Sometimes, Chad and I get crazy ideas. Like, “Hey, we’ve run a half marathon in April, May, and June… let’s run one in July, too!” and “Sarah should get on stage with Kristin Chenoweth and sing with her.”
This very impulsive stupidity is what led to us signing up for the Deseret News Classic, which is a local-to-SLC run that starts up Emigration Canyon, winds along Foothill, crawls down South Temple, and finishes up on the Pioneer Day Parade route. The less extreme downhill course had me hoping there would be similar ease of the Drop 13, while resulting in less pain. So, I was tempted to sign up.
My friend, Lindsey, was also running this event along with some of her friends and family. This is the first race we’ve done “together” since last year’s SeaWheeze, so it was further tempting to have a familiar face (other than Chad’s!) at the finish line since Chad’s family refuses to do any race that doesn’t involve Disney. Although, after this race, I think they might be on to something…
On their website, Deseret News Classic touts itself as the “oldest road race in Utah and the fourth oldest marathon west of the continental divide.” Which for some reason, led me to believe that this was a well run and organized event. Also? The price. After participating in 9 half marathons, I can tell you with some certainty that the price of the race is the greatest indicator of the type of event you should expect.
Alas, that line of thinking was shattered as this race was $95 (more expensive than Drop13 AND the much more popular SLC Half) and was also easily the worst organized event I’ve ever participated in and I’m including all events I’ve ever participated in, not just running events.
Any well run half marathon has a minimum of 6 water stations, one just about every other mile give or take 0.1 of a mile. runDisney (all that is great and wonderful, of course) spaces them 1.5 miles apart and you can set your GPS to it. Deseret News Classic’s website claimed: “Aids [sic] Stations for the Half Marathon will be at approximately every other mile, with powerade and water available at each station.”
No. Unless “approximately” means “don’t count on it.” The aid stations were placed at mile 1.5, 4.5, 6, 10.5, and 12.5. However, I refuse to count mile 12.5 because at that point I was dehydrated and you can’t fix that with a little over half a mile to go. In a dry climate at 70+ degrees, it’s super irresponsible to not have evenly spaced and more importantly, promised water stations. If they had been honest and said, “we aren’t actually planning to have appropriately spaced water stations” I would have brought a camelbak.
And also probably, instead, complaining about the exceptionally dangerous conditions in a tiny two lane canyon with blind corners. There were several miles with no road markers or police escort – so we were playing frogger with cars. That was fun! Definitely not participating in that race again.
Despite being dehydrated and expending a lot of energy cursing the event organizers, we all did pretty decent coming in under 2 hours.
We took the requisite end of race photo clutching our medals and the extra water bottles we stole in an effort to rehydrate – and then dragged ourselves to the nearest bagel place to whine about everything hurting and being dehydrated. Which, obviously, solved everything.
All in all, it was a great way to celebrate Utah’s “birthday”. That and drinking.
Event Managed by: Deseret News (booooooo) (-2)
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Event Expo: No
Race Start time: 6:00 am, but you have to be on a bus up the canyon by 4:30 am (-1)
Race Day Weather: 60-75 degrees
Race Features: beautiful views, all downhill (you run fast without even trying)
Water Stations: 4 | Poorly Spaced (-4)
Energy Supplement Stations: Yes | Gu (couldn’t tell) before mile 6
Race Course: Emigration Canyon, Foothill, South Temple, Downtown SLC
Running with Traffic: Yes, virtually no protections in the canyon, lots of road closures once we were downtown – but to be fair/unfair this was most likely road closures for the parade and not necessarily for the race.
Finisher Medal: Yes (so ugly! -1)
Special Category Medals: Yes
Half Marathon Rating: 2 out of 10