Battles to Brag About


Unique Races for Every Athlete

By Rebecca Petersen

Photos Courtesy of the Pink Series, Moonlight Half Marathon, Utah Santa Runs, The Dirty Dash and Warrior Dash

It’s that time of year again. When you plunk down your money, count back from the day of the race and redouble your training efforts to make gains toward racing goals, or in my case to simply avoid abject public humiliation.

Here’s a compilation of local, and relatively local, races not to be missed and designed to spur you on to great moments of personal victory or strange fulfillment of childhood dreams. Make this season one of memories, mishaps and social network-worthy photo opportunities, be it muddy, miraculous or mischievous. Feel free to send me pictures. Especially if you are dressed as Teen Mutant Ninja Turtle and covered in mud.

Racers on your mark…

Pink Series 5K and Half Marathon

Pink Series 5k and Half Marathon Beautiful Park City scenery, yummy, pure mountain air without a hint of inversion or smog plus a swag bag full of beauty products, chocolate, boutique coupons and an awesome tank, all for supporting a worthy cause. And it’s pink. (If you could see my living room, this would be self-explanatory.) Support cancer awareness at this women’s race while enjoying fabulous post-race finish line food, massages and luxury. Running never looked so very Jackie O.

April 23, 2011, 9:00 a.m.
Alpine, Utah
5K (3.1 miles), $30

October 8, 2011, 9:00 a.m.
Park City, Utah
Half Marathon (13.1 miles), $45

Moonlight Half Marathon

Moonlight Half Marathon Let’s face it, some things are simply better left in the dark. Questionable Thai food, the cleanliness of your floorboards, night-crawler catching, any reference to your crazy college days, the in-laws and running long distances during the month of August in an arid desert climate. The race begins when you say it does, generally around 9 or 10:00 p.m. and the goal is to finish AT midnight. Not to slow, not too fast and no timing devices are allowed. (An un-timed race? So right up my alley.) Part of your race packet includes glow necklaces, but additional lighting devices are encouraged. For my benefit, creativity with lighting devices is encouraged.

August 12, 2011, 9 to 10:00 p.m.-ish, depending on how fast you are
Mapleton, Utah
Half Marathon (13.1 miles), $45

Warrior Dash

Warrior Dash Ok…this one isn’t exactly nearby. But who doesn’t like a small road trip to someplace warm and sunny with pristine air? Or barring that, the perfection-like Rockies? A quick getaway due East will find you in beautiful Colorado. Time it right and men and women in tights, capes and Gothic warrior dress competing, nay vying, to be the best in the land will assault all your senses. (You had me at warrior…sign me up.) A co-ed cacophony of superheroes gone terribly, terribly filthy and in bad need of a Tide fix. If you consider the Rockies your own personal backyard, this race belongs to you. Still photos do not quite capture the careening, slow-motion messiness of athletic fabulousness that awaits you. Check their website for videos, and you can’t help but sign up.

August 20 and 21, 2011, waves start at 9:00 a.m.
Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Copper Mountain, Colorado
5Kish (3.15 miles), $55–$75, depending on which race day you compete on

The Dirty Dash

The Dirty Dash If you’ve ever had a random dream where large men in pink tutus muddied it up with line after line of Tom Cruises circa “Risky Business” all mucked up in a race against time, then this 5 or 10K is for you! Costuming is everything in life, but never more true than in this muddy obstacle course race. The bizarre meets the best Dreamworks could conjure in this local fling that is the most filthy few hours you can legally spend in state. Run it solo, or with a team of 5–20 of your muddiest buddies. They also offer a “Piglet Plunge” for children at each race. My son is thrilled with this chance to become as filthy as possible with perfect impunity. Worth every penny of the five buck registration fee.

June 4, 2011, waves start at 9:00 a.m.
Soldier Hollow, Midway, Utah
5K (3.1 miles), $40–$50, depending on how soon you register

September 17 and 24, 2011, waves start at 9:00 a.m.
Soldier Hollow, Midway, Utah
10K (6.2 miles), $40–$50, depending on how soon you register

Santa 5K Runs

Santa 5K Runs When the cold is something tangible that hunts you and your lungs in the most bitter of winter weather, or it feels like precious little could drag you from your couch or comfy indoor training sessions, a veritable flock of multi-sized Santas running down the street might be the one thing that does the trick. A short and sweet 5K race where the registration fee gets you a Santa hat, beard, jacket, pants and belt. Guaranteed to be the only race where elves hand out milk and cookies to spur you and your fellow Clauses on to victory.

November 25, 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah

November 26, 2011
Ogden, Utah

December 3, 2011
Provo, Utah
5K (3.1 miles)
Cost for all races, $35

Other Must-do Races

If you have a bunch of friends…Red Rock Relay.

187 miles of beautiful red rock, split 12 ways. You have to really, really like your friends. Because you’ll be spending two days in a van with them. (Make sure to find two teammates who own vans.) If you’re totally crazy, you can have six runners, not 12. And if my math is correct, that means each of you better be prepared to dog out 31 miles. Not ready to embark on a two-day sufferfest? Try the newly introduced one-day, six-person team relay in Moab.

May 14, 2011
Moab, Utah
70 miles, $499–$599 per team, depending on when you sign up

September 9–10, 2011
Brian Head Ski Resort to Zion, Utah
187 miles, $1099–$1299 per team, depending on when you sign up

Is yours a house divided? Enter the Rivalry Relay.

No matter what color you bleed, crimson or deep blue, the Rivalry Relay has your team’s ticket. Also known as the “Holy War Relay” this race begins at the Olympic Legacy Bridge in Salt Lake and heads through some beautiful neighborhoods, summiting out at Suncrest and winding up in Provo at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Sixty miles of enmity-based racing for your team of choice with five of your fellow die-hards. Awards for the best costuming, vehicle décor and team name are among the few possible marks for creativity. It’s the perfect way to kick off football season!

August 27, 2011, 6:00 a.m.
Salt Lake City to Provo, Utah
60 miles, $330 per team

If any “Rambo” movies were based on your life experiences or you have starred in a reality show regarding survival techniques for Olympians…The Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run.

You know a race is rough when it explicitly states: “All entrants should be familiar with basic first-aid, and know the symptoms and treatment for heat exhaustion, hypothermia, frostbite and altitude sickness…Runners should be well-equipped to care for themselves and effect self-rescue if necessary.” This race is obviously not for me, but I’m sure there are some of you out there for whom this is as fun and as awesome as it gets. I salute you. And to be frank, you kind of scare me.

September 9, 2011, 5:00 a.m.
East Mountain Wilderness Park in Kaysville, Utah, finishing at The Homestead in Midway, Utah
100 miles, $175

Celebrate Utah’s statehood by getting really sweaty…Deseret News Marathon, 10K and 5K Walk.

The fabulous thing about the Days of 47’ Races is their timing and location. All four races end primarily along the parade route with literally thousands of spectators cheering you on to glory. Hyping if you will and contributing to your triumph over mind, body and distance. Victory is always a bit sweeter with an audience. Especially an audience of thousands. What! My man! Bring it!

July 25, 2011, 5:30 a.m.
Research Park at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Marathon (26.2 miles) $62, 10K (6.2 miles) $35,
5K (3.1 miles) $20

Race and feel fabulous about donating at the same time…Fourth Street Clinic Triathlon & 5K.

The Fourth Street Clinic provides health care and support to Utah’s homeless population. At many times it is their only chance for a proper diagnosis and treatment. This assistance towards physical and mental health is the foundation for the patient’s transition into permanent housing and stability. Teams are allowed in the triathlon, and the 5K allows leashed dogs and jogging strollers on the course. So bring your whole family to compete in this event!

April 23, 2011, 9:00 a.m.
Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
5K (3.1 miles) and super sprint triathlon (300M swim, 8K mountain bike, 5K run), $35

For even more great races, check out our advertisers, and the event calendar, throughout this Keeper issue.

Rebecca Petersen In her third employment reincarnation in as many decades, Becca has transitioned from ballerina to paralegal to part-time writer. Becca is primarily a fair-weather athlete with a goal to recreate a high school sub-6:00 minute mile.


About Author

Jenny Willden is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She's a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. A lover of adventure and travel, she's happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or Instagram @jlwillden.

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