Unique running races in Utah Valley attract students

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Excited runners crowd in the dark at the starting line wearing white clothing and glow-in-the-dark bracelets, necklaces and glasses. Simultaneously they surge forward amid the glow paint and black lights lighting the way toward the dance party that awaits five kilometers away.

Jana Oliver (Left) and Ariana Lilly (Right) train for the Top of Utah Half Marathon held in Logan, UT this September. (Photo by Elliott Miller)
Jana Oliver (Left) and Ariana Lilly (Right) train for the Top of Utah Half Marathon held in Logan, UT this September. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

The Glo Run is one of many specialty races that attract hundreds of participants in Utah Valley every year. These fun and exciting races are a popular motivation for students to stay active and provide runners with a variety of competitions to train for.

The Glo Run held in Salt Lake City is a 5K course lit by lasers and other light effects, accompanied with fast paced DJ music that provides an energetic atmosphere for the runners. At the finish line of the marathon, pumping music invites participants to hang out and dance. Photographers take pictures at the event to sell to participants interested in keeping a memento from the run. As a part of registration, participants also get a free glow-in-the-dark T-shirt and other “glow swag,” such as glow bracelets and glasses.

This year’s Glo Run was held on Aug. 3, but running enthusiasts should keep it on their radar for next year. Eric Bendall from Provo runs in The Glo Run every year because it is so unique.

“The first time I did a night run I knew I’d love it,” Bendall said. “I love all the glow and the dark stuff. The music keeps me pumped, too.”

Runners get covered in foam during the Foam Fest run. (Photo courtesy of Round House Racing)
Runners get covered in foam during the Foam Fest run. (Photo courtesy of Round House Racing)

Another popular run is the 5K Foam Fest that comes to Salt Lake City on Aug. 31. Teams and individual runners meet at This is The Place Heritage Park where they begin their muddy, foamy run. Team members race through an obstacle-blocked path, climb over walls, crawl through mud pits and glide down inflatable foam-covered slides. At the finish of the obstacle course, participants receive a medal and a T-shirt.

The Foam Fest throws a festival along with the run so participants that arrive early can do a limbo contest and play in a huge foam pit, which gets runners pumped and excited to start the course.

The Haunted Half is perhaps one of the most anticipated runs in Utah ever year. It will be held on Oct. 26 as a 13.1 mile grand introduction to Halloween, where participants are encouraged to dress up in costumes as goblins, witches, zombies and other scary pursuers while they run. Each water station where participants can stop for water also has fun activities, such as bobbing for apples and trick-or-treating, for runners who want to take a longer break from their run.

Kaitlyn Evans, a junior exercise science major Loomis, Calif., said she cannot wait to run in the Haunted Half. Evans has participated in other runs before, but none that were as cheap to enter or quite as interesting to her as the Halloween Half.

“I love to run and I get to dress up for the Haunted Half, which sounds super fun,” Evans said.

Emily Clark, a junior studying business management from Highland, is currently preparing to run in the Haunted Half, which will be her first half marathon.

“I’ve already been starting to train and I’ve got a bunch of friends running with me,” Clark said. “And the best part is we get to dress up. It’s always been a goal of mine to run a half marathon, and now I’m finally doing it!”

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