Drop 13 Half Marathon
The Drop 13 Half Marathon is held each year on June 13th in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. The marathon starts just below the Solitude Ski Resort and finishes in town at the Old Mill Shopping Centre. The course of the run is entirely downhill with a 3,000 feet decline measuring 13.1 miles precisely from start to finish. The course does not have a steep decline but is consistent and fairly gradual, allowing a brisk and pleasurable run.
Big Cottonwood Canyon is a stunning landscape of alpine scenery. Runners will enjoy beautiful views of flowing streams and pine trees as they complete the race. There are trails all around that lead to various beautiful lakes including Lake Martha and the Twin Lakes. The Canyon is largely popular for rock climbing, fishing, hiking and of course- for the annual half marathon. For a picturesque destination to fulfil your running goals; it doesn’t get much better than this!
What can I expect?
As well as medals for participating, there are specific medals offered for those who beat a personal record. Medals are also provided for losing an excess of 13lbs while training for the half marathon. Runners generally find this to be a fast marathon and each year around 50-60% of those participating receive a medal for their personal best time.
Around the time of year when the Drop 13 Half Marathon takes place, temperatures are generally between 66 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Many deem this time of year to be ideal for racing due to the cooler morning conditions. Solitude Ski Resort is used to stage the racers to keep them warmer and allow them to use the restrooms. Runners will walk around ½ mile to get to the starting location for a 6 am start to the race. Usually, participants will pick up their packet the day before from the Wasatch Running Centre on South State Street.
Is there transport to the starting line?
Yes, buses generally run from East Cottonwood Parkway in the West Parking Lot of Saltlake city. Runners will be assigned a set bus to take beforehand. Buses run from 4 am and take runners to the Solitude Ski Resort. From the resort runners can walk to the start line at the East of Silverfork Lodge for 5.30am. The half marathon will then begin at 6 am. For those who are not yet confident and ready to run a half marathon, a 5k run takes place on the same day beginning at 6.30am on Big Cottonwood Road. The 5k is approximately the same route as the half marathon.
Review of Drop 13 Half Marathon
The Drop 13 Half Marathon is one of the best ways to experience the delights that Big Cottonwood Canyon has to offer! Lush greenery stretches for mile upon mile of beauty; set against the marvellous streams in every direction. You’ll find that the descent is gradual and don’t be surprised if you beat your personal best and end up nabbing one of those sought after medals! The 3,000 feet drop certainly doesn’t come at you all at once; there’s plenty of time to marvel at your surroundings. Between the awe-inspiring scenery and the ability to go that little bit faster, runners of all levels are sure to have the time of their lives.
The running shirt provided in the last few years has been a dri-fit style. Using a soft material with a poly blend (but also similar to cotton). These shirts are great to run in and are definitely ones that can be worn when not running too! A lot of thought goes into the designs of the different types of medals, which is a charming touch. The biggest finisher medal in this year’s race was 4 inches and featured a 3D moose (very on theme with the scenes of the rolling hills)!
The stations are ample and well-positioned, generally on Mile 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11 ½ and at the finish point. These aid stations have plenty of water and Powerade along with porta-potties. Some of the stations also have GU Gels if you require these. The volunteers and staff are excellent and always on hand to give help should you need it. The race attracts a great crowd of friendly runners from beginners to those who can’t get enough of a half marathon!
Another great thing about the race are the discounts offered (to help stretch those dollars a little further)! For instance, if you choose to refer to another racer, you’ll get 10% back on every referral. You can refer up to 10 people which will give you 100%. There are also group discounts available or credits toward future marathons for volunteers.
For those wanting accommodation, the host hotel has previously been the gorgeous Hyatt Place. Based in Cottonwood heights, the hotel boasts a spa, pool and a great breakfast too. The hotel is approximately a quarter of a mile from where the half marathon ends, so it’s largely convenient for those in need of a lovely place to crash out after all that hard work!
This year, the rules set a cut off time of all racers needing to be back to the mouth of the canyon by 9 am at the latest. However, it’s possible to get more time if you contact the organisers. It’s been stated that they can offer a few opportunities to begin at 5.30am as opposed to 6.30am.
The half marathon is impressively well planned, with no fine detail that hasn’t been considered to put on a great race. The focus on the importance of training (because training results are rewarded) is a lovely and personalised touch! If you opt for staying a while in the local area, you can reward yourself for your accomplishment with a fun-filled camping or fishing trip amongst the beautiful surroundings! If you have a go at Drop 13, you’ll likely be coming back for more the following year!