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Monday, August 1, 2011

Marathon #22- The Morgan Valley Marathon

Here in Utah, July 24th is a holiday called Pioneer Day. It is a day Utah celebrates the day Mormon pioneers settled Utah. There are all kinds of activities going on that day including the Deseret Marathon and 10K. I ran the Deseret Marathon last year and was really looking forward to running it again this year, until I found out that July 24th fell on a Sunday. Here in Utah, folks don't race on Sunday. I optimistically thought they would hold the marathon and all other activities on Saturday (that's what any sane person would do), but to my dismay, they the Deseret Marathon was held on Monday and I had to work.

We are quite lucky here in Utah as we have a tremendous amount of races to choose from, so instead of taking vacation time off, I decided to run the Morgan Valley Marathon five days later on July 30th. Fellow Maniac,Galloway Runner and friend, Kim Weddington had already signed up for the race and convinced me to sign up during our time together running Ragnar's Wasatch Back this year.

Kim was so nice to invite me to stay out at her parent's cabin with her family. Her dad Gary is a member of our Galloway group as well and is just a lot of fun. I left work around 4:30pm on Friday and made the one hour drive to Morgan, where I met everyone at the cabin.

The Walton's cute little log cabin we stayed at!

From there Kim, Gary, Kim's daughter Ally and I drove to the expo, which was held at the fairgrounds where the start and finish of the race was. It was a really small little expo and by the look of it we knew this was going to be a small little race. We picked up our race bags and t-shirts and headed back to the cabin, where Kim's mom had a delicious pasta dinner waiting for us. After dinner we sat out on the balcony and talked before turning in for the night.

The view from the balcony at the cabin overlooked the race course.

Gary and Ally were running the half marathon so they got to sleep in a little longer than Kim and I did. Kim and I were up at 3:45am as our race began at 5:30am. This gave us plenty of time to eat, get dressed, and hit the restroom before heading to the starting line.

Kim and I at the start!

When we got to the start, there were not very many people there. Kim and I thought we were the only Marathon Maniacs there until the lovely Rebecca Miller Steven showed up and introduced herself to us. She told us that there were about 80 Marathoners registered. The race director gave all of us some last minute instructions and the gun went off!

Kim is a pretty fast runner so we said our goodbyes and she took off. I started talking to Rebecca and a very nice guy named Keith (who we found out was one of the sponsors). The three of us had a great time running along the beautiful Morgan countryside.

Rebecca and Keith with our new friend!

I have to say, I am always a little iffy when it comes to inaugural races. I will run them, but I make sure I am self sufficient when I do (making sure I carry my own water, fuel, etc.). This race exceeded my expectations. Not only did the aid stations have the friendliest volunteers, they were well stocked. Temps were supposed to be close to 90 degrees and they were ready with cold sponges and these really cool little neck coolers that you could tie around your neck then re-soak them at the next water stop. We all took those things home!

Another thing I loved was the little golf carts driving up and down the course cheering and checking on everyone. The attention to the little things made this race great.

The miles seemed to fly by and before we knew it we were finishing! Rebecca finished her 91st marathon, I finished my 22nd and Keith finished his first!

After the race I saw Kim and Rebecca and I sat with her to watch the awards and raffle. The overall awards were so cute!

1st Place Boot! So Utah! I love it!

Then they started the raffle. I NEVER win anything so I was shocked and surprised to hear my name called as the winner of a really nice electric toothbrush!
My Prize!

We were even more shocked when Kim and Rebecca won the next two prizes, some really cute handbags! Kim told everyone to come sit in the lucky spot where we were. After the raffle came the age group awards. Again we were shocked when Kim and Rebecca took 1st and 2nd in their age group and I took 3rd in mine! Granted this was a small race, but I was still happy to get an age group award for 1st time ever!

Rebecca, Kim and I showing off our awards and prizes!

Before leaving we went and told the race director how much we enjoyed the race and on our way out of the gate, she ran up and handed me a handbag just like Kim's! She told us "you guys need to match!" Score!!

This was a great marathon and I highly recommend it! HUGE thanks to the Waltons and their puppies for their hospitality!
My Heaven! SWEET!!

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