written by Emily Buckley, editor in chief
For 20 years, the Top of Utah Marathon has been a Cache Valley tradition, bringing runners from around the country to enjoy the beauty of our mountains and Valley as they competed in what many consider the pinnacle of running athletics: a 26.2 mile race that only half a percent of people in the United States will ever complete.
This year, the race received a reboot and new name: the Logan City Marathon, and is now under the ownership of Headspin Events, the same group behind the Cache Gran Fondo bike race, which has received national and international recognition.
The first race day under the new name is September 21, and will include a 26.2 mile marathon, a two-person marathon relay, a 10K trail race, a 5K race, and a kids and family one-mile fun run. The Logan City Marathon starts and ends in Downtown Logan, traveling through historic neighborhoods, along the Logan River Trail and Logan River Golf Course, on wide-open country roads, and through scenic wetland areas.
“We have taken some of the best parts of the Top of Utah Marathon, like accurate timing, great support stations, names being called at the finish line, long-sleeve T-shirts, and bold finisher medals and added to them on a beautiful course that is flat and gentler on runners’ knees,” race director Troy Oldham said.
An important part of the race organization has been providing a way to get the community and families involved. “We hope that if you are a runner, even if you are just starting out, you will pick a distance and join,” Troy said. “All runners will start and end at the same places, and they all get finisher medals and shirts.”
Fun run participants will be sent out immediately after the distance runners. They will run west on Center Street to Café Sabor and then come back to cross the same finish line that marathon runners will cross.
“We hope every runner brings their family and has them join in the fun run. Then they can enjoy the post-race festivities together on Center Street,” Troy said. “Imagine a steady flow of runners coming across the finish line, families and friends there to cheer them on, share in the celebration, and enjoy a healthy brunch on us.”
Headspin Events, like the Cache Gran Fondo, have become known for their big, festive finishes. “We focus on participant experience,” Troy said. “We think it has paid off. The Cache Gran Fondo has grown and been recognized as a top ten national Gran Fondo event, and will host a UCI Gran Fondo Wold Championship event in 2019. The best part about our growth, though, is the ability to raise money for local charities. We, with our participants, have been able to raise money for The Family Place, Common Ground, Cache Valley High School Mountain Bike Team, Bike Utah, and Logan Regional Cancer Services.”
The fun run, sponsored in part by Cache Valley Family Magazine, will benefit The Family Place. “One hundred percent of proceeds from the fun run will go to support the great service The Family Place provides our community,” Troy said.
The Family Place is a local, nonprofit organization focused on building strong families in Cache and Rich Counties. They work with parents and children to support good relationships and develop new approaches to family life through family-focused events, workshops, counseling services, emergency and transitional childcare, and their Starfish Children’s Shelter.
“The Family Place is thrilled to be the charity partner of the Logan City Marathon Fun Run,” Esterlee Molyneux, executive director of The Family Place, said. “We believe in family, community, and engaging in activities that build connections and support for one another. The fun run is in line with all of these goals and will also help raise funds to support our 24-hour services available to all parents in our community.”
The Logan City Marathon is looking for three additional sponsors for the fun run, to help cover the costs of medals, shirts, and brunch. “We want all money from the fun run to flow directly to The Family Place,” Troy said.