Sunday, March 24, 2024

2024 Fit for Life Riverton Half Marathon Race Recap - Riverton, UT

Official Time: 1:58:48
Placement: 4th in age group, 72nd overall
Results: Here (YouTube video of me finishing).
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 50's, 15 - 20 mph from the south / south east
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2023] [2022] [2021] [2018] [2015] [2014]

Mile TimeComments
18:41Solid start. Conserving energy.
28:35Little bit of a tailwind and flat. 
39:02Into the neighborhoods. Hilly and at times a little windy
49:41Decent climb here.  Usually into the wind too.
58:48Nice tailwind here
68:34Smashed a downhill
78:48Now into the wind. Fortunately got a decent half mile in before hitting the wind.
89:04Really strong winds here. Just trying to keep a decent pace when I can but not succeeding
99:21The miles are settling in. Happy with my pace
109:44Big hill -- into the wind. So frustrated
119:18Done with the wind but a few hills left.  
129:42Just out of gas. Fortunately a tailwind but hilly little mile here
139:04Some hills and mud
13.05  0:20Trying to catch a guy in front of me and just making sure I break 2 hours.
Total Miles: 13.05 - 1:58:49


Another one of my usual spring routines is doing the Riverton Half Marathon.  The race is in the middle of bunch of other races that I do and I was thinking about sitting this one out this year.  It is a popular race and they generally get a decent turnout (over 500 runners) for their 5K, 10K (new this year) and half marathon.

Normally I register pre-Christmas to snag an awesome price, but this year I waited.  I wanted to race a little less in 2024 and this one was on the bubble list.  I kept in my back pocket and last week I decided to plunk down the late registrant price (I think about $65) for the half marathon and make a go of it.  The weather looked reasonable (no snow / rain) so I figured why not... it would be a fun way to spend Saturday morning and get a March Half Marathon in.

I picked up my bib on Friday at RunGr8 Running Store in Riverton, which saved me any race morning anxiety about lines / issues.

The Race

I got to the race about 30 minutes before the start and grabbed a few photos.  I live in Murray and in Murray it didn't seem that windy. However, in Riverton it was quite a different story.  There was a decent wind coming from the south -- which would only spell trouble for me in the race.  There is a long stretch of bike trail that runs south without a lot of cover.  In years past I've suffered along this stretch.

The air temperature was comfortable (unlike last year) and while there were threatening clouds, it wasn't supposed to rain until later in the day.  I wound up going with a ballcap, short sleeved shirt, my donut shorts, and gloves. I wound up pocketing the gloves 2 miles into the race.

The race started promptly at 9 AM and we headed east from Riverton City Park.  My goal for the first 5K was to hang loose and ease into the race.  I had a loose goal of around low 53 minutes for the first 6.2 miles.  I knew miles 6.2 through about 10 were going to be the hardest part and I figured I'd try to hold pace there (and pray it wasn't that bad) and then push it the final 5K.

The first few miles felt easy and I was going out a little fast but I was aided by downhills and a bit of a tailwind.  My heart rate seemed low.  I felt a little fatigue in my legs -- I had had a fairly large week in terms of volume and I wasn't feeling 100% fresh.

After about 2 miles we dipped into the neighborhoods.  We were greeted by some people who had decided to spend the morning cheering us on.  It was welcomed and nice.  Although, at this point the course got hilly.  

Running up hill has never been my strength and I wound up just shuffling up the hill and then quickly getting back up to race pace once I reached the summit.  The hills didn't burn me out and despite some fatigue, I felt like I could quickly resume getting back to the pace where I wanted to be.

We spent the next 3 miles or so touring the streets of South Jordan.  The wind wasn't much of a factor and despite some of the hills, I was running strong.  I recognized parts of the course from a few of the South Jordan race series I had done.  Also, all the previous editions of the Riverton race came back into memory as well -- I was on familiar ground.

Finally, we made our way back to the bike trail.  I had a glorious downhill, where I definitely picked up the pace.  After another quarter mile I was back on the bike trail, made a turn at 106th street and started to head south.

Photo from Riverton's FlickR Page

The wind was howling and I glance at my watch -- it was around mile 6.4 -- not quite halfway.

I turned to the runner next to me and said, "There goes any chance of a personal record today"  He mumbled in agreement.

I still felt pretty strong and I overtook a number of runners as I battled the headwind.  The race had thinned out at this point and any of hope of me working with or drafting behind another runner were gone.  I was going to have to do this alone.

Parts of the course I was able to avoid the wind but for the most part it was slow going.  I pushed it when I could, and just accepted it when I couldn't.  I had started to work on consuming a Cherry-Lime Roctane which helped pick me up.

Running along the Jordan River Bike Trail brought back a lot of memories of when I first moved to Utah in 2012.  I had done a fair amount of training -- and races along this section of the trail in what seems like another lifetime.  I also knew that at the end of the trail was a large hill.

I didn't really pay any attention to my watch at this point. I knew my pace was slow, I was working hard and any chances of having a fabulous time were pretty much out the window.  In reality though, my paces weren't terrible -- about low 9's -- still within range of a 2-hour half marathon.

Finally the looming hill came into view.  I really didn't have much to tackle it with and a few runners resigned themselves to a walk.  I knew if I started to work, I'd probably conserve a bit of energy, but I also knew that I'd be hard-pressed to start again.  I once again wise-cracked to the runner next to me -- "how could this get any worse -- a massive uphill in gale force headwinds?"

Finally, I crested the hill and I knew things were going to get better -- or at least should get better.

I cruised down the back side and caught back up and passed some runners that had passed me on the uphill.  Despite my flagging times, I was still overtaking people and not getting overtaken, which is always a hard pill to swallow late in the race.  Perhaps I could salvage the race.

The final 5K seemed to  be the longest part of the race.  I was totally gassed and my head was telling my body "it's time to go!" and my body responded -- but just not as quickly as I felt it should've.  

The final 5K is hilly -- and mostly up.  I was aided by the tailwind but some of the wind was blocked from the neighborhoods and such.  Occasionally, I could feel it pushing me along but it wasn't as intense as I felt it should've.

Photo From Riverton's FlickR page

Every little hill slowed my pace to a crawl.  Fortunately we didn't have to go up a dreaded twisty hill like years in the past, but we did have to go down Lover's Lane -- which was finally paved!  

I was working hard and I was emotionally buoyed by the tailwind, but my legs were just dead, I knew my heart rate was skyrocketing, and it seemed like every hill was a monster one.  I kept looking for the final one.  Fortunately it isn't long, but it was another humbling shuffle to the top.

The mile markers had been hit and miss according to my watch throughout the race.  Sometimes I'd pass through a marker ahead of schedule, sometimes behind.  Also, in 2023, I ran 13.30 miles -- how far was this edition going to be?

Photo from Riverton's FlickR Page

I was doing math at this point -- did I still have a chance at 1:57?  2:00?  It was going to be close depending upon how much further I had.

Finally I made the final turn and I could see the flashing lights of the police car who was crewing the intersection that led into the park.  My watch was on mile 12-something and I was trying to judge how much further I had to run.  I wound up picking up my pace -- I now had an ever so slight downhill and a tailwind.  I picked off another runner and I was gaining on another.  I was trying to keep myself motivated.

I made another sharp left and re-entered the park where 2 hours prior I had just left.  I could hear the announcer calling out people's names.  I was so close, yet so far away and I was dying.

I knew at this point I was going to break 2 hours and the course was going to come in a hair shy of 13.10 miles.  I dug deep and sprinted to the finish -- finishing in 1:58:48.


My initial reaction to finishing was: I didn't get the time I wanted.  Not even close.  I was 100% spent and I was doubled over wanting / waiting to be sick (fortunately I wasn't).  

I had to step back, and think I had actually done pretty well.  While the wind wasn't as bad as it was at  the March Madness 10K, I had to battle it for far longer and I didn't get the benefit of it much during the race as well.  Also, this race can be best described as "challenging".  I wound up texting a few people to let them know my time and I got a unanimous "that's a great time for that course". 

Plus, I had gone into the race knowing that today wasn't going to be a great time day and to run it to effort and according to the course conditions.  I eventually made peace with myself on my performance -- it wasn't great by under the circumstances, I did as well as I could.  I'd probably give myself a grade of "B" if I was hard-pressed to grade myself.

I wound up socializing with other runners who mostly said it wasn't their day either.  They had a wide assortment of refreshments at the finish: bananas, fresh pressed orange juice, milk, water, Cliff Bars and even bundt cakes from a local baker.  Despite the wind, it was comfortable to sit and enjoy the post race glow.

I wound up placing fourth in my age group.  They only give awards to the top overall finishers and first in each age group.  For this big of a race, I am not sure why they don't expand the awards just a little bit.  However, I would've need a speedy 1:31 to win my age group.

The medal was nice -- It was a little uninspired though, especially for a half marathon.  The race also used to give out fantastic t-shirts... this year's edition --  the print was flaking off and is a cotton / polyester blend.  Just not thrilled with it.

This race is definitely a HUGE bargain if you register in January for it (or even prior to that). I got a fair bargain for my money though -- it was a well executed race from start to finish, it was marshalled and marked at every turn and had plenty of aid stations (I believe 5 or 6).  

The course is interesting as well -- with a mix of residential running and the natural beauty of the bike trail.

I'll likely continue to do this race.  It is a local event, low stress, affordable and well run.  I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging race.  Both the 5K and 10K races are also hilly. I could definitely see areas of improvement but it is a bit of a right of passage for spring races for me.

Upcoming Races

03/30: 2024 Eggs Legs 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/202024 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/27: 2024 Apple Blossom 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
05/27: 2024 Run of Remembrance 10K - American Fork,  UT 
06/01: 2024 Utah Valley Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/29: 2024 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/242024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed
08/17: 2024 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
09/28: 2024 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/19: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/26: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
02/23: 2025 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

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