- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The Hobble Creek Half Marathon was my 16th half, and 12th state on my quest to run a marathon/half in every state. The timing of this race worked out well for me as I was going to be in Utah the week before for work anyway. This was definitely a small race, and I am sure there are some other options in Utah that are much bigger and more well-known, but I chose Hobble Creek since the date worked well AND because of its wonderful, consistent downhill elevation profile - the course begins at about 6,000' and ends just under 5,000'. The description on their website also got me -
"The Hobble Creek Half Marathon was started by two elite runners and USATF members in 1994 with a vision to create a course that would be both a record breaker... They chose a beautiful route that starts up the Right Fork of Hobble Creek Canyon close to Springville, Utah, the course snakes down the canyon along the river trail and on the road next to Hobble Creek. The race now strives to be Utah's premier 1/2 Marathon event."
Packet pick-up was the Friday before race day at a local running store. It was a little hectic and crowded when we went to get our bibs. There also really wasn't an expo - sure, there was plenty of running merchandise to peruse in the store, but that was about it. Oh well, with a race that's capped at 1,000 runners, I wasn't really expecting much of an expo. The shirts were nice at least - they had fitted V-necks for the women and separate shirts for the men. They were a simple white with the logo of the race on the front.
On race day, my mom and I got up bright and early to make our way to Mapleton City Park to catch the shuttles up the canyon. Because it was a point-to-point course, the organizers stressed that it was very important that all the runners catch the shuttles between 5:30-5:45 am since no cars would be allowed up the canyon road. This had seemed really early to me for a 7 am start, but by the time we were actually dropped off at the top, it was already after 6 am (and we had gotten to the shuttles by 5:30!). There was also a bit of a walk after the shuttle drop-off. It probably took us about 20 minutes, but it felt like longer because I had to use the bathroom so badly and they hadn't put any porta-potties at the shuttle drop-off.
The course really was beautiful. The first 6-7 miles were on a winding road and consistently downhill. I found myself consistently hitting faster splits than I intended just because of all the downhill. I knew my quads were going to pay the price later in the race though, and they definitely did. There were also only 5 water stations, and there were times when I felt like they could have used more. The last few miles were tough, and I did not end up hitting the PR that I had achieved 6 months ago on a course with a more challenging elevation profile.
The finish was nice. There were pretty much no spectators except for the last mile, which was a nice boost when I needed it most. They also had separate medals for the top 100 male and female finishers, as well as carnations for everyone, which was a really nice touch. The post-race food was a little disappointing. They had pretzels and cut up fruit, but nothing to put them in. They also had bread and honey and butter, which was kind of different.
My mom and I also had an issue with our results. When we checked the print-out, we noticed there was no record of our times, despite results being posted for others in the same time frame. Turns out, that the timing chips they had given us HAD to be attached to our shoes in order to transmit signal to the timing mats. Since the chips were a little bigger and more awkward than usual, we had put them in our fuel belts, thinking that would do the trick and prevent them from flopping around on our sneakers during the run. We spoke to a staff person and they were able to correct the mistake, but it still would have been nice if someone had mentioned this to us ahead of time.
Overall, this was a good race and worth running if you are in the area. Just keep in mind that it is a small race and lacks many of the bells and whistles of bigger events.