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The City Journals

Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon Draws Thousands

Sep 29, 2016 09:45AM ● By Kelly Cannon

A large S curve is just one part of the Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon. (Revel)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected] 

Cottonwood Heights, Utah - Thousands of racers worked their way through Big Cottonwood Canyon on Sept. 10 during the fastest marathon in the state. The Revel Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon has been going on since Dec. 2012 and has grown in popularity for its speed and its beautiful landscape.

The Revel Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon was started by Lane Brooks, owner of Revel, and his brother.

“It was my brother and I back in 2011, we noticed there were marathons all the way up and down the Wasatch Front and all the way down to St. George but no marathon in the best canyon of all of them, which is Big Cottonwood Canyon,” Brooks said. “We got the idea from there and the first one was December 2012.”

After experiencing roadblocks in terms of resistance from stakeholders, the brothers convinced interested parties the marathon would be a valuable city asset. The marathon also donates fees to both the Cottonwood Height Youth Program and the Cottonwood Heights Foundation as a way to give back to the community. 

The 2012 race had around 1,000 racers. It’s subsequently grown to around 5,000 racers each year.

The 2016 men’s division winner was Zachary Cater-Cyker, 31, with a finishing gun time of 2:32:55. In second place was Jacob Gustafsson, 32, with a finish of 2:35:51. Brent Bailey, 30, finished third with a time of 2:36:47.

The 2016 women’s division winner was Amanda Blair, 26, with a gun time of 2:53:32. Lyndsy Schultz, 35, was the second-place finisher in 2:54:29. In third place, with a time of 2:56:17, was Shannon McGinn, 40.

According to Brooks, the Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon is the fastest and the most beautiful marathon in the state by several metrics. 

“If you look at the average finishing time of all the participants, the Big Cottonwood Marathon is 10 minutes faster than anything else. Our mantra is fast and beautiful. That’s how we differentiate our marathon,” Brooks said. “In terms of beauty, it’s Big Cottonwood Canyon. You can’t beat the beauty in the fall. Typically, the leaves are changing colors and if you go to the website and see the awesome views. It’s not unusual for our participants to see moose along the way and other wildlife.”

An average time for the race is 4:8:40. The next fastest race in the state of Utah is the Deseret News Marathon with an average time of 4:22:21. 

The Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon is also a Boston Marathon–qualifying race with the most racers qualifying in the state. According to Revel, 25.1 percent of racers qualify for the prestigious race. The next closest percentage is the Deseret News Marathon with 12.1 percent of racers qualifying. 

In order for someone to qualify for the Boston Marathon, runners must meet the time standard that corresponds to their age and gender. For instance, to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon, a man between the age of 18 to 34 must run a Boston Marathon–qualifying marathon in under 3:05:00. A woman in the same age bracket must run a Boston Marathon–qualifying marathon in under 3:35:00.

According to Brooks, to become a Boston qualifying after a representative of the USA Track and Field Association came and certified the race was 26.2 miles. 

In addition to the variety of marathons and half marathons Revel provides, Brooks said the company also hopes to promote healthy and active lifestyles. 

“For me, I need to have something to keep me motivated to go out and exercise,” Brooks said. “Signing up for a marathon or a half marathon is an awesome thing I need to get me out running every day. We like to help promote an active and healthy lifestyle.”

To learn more about Revel and its races, visit