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Race Dates

2018: Saturday, September 8, 2018
2017: Saturday, September 9, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Downhill
Type: Point to Point
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 57°F (13°C)
Average High: 70°F (21°C)
Average Low: 44° F (6°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 103.82
Course Score: 103.82

Race Size

2017: 1,381 Finishers
2016: 1,333 Finishers
2015: 1,265 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 24.8%
2016: 28.7%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

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Course Description

The Big Cottonwood Marathon course starts at a very high elevation of approximately 9,600 feet and finishes at just above 4,300 feet (~5,300' net loss).

The course begins on Guardsman Pass, circles through Brighton, and then winds straight down the canyon.

Upon exiting the canyon, the course heads north for an out-and-back on Wasatch Boulevard. This four and a half mile section is relatively flat with a few rolling hills.

After the out-and-back section, the marathon course returns to the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon and enters the city of Cottonwood Heights and travels downhill to the finish in front of the Cottonwood city offices.

The steep downhill grade can be very hard on the quadriceps - especially for those who have not trained for downhills.

If your quads and lungs survive, the course can be fast.

Marathon Rankings

The REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon was the 59th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 69th largest in 2016.

Last year 24.8% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 28.7% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon the 33rd highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 15th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 103.82 ranks it as the 12th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 1st fastest course in Utah.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are within the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon a PR Score of 103.82. This PR Score ranks it as the 9th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 1st fastest in Utah.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 9726 feet (2965m)
Min Elevation: 4441 feet (1353m)


Recent REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon Reviews

4.6 Stars from 12 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2017 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


This was not my first choice for my initial BQ attempt but really glad it worked out! Fast course, Size was perfect, plenty of aid stations, good local cheering!

Race Tips

When I heard about the dramatic downhill of this course I got scared. My advice- drive the course the day before. This totally calmed me down. Yes, it sure has a lot of downhill but only a few sections were really steep. I planned on going out just under my BQ pace but found that very hard. I was told to shorten my stride and have quicker step turnover. This was the best advice ever!! My avg pace for the first 19 miles was 30 seconds faster then planned and without the "long stride pounding" on the downhill my quads held up ok. Yes- Be prepared for the change in the out and back, it definitely was the hardest part of the course. All in all- I got my BQ by 8 min and PR'd by 23 min!!

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Since this was a last min decision to run this course I just grabbed the cheapest, closest hotel to the start. Due to the size of the race I was able to get parking no problem and only walked 5 min to the busses. ALSO- I was planning on running in Idaho the same day but the fires made smoke so bad that running seemed unhealthy. Really grateful that this race still had entries the morning before so I could "road trip" down and make my BQ dream a reality. THANK YOU REVEL!!

review of 2017 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


I'm coming from South Florida, humidity, temperature, and elevation and the change of it are extremely different. The first 18.5 Miles were fast! High altitude had negligible effects as long as you're going downhill. It was 45 degrees in the mountains and my Garmin recorded a PR from every distance from 2miles to 30k, what happened after that is a different story. The temp was 70 degrees with a slight incline at 4300 feet elevation. It was a brutal struggle to keep things moving. At the end, the final 8 Miles might have cost me 7 minutes overall but that's negligible compared to the benefits of the first 18.5. Race organization, race support, race expo and medical personnel were absolutely top notch. This was my 17th marathon and it was nearly flawless organization. Only suggestion is to put the GU people further away from the water people so I can wash it down. I ran a 3:01:26. I was worried about it being a small race but even at my level I had plenty of other runners around me to keep me motivated. Running up on slow half marathoners in the later stages of the race was not an issue.

Race Tips

Practice downhills, practice running faster paces because you'll be running 5k pace a lot. Use KT tape, practice longer runs so that you're prepared to work very hard after 18.5. Bring your space blanket for the top of the mountain, it'ss cold when you're not moving around.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I used Airbnb and I stayed near mile 23 of the course, woohoo. No issues for travel, and traffic before or after the race.

review of 2016 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Excellent organization and small Expo, which help me not to spend too much time walking so I could rest my legs for the race. Stayed in Crystal Inn and they offered FREE pasta dinner and breakfast to go at 3:00am. 2 race buses picked us up at the hotel to the starting line. Hydration points every 2 miles and funny signs along the race made me kept going. Very fast course and did not feel I had to brake along the course. I did a PR and only trained for 8 weeks since I had a surgery. Will race it again in 2017 and hope to train for at least 16 weeks!!!!

Race Tips

For me Miles 20 thru 24 are the tough ones, since they are flat and little slopes, also weather gets a little warm. Miles 24 til finish line are flat and little downhill which are good to give all you have left. Do some training in downhills and running hills to help legs getting used to the course...., but this course is not so bad if you have Marathon experience.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

If you do not want to drive and avoid hurries, stay in the recommended hotels....the Race organizers will send buses to the hotels. Most of these hotels will offer pasta dinner and early breakfast. There is plenty of parking where the buses are waiting also.

review of 2016 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Excellent Organization. Love the downhill. I did not feel it was hard on quads since I trained on various types of courses with hills. Made PR and only made my training for 8 weeks because of a surgery. Will do the race again.

Race Tips

Did all the race at a steady pace. Ran with 5 people at my side, did not feel crowded. Hydration every mile.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Stay at a Race recommended hotel , since organization will send pick up buses at hotel.

review of 2016 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


The marathon was gorgeous and very well run.

Race Tips

The first four miles are incredibly steep. (I intended to run 7:45 minute miles, but ran the first mile in 6:27 because it was hard to hold back) The only way to get the full time advantage of this downhill course is to practice on steep hills. I ran hills and did one and two legged squats in preparation but, still, by the end of the race my legs were completely spent and sore for ten days after. The first 18 to 19 miles are beautiful, shaded and downhill, then it begins uphill (admittedly mild, but by comparison jarring) and in full sun. Also, it is very cold at the start because of elevation and early morning so bring lots of layers and the provided space blanket. The drop bag system is extremely efficient. Overall, I really enjoyed this marathon, but wish I had gone out slower.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

The Crystal Inn provides nice accommodations (including race day snacks starting at 3:00 a.m.) and is within walking distance (about 1 mile) of the finish.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon in 2:49:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.