LOGAN — After 20 years, a new racing tradition is set to take place in Cache Valley. Organizers hope that the Logan Marathon, held on Saturday, Sept. 21, will bring new excitement to the traditional Top of Utah Marathon that finished last year.
Race Director Troy Oldham said the idea to rebrand the marathon started several years ago when the Top of Utah Runners expressed a desire to have someone else continue the yearly race. He and Logan City Downtown Alliance Director Gary Saxton began looking at ways to take over and make it a fun, party-type atmosphere.
“The [number of runners] in the full marathon were declining a bit and had actually declined quite a bit from when it first started,” explained Oldham. “So we thought, let’s see if we can bring some new life into this. It is such a great thing for the valley, brings a lot of people here and celebrates healthy lifestyles. All those great things are part of the brand of Cache Valley and Logan.”
Oldham is familiar with bringing excitement to sporting events. Eight years ago he created the Cache Gran Fondo, a yearly cycling event that attracts more than a thousand riders.
Oldham said the Logan Marathon will start at 7 a.m at 100 North in downtown Logan and work its way west toward Mendon. He realizes that some liked the downhill-canyon course but feels like the new flat course has more advantages.
“When we were planning this out, we knew there would be some people sad that the race won’t be coming out of Blacksmith Fork Canyon. But there are a lot of runners that felt like a run all the way out of the canyon was tough on their knees, and there are also other races like that now.
“So, we thought let’s do something new. Let’s create a flat course (there is only about a hundred feet of elevation now). Let’s try to get it into a place where there is very little traffic. And let’s celebrate some of the cool parks and trails we have here.”
For those who don’t want to run a full 26.2 miles, there are other options. The event will have a Two-Person Marathon Relay, 10K Trail Race, 5K Fun Run and a Kids and Family Fun Miler.
Oldham said they have already exceeded their goal of entrees for this year and hope that more register in the final days.
“Our goal was to have 500 runners, which would be a 35 percent increase over the event last year. That puts us in a forward momentum spot.
“Well, we hit 500 about two-and-a-half-weeks ago. We are now at almost 550 and going into this last week, we know more people are going to sign up.”
Like the previous Top Of Utah Marathon, the new course route will be inspected this weekend to determine whether it can be a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. In future years, the start and finish line will also be on Center Street, following this summer’s renovation.