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Coming down the mountain

Oct 02, 2017 11:36AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Preston Gardner ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon in under 3 hours, coming in at 2:38:02. (Dan Metcalf Jr. /Cottonwood Heights)

Gallery: Big Cottonwood Marathon [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

Waking up before the sun to run down a mountain isn’t everyone’s idea of fun for a Saturday in September, but for the 4,600 runners that ran Revel’s Big Cottonwood Marathon in Cottonwood Heights, that’s exactly what they did. 

Revel’s Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half Marathon took place on Sept. 9, beginning at Guardsman Pass and Spruces Campground at 6:45 a.m. The course stretched through Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is 11.5 miles with a 3,000 feet elevation drop, down through Cottonwood Heights on Fort Union Blvd. to the finish line on 1300 East. The majority of racers crossed the finish line before 1:15 p.m. 

This is the fifth year that Cottonwood Heights has hosted this marathon. Every year, it draws thousands of people into the city from across the nation and worldwide. It is a Boston Marathon qualifier and considered to be one of the world’s premiere races. 

SelectHealth, Alta View Hospital and The Launch Team were partners for the marathon. Alta View Hospital provided tips about staying healthy and medical lectures on injury prevention, pre and post work out nutrition, and strength training on Facebook Live. The Launch Team is a youth group that meets twice a week to train in three different locations for 12 weeks. Hoka and KUBEX Fitness sponsored the event. 

Revel provided free participant tracking and result cards for all of the racers. Proceeds from the race went to support the Cottonwood Canyon Foundation, which helps to maintain the beautification of the canyon. 

The top five runners for the Full Marathon were Preston Gardner coming in at 2:38:02, Jason Howe coming in at 2:41:59, Rich Nelson at 2:43:35, Jake Greenberg at 2:45:05 and Kevin Shilling at 2:47:56. On average, these were 6.13 minute miles.

The top five runners for the Half Marathon were Mike Nelson coming in at 1:08:42, Matt Poulsen coming in at 1:10:24, Justin Park at 1:11:47, Neil Galvez at 1:13:42, and Sylvia Bedford at 1:14:40. On average, these runners ran 5.28 minute miles. 

Within the city of Cottonwood Heights, traffic was restricted from the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon to Union Park Avenue, along Fort Union Boulevard. When the Boulevard is closed every year for this event, the city has to provide various agreements with contractors, and advanced notice to its residents.

On March 28, the resolution for approving entry into an agreement with Brooksee LLC (the parent company for Revel) for the reimbursement and indemnification concerning the 2017 Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half was passed. The agreement “is in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city to therefore approve the city’s entry into the agreement as proposed.” 

The agreement addressed various concerns, including “public safety concerns arising from hundreds of small, private vehicles transporting the Event runners up the canyon during pre-dawn hours on Sept 9. Brooksee and City desire for such transportation to occur via chartered buses so that smaller, private vehicles can be prohibited from accessing the Canyon before and during the Event.” The buses were provided by the Canyons School District. 

Within the agreement, Brooksee agreed to prepay and indemnify the city for the entirety of the cost of insurance, the city’s legal fees and all out of pocket costs, including expenses incurred by city in connection with the event and its facilitation. 

Revel’s Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half will take place again on Sept 8, 2018. Registration is already available. 

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