If you spot a familiar sight along the race route at Salt Lake City's State Capitol Half Marathon, you don't have to do a double-take. The city's newly renovated state capitol building, which lies on a hill overlooking the city and is viewable along much of the event's 13.1-mile race course, is modeled on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. and serves as the finish line for what is set to be the second annual running of this race, on Memorial Day in the spring of 2011.
The race follows a point-to-point course that starts along the southeastern edge of the city near the community of Mount Olympus, along Wasatch Boulevard near the Olympus Hills Shopping Center. From there, runners follow a route that takes the shape of an inverted "J," taking them northward along Interstate 215 and Highway 186 before making their way into the city's Pioneer Trail State Park, where they follow natural surface trails that zig-zag through the park's hills.
The park lies at the edge of the Wasatch National Forest, which opens up into the mountains to the west and north of the city, and commemorates the Mormon Pioneer Trail, over which more than 70,000 Mormons traveled on their way from points as far east as Illinois and Iowa on their way to the end of their journey at the Great Salt Lake, and what later became Salt Lake City.
Once through the park -- which also features perhaps the steepest hilly stretch of the race -- runners then head northwest along the edge of the campus of the University of Utah, crossing Red Butte Canyon Road on their way toward Popperton Park and past the Salt Lake City Cemetery and Mount Calvary Cemetery.
For the last three miles of the race, runners get a welcome relief from the hills around the middle of the route with a gradual descent that starts around the mile 9 marker and heads downhill all the way to the finish. Runners pass along the eastern edge of Memory Grove Park, along Bonneville Boulevard through City Creek Canyon, and then the final mile of the race takes them in to the finish line near the 40 acres of the Utah State Capitol, which looks over the city majestically and lies just a few blocks north of Brigham Young Historic Park and the Salt Lake Temple.
Weather & Climate
Located in northern Utah, near the southern end of the Great Salt Lake, the city of Salt Lake City typically experiences some of its mildest and wettest weather conditions on average during the month the race is held, as May brings the city's heaviest rainfall totals of the year, with just over 2.3 inches for the month (though still relatively dry when compared to cities nearer the west coast). In May, Salt Lake City's average monthly temperatures range between 70°F and 51°F, while the average high for May 30 is 75°F and the average low is 55°F.
To reserve your spot in the Memorial Day 2011 running of Salt Lake City's State Capitol Half Marathon, register online at the event website.
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