If you're planning to run a marathon in the Beehive State, don't miss out on these races which are consistently rated the best by those who have run them.
Salt Lake City Marathon
The Salt Lake City Marathon has a lot going for it, from the course (which includes many of the city's most important landmarks) and the incredible expo to the cause (this year's event will raise money for cancer research) and the cheer and entertainment zone competition. The race-day activities also look pretty awesome, as they include arts and crafts and a bounce house for kids, and a live band and a beer garden for adults.
Although the course appears to be downhill, it is challenging and slightly hilly. Altitude is another factor to consider. The marathon kicks off at Olympic Legacy Bridge and extends through many of the city's sites, such as 11th Avenue, Sugar House and Liberty Park.
Image Source: Salt Lake City Marathon
"There was great volunteer support. The course was challenging but beautiful in most places. They blocked off entire boulevards downtown for the marathoners. You have views of the mountains wherever you are on the course. The finish line and finish area were well organized." - T.B., Marathonguide.com Review
"The details and planning that went into every aspect of the race was well-thought-out, from the route and water stations to the Boston tributes and level of security. The spectators were out there cheering us on. A very well-run race. I would recommend it to anyone traveling to the area." - A.L., Marathonguide.com Review
Huff 2 Bluff Marathon - Blanding
This small town race is not to be missed. Blanding really rolls out the red carpet for runners. Located in southeast Utah, in red rock country, this Boston qualifier offers many great sights to see nearby, including the incredible Canyonlands National Park.
The course begins in Blanding and ends in Bluff, and extends along Highway 191. Although the highway remains open to traffic, runners have an 8-foot wide shoulder to run on. There's also an elevation drop between start and finish of roughly 1,600 feet. There are rolling hills around miles 15 to 22.
Image Source: Map My Run
"The staff was TERRIFIC. The post race was TERRIFIC. The atmosphere TERRIFIC." - D.R., Marathonguide.com Review
"I like small marathons. More than anything I like well organized races. This is the perfect event for me because it is small and INCREDIBLY well managed. Ryan is a fantastic race director. He thought of everything. And the volunteers who helped were stellar. Small as it is, it was as if everyone involved tried to leave no small detail undone." -J.W., Facebook Review
Ogden Marathon - Ogden
This marathon is known as Utah's Spring Run Off, and is one of the most scenic Boston Marathon qualifiers. But not just that: Ogden has a lot of bragging rights. It was voted "One of the Top Ten Marathons in the World" by Runner's World in 2011, "One of the Best Courses in America for First-Time Marathon Runners" by the same magazine in 2012, and "5th Best Marathon in the Country for Beginning Marathon Runners" by Shape magazine in March 2015.
The course runs through an idyllic part of Utah and runners will enjoy breathtaking views. It alternates between downhill and flat sections, and kicks off at an elevation of 5,400 feet and ends at 4,300 feet.
Image Source: Ogden Marathon
"For anyone considering a race in Utah - RUN OGDEN! This is a beautiful course & a very well-organized race. I've run Ogden 8 times & it gets better every year." - J.H., Marathonguide.com Review
"First of all, the course is beautiful. Enough downhill to get a little boost from gravity; enough rollers and flat spots to give he legs a break. The race is organized to a T. Plenty of food and water - more aid stations than many races. Great after party. Great shirt and medal, but most important, given the conditions, I could tell the director is putting runner health and safety first." - A.S., Marathonguide.com Review
Utah Valley Marathon - Provo
The Utah Valley Marathon is a beautiful, scenic event with incredible views of the city, the mountains and Bridal Veil Falls. It's a fast course and offers a great opportunity for setting a PR, but the altitude should also be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to participate. It was included in the TOP 10 to Run in 2014 by Runner's World.
The race begins in Wallsburg, Utah and extends into Provo Canyon along the river. It's a fast course with a gentle downhill and a total descent of around 1,400 feet, although it does have a few difficult uphills.
Image Source: Find My Marathon
"This race is well worth doing. It's well organized. The staging area with the fire pits created a great place to talk to other runners before the start. The course is great. Mostly down hill with extended ups, but nothing too steep to bother me too much, but it is a stunning course for a road race." - J.T., Marathonguide.com Review
"This race is phenomenal. The course is fast and beautiful. I love the way how this race doesn't wind you up and down random city streets to kill off the last few miles. It is a straight shot from Provo canyon to the finish line at the middle of Provo City. The volunteers were awesome and you don't get better views than Provo Canyon. The temperature was fantastic and the food was great. They have one of the best pre-race expos that I've seen. I absolutely loved this race, and I'll do it again for sure!" - C.S., Marathonguide.com Review
Mid Mountain Marathon - Salt Lake City
This marathon begins at Deer Valley Resort and ends in The Forum at the Canyons. It traverses the Mid Mountain trail and the Ironman trail, offering spectacular views and scenery. If you're looking for a smaller event with great amenities, this race is for you.
This is a challenging course, almost all of which is single track. It is moderately technical, with many hills (as one previous participant says, "Train on hills, be ready for hills, love hills.") There are lots of rocks, roots and hairpin turns, and the trail starts out at 8,100 feet, peaks at 8,400 feet and ends at 6,800 feet.
Image Source: Mid Mountain Marathon
"Those who put on the race knew what they were doing and were able to direct those of us who didn't. Great organization. Awesome trail. Difficult race, but well worth the pain. No need for fans in a race like this, although at the end the fans and support were top-notch" - S.P., Marathonguide.com Review
"The scenery, trail conditions and volunteers made this the BEST mountain trail run of all! Thanks to everyone who participated - it brings us all a spectacular 8,000' run to remember forever." - J.W., Marathonguide.com Review
St. George Marathon - St. George
This marathon has a lot going for it: Runner's World named it one of the 10 Most Scenic and Fastest Marathons, one of the Top 20 Marathons in the USA, and one of the four Marathons to Build a Vacation Around. Not a bad resume!
This is a point-to-point race and it includes a descent of almost 2,600 feet "through scenic southwest Utah", according to the official site. It's a fast marathon, albeit with hills, and the course is beautiful.
Image Source: St. George Marathon
"This was clearly the best organized, most scenic marathon I have ever run. Great incentives to get the runners to the start! I was entered in to a raffle and won a free entry into next years race! The expo experience was great as well, with plenty of free give-aways. A FIRST CLASS EVENT OVERALL.." - K.L., Marathonguide.com Review
"The entire experience was great! The organization is the best I've experienced The downhills are great, but many times they were too steep. And when you hit the uphills (be ready, there are a couple doozies) they have a net negative impact on your time... If you're looking for a scenic race (particularly when you enter Snow Canyon) with great support (relative to the number of runners), this is a 'must run' marathon." - S.C., Marathonguide.com Review
Escalante Canyons Marathon - Escalante
According to the official site, this marathon "offers wildly scenic vistas across country of unmatched ruggedness, a course with dramatic inclines, pristine air, and a sense of serenity like nowhere else." Get ready to experience the Calf Creek Canyons, Hog's Back Ridge, and the Escalante River.
The entire course is on Scenic Byway 12, in "one of the most beautiful places on earth" between Boulder and Escalante. It is downhill until mile 11, then uphill until mile 17, and from there to the end it's a gradual descent.
Source: Map My Run
"What a great experience running this race. The course is tough but the views are breathtaking. From the pre race dinner to the post race snacks I felt like a family member. The organizers are passionate about their community and it shows in all they do. I felt fully supported with aid stations, out houses and support vehicles up and down the road. The men, women and children at the aid stations were encouraging and friendly. The local people came out and supported the racers. Highly recommend if you want a small, friendly tough course." - S.H., Marathonguide.com Review
"The scenery can't be beat. The inclines are tough. This race has only been around for a couple years - I am impressed by the organization and loyal community involvement. Definitely poke around the two towns and take advantage of the National Parks in the area! What a PERFECT race weekend! I will definitely run this again!" - K.L., Marathonguide.com Review
Layton Marathon - Layton
If you like wildlife, then this marathon is for you. It starts on Antelope Island, which is home to mule deer, bighorn sheep, countless bird species and bison. It's also unique because it's the only race in the state that can qualify you for a Guinness World Record and also the Olympics. It's also a Boston Qualifier. The speed of the unique C-shaped course surprises many participants.
The course is mainly flat with just 200 feet of elevation change, with the result that it is very fast. There is a 200-foot climb around mile 7, but other than that it is, for the most part, flat. It extends for 10 miles on Antelope Island, 7 miles on a causeway, 6 miles on farmland and 3 miles in residential areas.
Source: Layton Marathon
"This race was by far one of my favorite races. It was my 50th marathon and I picked the right one to celebrate! The course was beautiful, it was well organized, and everyone I talked to was friendly. For a small marathon, they had it all." - Katie, Marathonguide.com Review
"I love the scenery of the island, causeway and native wildlife in abundance. The race director puts on a fun race every year. While most marathons have room for improvement and can be improved, the race director listens to the creative input and makes it better each year. In my last 15 marathons, the Layton Marathon is my favorite smaller marathon. It gets better each year. If this is your first marathon, the terrain profile is perfect." - Timothy, Marathonguide.com Review