Officials of USA Endurance have released details about this years’ Halloween Half Marathon in Utah on October 27, 2012. The race has been dubbed "the most fun you can have in Provo without getting arrested" by participants. The Provo Halloween Half Marathon became the second largest half marathon in Utah in 2011, and officials hope to equal or eclipse those numbers this year.
USA Endurance officials have encouraged participants to wear costumes, citing the cooler temperatures as a reason to dress up. Best racing times and funniest costumes win awards. Participants are also encouraged to bring friends. Located 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, the Provo mountainous terrain provides a challenging and scenic route for long distance runners. Provo typically experiences October high temperatures ranging from 39 degrees to 70 degrees. That is not very cold, but it is not warm either.
Runners follow a 13-mile canyon course that starts at the Alpine Loop above the luxury Sundance Resort in the mountains near Provo and ends near the Riverwoods Shopping Center. The Halloween half marathon in Utah runs downhill, dropping from an elevation of just under 7000 feet to just over 4000 feet at the end. The route travels south along the Alpine Scenic Highway for four miles, the steepest descent, levels off at the Provo Canyon Road, and eventually follows a dedicated bicycle path to the end. The run finishes in Orem at the Riverwoods Shopping Center.
The marathon sponsors bus the runners in the early morning to the starting line where they gather in a heated circus tent for the Halloween costume contest. The race capacity tops out at 4000 runners. Participants run the race in three sections, with Aid stations along the way and police presence to control traffic. In the first section, the participants will run south in the northbound lane of the Alpine Scenic Highway for the first four miles until it intersects with the Provo Canyon Road, where the first section ends.
At Provo Canyon Road, runners will cross traffic and run on the road toward Provo. The section will end at the road tunnels, and runners will take the left tunnel and join the Old Canyon Road. At the South Fork Road, the final section begins. Participants will run through a parking lot to a dedicated bike path and on to the finish line at the Redwoods Shopping Center.
Along with the beautiful fall colors, participants also experience great views of Mt. Timpanogos, the Bridalveil Falls and the Provo River. Because of the steep elevation, the race runs fast. Officials suggest following marathon guidelines for choosing running shoes. Lightweight shoes with loose fits are preferable. Runners should layer their clothes, so they can adjust to the cold air as they run.
In the past, participants have worn tutus, wigs, angel's wings, Death masks and many other costumes along with their running gear. Officials give runners race bibs with participant numbers to wear during the race. Participants combine Halloween costumes and running gear with interesting results. Officials suggest participants try to avoid costumes that cause rubbing or that have sharp objects that cut during the race. They also suggest that metal jewelry gets cold in the air, so participants may want to avoid it.
Participants receive Halloween Half Marathon t-shirts for running the race and can earn colorful race medals for placing in various categories. Runners also win plaques in various categories. For a fee, participants register online at the run's website, www.halloweenhalf.com. Registration starts more than ten months before the race date and ends a week before the race date.