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The City Journals

Vigor Hosts Three Races in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Jun 08, 2016 09:57AM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights - Vigor Utah hosted its annual Big Cottonwood Canyon races on May 14 with hundreds of people showing up for the 5K, 10K or half marathon. The races are in their fifth year and have received awards for being some of the best races in the state.

Vigor Utah is owned by husband and wife duo Mark and Kasey Payzant. Kasey explained the idea of hosting a race series in Big Cottonwood Canyon came from her and Mark living in Cottonwood Heights and running in the canyon for the past 10 to 12 years. 

“We wanted runners to share in the beauty of the canyon,” Kasey said. “With the half marathon, you really get to enjoy the canyon. Where the 10K starts, that’s the most beautiful part.”

Vigor Utah described the course as being mostly downhill and perfect for either a rookie half marathoner or an experienced veteran trying to achieve a new personal record. The race has won the Runners Choice Award and the 2014 Best of Utah award, presented by “Salt Lake City Weekly.” 

Runners for all three races took buses up to the different starting points. For runners in the half marathon, the staging area was the ski school at Solitude Mountain Resort. The first 11 miles of the race took runners through the canyon with the last 2.1 miles along a trail hugging Big Cottonwood Creek. The finish line was at Old Mill Building One.

The half marathon was sanctioned by the United States Track and Field, a nonprofit that is the national governing body for the sports of track and field, cross-country running, road running and race walking. 

Runners in the 10K started at Mill B and ran through the canyon and then next to Big Cottonwood Creek. It also ended at Old Mill Building One. The 5K runners started at the mouth of the canyon at the Ledgemere Picnic Area and followed Big Cottonwood Creek to the Old Mill Building One. 

Kasey explained the 5K was added to the series so kids could come out and also enjoy the races.

“Even with the 5K, the little ones get to experience the bus ride up to their starting point,” Kasey said. “It’s a different experience for them.”

The 5K is one of the most popular races in the area. Golden Harper, founder of Altra Running, has gone on record praising the race. 

“The Vigor Big Cottonwood Canyon 5k is likely the fastest 5K in the state of Utah,” he said. “It’s a beautiful course with gentle, rolling downhill and is fun to run.”

Kasey and Mark started Vigor Utah about six years ago after being avid runners for years. 

“We’d go to running events and we’d see how they were organized,” Kasey said. “Then we decided to start our own running company.” 

Currently, Vigor Utah focuses only on providing various races throughout the Wasatch Front, including a three-part race series on the Solitude Trail. However, Kasey said there are some aspirations to provide more than just races, including gear and services.

Kasey said the whole goal behind Vigor Utah is to share the joy of running in Utah. 

“It’s a beautiful place to run. It doesn’t matter the weather,” Kasey said. “It’s like magic, running in the canyon.”

To learn more about Vigor Utah and the races it provides, visit their website at