Overall Rating
Overall Rating (31 Reviews)
4.5
(31 Ratings)  (31 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.2
SCENERY
4.6
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
3.8
The Mesa Falls Marathon and Half Marathon races are point to point courses that begin in the Targhee National Forest near the headwaters of the Warm River and end in the city of Ashton, Idaho. The 10K, 5K and 1 mile races start and end in Ashton City Park. Because … MORE
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Recent reviews

    jstick FIRST-TIMER '22

    Most scenic race yet. First half has great views of the grand tetons then nice double track trail along the river. Cons: no bathrooms at the start and not one … MORE

    Most scenic race yet. First half has great views of the grand tetons then nice double track trail along the river.

    Cons: no bathrooms at the start and not one until mile 9. Cheap finisher “medal” (wood).

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

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    drmoll2011 REPEAT RUNNER '22

    First things first: this race had a change in race director this year, so some slack needs to be cut for that. Hopefully they will ask for/respond to feedback and … MORE

    First things first: this race had a change in race director this year, so some slack needs to be cut for that. Hopefully they will ask for/respond to feedback and things will be better in the future.

    I ran the full marathon last year and ADORED it. I was 100% ready to run it again this year, with lessons learned from 2021 and my free entry thanks to RaceRaves. 🙂

    However, when I went to register, I found disappointment #1: The race date had changed, from the 4th Saturday in August to mid-July. The race personnel offered reasons for the change – to give the local track team a chance to participate, to avoid the grain harvest and thus trucks having to swerve to miss runners – but it was still a blow. Late August weather can be anything – last year the high was 66 – but here you’re kind of guaranteed hot weather mid-July. They did move the race times up an hour (the full started at 5:30 instead of 6:30). But I thought, okay, I’ll just suck it up and train for much hotter weather than last year.

    Then, a few weeks before the race, I went to the website to review the course and found disappointment #2: the first 9 miles of the course had changed, from the lovely (to me) Forest Service road I ran on last year to 9 straight miles on highway 47. I know some people didn’t like the uneven nature of the Forest Service road, but this changed a race that was about half on unpaved roads or trail to 22 miles of road and 4 miles of trail. I drove the new start of the course and didn’t see it as scenic at all – it was just mile after mile of highway with the occasional patch of wildflowers on either side. This was the tipping point for me, and I decided to change to the half, which would start on the beautiful dirt trail before heading to the infamous hill.

    Prior to the race, the only communication I received via email was an email about where to find my results. There was no email from the race personnel regarding details – I had to go to the website, and some of the information there had been outdated, so I was just hoping it was correct (turned out some of it was not).

    On race day, the first buses for the half were due to leave at 5:30. After sitting on a bus for about 20 minutes, I asked the driver when we were going to leave. I and my fellow runners were startled when he said, “In about 25 minutes” (at 6:30 for a 7:00 start). Other runners also protested, saying the first bus was supposed to leave at 5:30 and the last one at 6:30, and they wanted to be there earlier to use the portapotties, warm up, etc. Fortunately, the driver listened to our plea and took us to the start.

    The other not so pleasant surprise was that the bathroom on the bus was, as the driver said, “Non-functional.” And finally, when I tried to verify that I could leave my gear bag on the bus (which is what the website said), the driver at first said, no, he wasn’t going back. When I said I couldn’t run with it, he kindly agreed to take it to the finish line. After I disembarked, I saw a pickup truck with other gear bags in the back, and asked the race personnel on site about the confusion. He very kindly said he would text the driver and make sure my bag got taken to the finish line (and it was there, thank goodness).

    The first 4 miles of the half course are the most perfect (in my opinion) – running on a gorgeous dirt trail next to the river. Heaven. As most who know this race know, this trail emerges into a campground, then wanders for a bit before going up a quite steep hill. Thank goodness I hit this portion relatively early (for me) and it was still in the shade.

    Be aware that the last 6 miles of this course are on wide open country roads with extremely rare shade. There are some lovely views of the Tetons, and the course support is good. I appreciated not having to run for 2 miles on the very busy highway 47, as this year the course kept us on country roads other than a VERY brief stint on 47 near the high school. The finish line offerings were very nice, including melons in addition to the ubiquitous bananas. And, as always, I loved my medal.

    In the week leading up and the day of the race, I was more and more grateful that I had elected to run the half (did I mention the high that day was 91 with nary a cloud in the sky?). A part of me wished I had gone ahead and done the full, but when I felt how warm it was by 10:00, I couldn’t imagine being out there for another 2 hours (and I would have been, given my typical pace).

    All in all, I have gone from “I am so looking forward to running this again!” to “I’m honestly not sure I want to run either again.” However, I wish the new race directors all the best, and hope they will review what they know went awry and what runners tell them, and restore this race to its former glory.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    jmskafidas FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is such a well run small town race. Appreciated the ease of a drive through bib pickup, where they gave you an Idaho potato sack filled with goodies! Race … MORE

    This is such a well run small town race. Appreciated the ease of a drive through bib pickup, where they gave you an Idaho potato sack filled with goodies! Race morning they provided luxury buses to transport us to the start line, which was much appreciated. I stayed on the bus as long as possible, as it was a brisk 35 degrees that morning.

    I absolutely loved the first 17 miles of the course. It was a mix of gravel, dirt and paved road. Really kept you on your toes and made the mileage fly by. But then…the hill!! This hill is no joke! Knowing this was a net downhill course I did not train properly for this 2 mile incline. I was able to run up it, but then the sun came out and things started to really heat up. My quads were shot at the top, so it made it hard to push through the stretch of open farmland with rolling hills that was the final leg of the course.

    Once you turned into the downtown area my spirit was lifted by the locals who came out to cheer us on to the finish! Great after party. So much food and there’s nothing better than a free massage immediately after. Helped greatly with my recovery. I would absolutely recommend this race, just learn from me and make sure to train for that hill!

    Lastly, I’d suggest flying into Jackson Hole to get a chance to visit the Tetons while you’re in the area. My favorite place in the world!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    drmoll2011 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Loved the early start (edited: by early start, I mean the regular start time of 6:30. They offer a 5:00 am start but that was TOO early for me, lol) … MORE

    Loved the early start (edited: by early start, I mean the regular start time of 6:30. They offer a 5:00 am start but that was TOO early for me, lol) and the luxury bus ride to the start (with bathrooms, no less!). The start itself was quick and efficient, the course was CLEARLY marked with plenty of people to send you in the right direction. The scenery was positively gorgeous and we could not have had nicer weather…even the smoke cleared away for the day. As a slow marathoner (evidence above), I was particularly grateful that each and every aide station remained open and stocked – I have run marathons before where I was well ahead of the time cap but the end aid stations were abandoned. And the community was amazing – they cheered me on, offered to spray me (it was a warm late morning) and in general were just supportive as could be.

    The first 9.6 miles of the course are not too bad, running on a nice gravel/dirt road with plenty of trees and cows for company. I was grateful that the photographer stayed at the first turnoff for us back of the packers – so often photographers only bother with the faster folks. The downhills! Wow!! I did not get to stop and look at Mesa Falls, but I’ll go back later when I’m not trying to meet my own time deadline.

    The dirt trail portion also was great. It was nice to run on a soft surface and to see the river snaking along to my left. It was a little spooky at times since I was all alone and had heard reports of bears in the area, but it was still great.

    THE HILL is as advertised. It was a brutal, brutal climb and it came when I bonked, so I confess I walked the whole thing. My biggest concern was the traffic, so I’ll have to consult with others for the next time I run it about which side of the road to run on. I ended up on the shoulder pretty much the whole time.

    The last 6 miles were familiar to me as I had run on them as a training run. They are in the wide open and the sun, and I underestimated what I would need for electrolytes, so I hit the wall hard and did a lot of walking. But when I hit those last 2 miles into town, I was able to finally get back on a sidewalk and pick up my pace. Again, the community could not have been more supportive, with smiles, waves, and honks from passing cars/trucks.

    Crossing the finish line was a moment of great emotion and happiness, and the huckleberry milkshake was also as advertised – DELICIOUS!!! I loved the medal and appreciated being able to leave my bag on the bus and pick it up afterward.

    My only quibbles were the lack of response to questions on the event Facebook page (I had to call the race director to get information) and no portapotties at the start line. But I am already planning what I will do differently next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    kgiombi FIRST-TIMER '21

    The race was extremely well-organized and really catered to the runners. Packet pickup was open until late the night before. They held a pasta dinner. Breakfast on race morning was … MORE

    The race was extremely well-organized and really catered to the runners. Packet pickup was open until late the night before. They held a pasta dinner. Breakfast on race morning was free for runners. The buses to take us to the start were great (not school buses!) with bathrooms and they stayed at the start line until almost the race start so you could stay warm. You could leave your bag on the bus and it was waiting for you at the finish line. I have never seen so many aid stations for a half marathon. Everyone was friendly. The scenery was beautiful. Lots of good post-race food. I was extremely impressed with this small town race! It was a great tune-up for Boston! It was challenging with the hills but a great course!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    nashx183 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I liked the swag bag: one of those red, mesh bags that potatoes come in! What better way to say welcome to Idaho than being given a swag bag that … MORE

    I liked the swag bag: one of those red, mesh bags that potatoes come in! What better way to say welcome to Idaho than being given a swag bag that says Idaho Potatoes!

    I call it a hybrid because it was partly trail/partly paved. If you like trails, then you’ll love the beginning of the race. The first few miles are winding trail and downhill, so you feel like a deer flying through the woods. It spits you out about mile 4 or so (I can’t really remember exact numbers) onto pavement. From there you’ll start a humbling 3 mile uphill stretch on pavement. This section is about miles 5-8, and miles 17-20 of the full marathon.

    The last several miles are out in the open on paved roads through farm fields. There are a couple minor hills but it’s relatively flat and straight to the finish line. I can’t say I enjoyed this part of the race much but I loved that I could see the Teton Mountains in the distance.

    Post-race, it was a comfortable, nice atmosphere. Lots of fresh fruit, drinks, hot pizza, etc for finishers. I especially loved the ticket for a free Huckleberry milkshake at the local restaurant, and the free post-race massages.

    I don’t know how many runners participated total, but the half marathon was about 200 I think. I wouldn’t say it’s a very competitive race since I took 5th overall, and first in my age group (M25-29) with a time of about 1:40. That’s not a slow time, but I think you know what I mean.

    I just moved to the area from North Carolina where it was excessively hot and humid but at sea level. Race day was cool, about 40 degrees at start. The route probably averages around 5500′, but since it averaged downhill it wasn’t noticeable. I think it starts at about 5800 and finished at 5300.

    I will definitely be returning next year. Possibly for the full marathon instead!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Aditi Jhalani
    jhalaniaditi FIRST-TIMER '20

    Enjoy and run . It was fun run. Enjoyed virtual run would love to run at mesa marathon site I saw the environment this time. It's was so encouraging and … MORE

    Enjoy and run . It was fun run. Enjoyed virtual run would love to run at mesa marathon site

    I saw the environment this time. It’s was so encouraging and lively. Felt like running right at that time.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    Pros: 1. Course is mostly scenic with the exception of a few miles. Net downhill course. 2. Mostly well-organized 3. Ran this during Covid and thought they took appropriate measures … MORE

    Pros:
    1. Course is mostly scenic with the exception of a few miles. Net downhill course.
    2. Mostly well-organized
    3. Ran this during Covid and thought they took appropriate measures for runner safety
    4. I actually liked the small wooden finisher medal but could see why others may not like it
    5. Nice long sleeve race shirt
    6. Good chance of getting an age group award (wooden plaque) compared to other races. I got my first age group award ever (third place)!
    7. Plenty of aid stations

    Cons:
    1. There are some nasty uphills in the later miles so be prepared for that!
    2. Hotel options aren’t great. We ended up staying in Idaho falls and made the drive.
    3. No bag drop
    4. Not many restrooms at the start so the lines were very very long
    5. Not the race organizers fault but we had tough conditions that day. Very hot (high of 90 degrees that day) and poor air quality (from wildfires in a nearby state)

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    usamhall FIRST-TIMER '20

    This race is a Covid race and we know much has changed. But I really love this race. I was allowed an early start so my first two hours were … MORE

    This race is a Covid race and we know much has changed. But I really love this race. I was allowed an early start so my first two hours were great for running. With the altitude drop I was running right behind the leader. It was a dream, I am never that far out front. But this is a cool race, with lots of spectators. And I really appreciated the small town atmosphere. So put this race on your bucket list…. you will enjoy it.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    I enjoyed the course and the scenery. Nice medium hill in the middle with most of the course flat to downhill. First few miles on a gravel trail along the … MORE

    I enjoyed the course and the scenery. Nice medium hill in the middle with most of the course flat to downhill. First few miles on a gravel trail along the river, then rural roads with not much traffic.
    There were many families cheering along the way and aid stations were plentiful. Shirt and medal were decent and they give you an Idaho potato bag for your gear! Plenty of parking at the race start. My only issue was the free Huckleberry shake you get with the race was not available until after 11.
    The race does not go by the falls… so make sure you do it before or after.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Aug 26, 2020 at 2:21pm

    Congrats on coloring in Idaho, Chris! Great to see your 50 States quest roll on with so many races canceling. Huckleberry shakes at any time of the day are one… MORE

    Congrats on coloring in Idaho, Chris! Great to see your 50 States quest roll on with so many races canceling. Huckleberry shakes at any time of the day are one of my fondest memories of Idaho/Montana/Wyoming. And good tip on the falls, since that certainly isn't obvious from the race name. Thanks for another nice review, and fingers crossed for Crazy Horse! LESS

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    lmcimbala FIRST-TIMER '19

    The scenery was fun - a cow and her calf passed in front of us during the race! Very diverse from gravel roads to quad trails to 2-lane, non-traveled roads. … MORE

    The scenery was fun – a cow and her calf passed in front of us during the race! Very diverse from gravel roads to quad trails to 2-lane, non-traveled roads. If you like up-hills, the 2 mile hill climb was awesome after 16 miles of down hill. The race director was the nicest director at any race I ever ran. The water stops, with super nice volunteers, had about 6 flavors of Gatorade, grapes, GU’s and all sorts of energy food. The view from about 5 miles, where we could see town where the finish was, was awesome. Temps were perfect. Optional golf shirt instead of race shirt (for small additional fee) was really nice because I have too many tech shirts. Race entry fee was very reasonable. This was one of the nicest marathons of the 64 I’ve completed and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to run one just for fun. (The gravel and quad road would make it hard for a PR). If you can ever make it to Idaho, come in August and try to run this one. (We came all the way from Pennsylvania!) You won’t be disappointed!!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Mthro5 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I ran the Mesa Falls Half Marathon. This was my second year running this race and I plan on running it every year from now on! It is a beautiful … MORE

    I ran the Mesa Falls Half Marathon. This was my second year running this race and I plan on running it every year from now on! It is a beautiful course and the scenery is absolutely stunning. From the forested area of the Warm River, up onto the dry farms and the breath taking view of the Grand Tetons, you won’t find a more tranquil run! The course is a great mix of difficult and easy making it just enough of a challenge yet still totally do-able for first timers. The Race coordinators are amazing and make the whole atmosphere of the race fun, exciting and high energy. It is very organized and well put together. I highly suggest this race!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    ehrenhaderlie FIRST-TIMER '19

    The scenery is beautiful and the organizers are excellent. Plenty of water stations and things to help you keep going. Great cheering teams. I would 100% do it again, but … MORE

    The scenery is beautiful and the organizers are excellent. Plenty of water stations and things to help you keep going. Great cheering teams. I would 100% do it again, but the medal was a bit disappointing. It was small and made of wood. The image was nice, but the overall product looks cheap.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    mrs.jnetgreen REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This is the best little hometown marathon you will experience. From the race swag put into a potato sack to the hometown volunteers, INCLUDING THE MAYOR, at the aide stations … MORE

    This is the best little hometown marathon you will experience. From the race swag put into a potato sack to the hometown volunteers, INCLUDING THE MAYOR, at the aide stations and the huckleberry shakes at the end…This race doesn’t disappoint. The scenery is so beautiful. The different terrain you experience and just an overall pride that Ashton, Idaho has for this marathon is so much fun. I love this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    KathyMorgan FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race features a very scenic course. There is a lot of support along the way -everything from people on 4-wheelers on the lookout for bears to frequent water stations … MORE

    This race features a very scenic course. There is a lot of support along the way -everything from people on 4-wheelers on the lookout for bears to frequent water stations and well-placed port-a-potties. Volunteers were very helpful and accommodating. I loved being able to leave clothing at a water station as I shed layers through the race and find it waiting for me at the finish line. This was my first marathon and the experience couldn’t have been better.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    markbreznikdev FIRST-TIMER '19

    Even though this was my first half-marathon I really enjoyed it and ended up in the top 20%! The first 4miles downhill is probably the most fun to run ever! … MORE

    Even though this was my first half-marathon I really enjoyed it and ended up in the top 20%! The first 4miles downhill is probably the most fun to run ever! The scenery is just amazing and running in groups is amazing, but then you see the first big uphill and it literally kills you. On the top, you’re like finally, until you realize that the rest of the run is just hills up and down we go.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    jdunbar2 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I’ve run this several times. Such s lovely little town. 15 minutes from the incredible Mesa Falls. The most beautiful place. The farmers market, the spaghetti dinner. The friendliest group … MORE

    I’ve run this several times. Such s lovely little town. 15 minutes from the incredible Mesa Falls. The most beautiful place.
    The farmers market, the spaghetti dinner. The friendliest group of people you’ll ever meet.
    A warm bus ride, runners breakfast. An incredible race that is supported by volunteers and awesome home owners along the way.
    Go early. Drive the route. Visit the breath taking falls,. Breath the clean mountain air. Walk a country road.
    Truly my favorite race of the year.
    Incredible views.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    awh143fe FIRST-TIMER '19

    Once you get tired of big city marathons and the hassle that goes along with them you should try this one. Everything is easy... registration, packet pick-up, they bus you … MORE

    Once you get tired of big city marathons and the hassle that goes along with them you should try this one. Everything is easy… registration, packet pick-up, they bus you to the start (tour bus, not a school bus). Then you run back into town. Lots of varied scenery and running surface. The people at the aid stations were enthusiastic and helpful.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    chart94 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first ever race so I did not know what to expect, and everything was perfect. The 3 mile hill was very tough and had most people walking, … MORE

    This was my first ever race so I did not know what to expect, and everything was perfect. The 3 mile hill was very tough and had most people walking, but the rest of the course wasn’t too tricky. My only complaint is that the half marathoners seemed to be clogging up the trail portion, walking, as marathons try to run through. It would be nice if they didn’t start at such a congested area, or if they didn’t start exactly two hours after the marathon. Very scenic, and my at first Begrudging boyfriend really enjoyed driving around and admiring the scenery before stopping to be my fan club here and there

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    rcturk262 FIRST-TIMER '18

    First off, weather was nice and cool for a half marathon in August. Scenery was amazing and varied. Buses used to transport us to the start were very comfortable. Course … MORE

    First off, weather was nice and cool for a half marathon in August. Scenery was amazing and varied. Buses used to transport us to the start were very comfortable. Course was challenging with a nice long uphill during the first half of the race and a nice flat finish. Very nice age group awards and even though it wasn’t a huge field, the age groups were every 5 years. Post race food was good and we were given a coupon for a free huckleberry milkshake…it was AWESOME!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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