Coming in at just over 500,000 residents, Wyoming is the nation’s least populated state. Harsh winters and high winds keep all but the toughest from calling the Cowboy State home. But if you are up for a challenge, some of the nation’s most scenic and challenging marathons take place here.
Jackson Hole Marathon
Sitting just 7 miles from Grand Teton National Forest, this course is not only a Boston qualifier, but is also USATF certified for the Olympic trials. Jackson Hole is one of the most beautiful places on earth that won’t disappoint. Heck, you may even see Harrison Ford, he keeps a summer home there! Click here to learn more.
This is a high altitude race, sitting around 6300 feet. The course is entirely on paved roads and running paths. The first 9 miles of the race are mostly downhill, but the rest of the course is a steady climb of 300 feet all the way to the tape.
"Course support was good. This was also a cupless race and luckily they had 'fast-pour' devices on all the containers. They also had gels, candies and even salt capsules. I felt there was more than enough support and kudos to the volunteers for braving a rough weather day." - E.G., Marathonguide.com Review
"One of the best races I've ever run even though it was one of my slower times. Course is beautiful and the people were incredible." - Andy Grush, Facebook.com Review
Wyoming Marathon - Laramie
Laramie is the home of the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Cowboys. This is neat town of approximately 30,000 people. It is rife with history of the old west and claims one of the most difficult marathons in the country. Click here for dates and registration info.
The course is set at over 8,000 feet above sea level and features daunting hills. This is an out and back race that takes place on mostly (77%) on gravel roads. Every runner is required to carry his or her own water bottle, as aid station are sparsely placed at 4 miles apart. No cups or bottles will be available. If you are looking for a PR course, this is not it. Just look at the elevation map.
"This was a VERY difficult course but the race director warns you of that on the website so it should not be a surprise. The race starts at altitude (8,700 ft) and has significant inclines throughout. There really is no flat spot on the course, you are either going UP for miles or DOWN for miles. It is an out-and-back course so the route gives you a MAJOR climb of 5 miles to the finish line. The field is very small, about 70 to 80 marathon runners and far fewer ultra-marathon runners. This is mostly a trail run on park roads that are hard dirt with gravel." - Jim Skibo, Marathonguide.com Review
"As others have said, this is certainly not a PR course with the constant hills and altitude above 8,000 feet. However, if you know that going in, you can take it slow and enjoy the great scenery. The support was minimal - as advertised - but the volunteers out there were extremely friendly and encouraging." - C.B., Marathonguide.com Review
Run With The Horses Marathon - Green River
This race takes place in the high deserts of Wyoming. Nestled near Flaming Gorge, the Run With The Horses Marathon offers picturesque views of the Green River rock formations. You might just see some horses as well. Click here to read more.
When I said that this race is in the “high” desert, I wasn’t kidding. The race starts at 6100 feet and steadily climbs to 7600 feet for the first 9 miles. The next 4 miles are mostly flat. It’s an out and back course, so at least your last 9 miles are downhill. The course is on a mix of paved roads and grated gravel roads. There are very few trees out here so don't expect much shade.
"This is a very tough course unless you can somehow train at altitude. The run up the mountain between mile two and four is more long than steep. But after that you spend the next 22 miles between 7,200 and 7,600 ft; at about nine times the elevation of Ohio, it was a little too much. It was also a sunny, above average temperature day. There is no shade on this course!!!" - J.L., Marathonguide.com Review
"This was a fun event. It is pretty small and low-key, but I like that sort of thing. My sister and I enjoyed the shrimp boil and the arts festival the night before. The course is a tough one, but I like a marathon with personality." - M.H., Marathonguide.com Review
Coming in at a whopping 60,086 people, Casper is Wyoming’s second largest city. This is a scenic little run follows the Platte River and is great for 50 Staters. Don't expect a ton of cheering fans, but if you like quiet runs, this one is worth checking out.
This race takes place 100% on asphalt and concrete. Aid stations are placed at about 2 mile intervals and will have fruit, Gu products, water, and sports drinks. This is a mostly flat course with a couple of rolling hills, so it’s a good choice for first timers.
"I love small, scenic, friendly races and this one's great. Stay at the host hotel; the finish is at the hotel!! Airport shuttle. Packet pickup is there. Super easy logistically. Race day morning shuttle to the start where breakfast is served inside with indoor restrooms. Country roads, mountain vistas, bike trail along the river and through the trees. PLENTY of food left for the slowpokes! Age group winners get a backpack and blanket. SUPER wonderful volunteers. Oranges, watermelon, bananas, GU at most/some of the aid stations." - A.T., Marathonguide.com Review
"I have run over 35 marathons, and this one twice. It is very well organized, with the host hotel right next to the finish line. The food/beverages at the finish was outstanding! About half is run along a river (flat) with some small rises around a golf course. Overall, I would recommend this run!" - J.K., Marathonguide.com Review