BQ time. 

My Top Five Reasons Big Cottonwood is a MUST DO race:

1- The organization of this race is amazing.  A race that can start on-time that has shuttled 3,000 half-marathoners and 1,500 marathoners to the top of one of the most beautiful one-lane canyons in the West deserves a huge shout-out.

2- The SWAG-  The medals are awesome.  The shirts are made by ALBION and you have the choice of long sleeve (with thumb-holes), short-sleeve, or a tank. The packet pick-up is easy and your bag comes with headbands, gloves, a blanket, chapstick, and some yummy vitamins. 

3- You receive all your race pictures FREE and can even format them into a video if you choose to.

4- The scenery is unbelievably beautiful.

5- Big Cottonwood Canyon is Fast and beautiful.  The miles literally fly by.

Note from SD Mom: Wow!  I totally am ready to sign up for Cottonwood!  It will be my first Utah race and I have a feeling I will LOVE it!  Have you ever run a beautiful downhill race?  A Revel race?  A race in Utah?

As always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom


  1. Congratulations on your finish. Looks like a beautiful course and you had wonderful weather for it. Glad to hear that the aid stations were well organized. Makes such a big difference in races.

  2. Great review on this race!
    Actually, I 2nd it all and I have never run this actual race, I just know the course and yes it is beautiful! This is where I live, and the canyon I do a lot of my morning runs and training in when I am getting ready for a marathon. I also do a bit of camping up in this canyon quite often:) Hopefully next week:) So I know it well, I even enjoy running up it at times before I turn around to go back down:)
    When you come to Utah next year you should hit me up, I would be happy to tell you all the best nearby places to see while your in town!

  3. You get to choose the style shirt you want? That is awesome! I hope people who make signs realize how helpful those signs are!

  4. This looks like a definite bucket-list addition! All that swag? And you get a choice in what kind of shirt? WOW!! And, of course, the canyon setting sounds heavenly!! Congrats on the sub-2 hr ;-)

  5. Never had an option of shirt styles for a race, thats awesome! Congrats on getting under 2 hours ! Speedy speedy!

    Visiting from The Silvah Lining Link up!


  6. Sounds like an awesome race! Thanks for sharing the race recap!