Overall Rating
Overall Rating (9 Reviews)
4.2
(9 Ratings)(9 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.8
SCENERY
4.6
PRODUCTION
4.7
SWAG
4.2
This incredibly fast and remarkably beautiful road race takes runners from the forests and canyons of the Wasatch Mountains to the foothills of Salt Lake City, Utah. Featuring a speedy downhill slope and spectacular scenery, this race will be sure to help you set your PR and finally hit that … MORE
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Recent reviews

    alaskey FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first Revel race. It was outstanding! The expo is really well organized--you start upstairs getting your bib and then going down through the expo. There is an … MORE

    This was my first Revel race. It was outstanding! The expo is really well organized–you start upstairs getting your bib and then going down through the expo. There is an app you can download to collect codes and earn points towards a drawing for various prizes. The shirt was a nice shirt, with several upgrade choices ranging from tanks to long sleeves to hoodies. The bag for pick up is your drop bag and includes gloves and a mylar blanket–very welcome given how cold it can be at the start. As in most canyon races in UT, you need to be at the bus well before the sun comes up. There are lots and lots of buses with more than enough parking (don’t be a lemming and follow the line, realize there is parking every which direction and it’s all about the same distance to walk to the buses!). The buses leave by 5:30A and take you up the canyon. I promise, it will be COLD at the start. Plan accordingly!! You are going to be standing around for no less than 45 minutes (and possibly much longer) and the sun isn’t up until just as you start. There are lots of porta potties at the start. It’s self seeding. You start off running up hill for a short bit before u-turning and tearing down the canyon. There is nothing more beautiful than running down a canyon as the sun comes up. If you’ve run Run Elevated Little Cottonwood, the difference here is the grades are less steep but you run longer in the canyon. As you run down, pay attention to the tangents. Every year I see people hugging the curves. You can easily add several tenths of a mile doing this. There are lots of support stops and the canyon is mostly closed to traffic so it’s a great run down. As you exit the canyon, you continue straight to the finish line on the roads through the city. Around mile 11 there is a bit of a challenge up hill but you will be rewarded by a wonderful, fast down hill to the finish line. Lots of food and well organized gear check at the finish. Awesome medal and you have a very short walk to your car from the finish. Love, love, love this one.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    runwalksarah FIRST-TIMER '19

    Revel Big Cottonwood marked my 5th Revel race. While I hate downhill running, I love the beauty of mountain roads and the organization of the Revel Race Series. Since I … MORE

    Revel Big Cottonwood marked my 5th Revel race. While I hate downhill running, I love the beauty of mountain roads and the organization of the Revel Race Series. Since I did not yet have a marathon in Utah, Big Cottonwood called my name.

    Mandatory packet pickup was on Friday from 10 am – 8 pm at the Lifetime Activities Center in Taylorsville, approximately 10 miles from the finish. For an additional fee, participants could pick up their packet on race morning ($20) or have it mailed to them ($40).

    Free race morning parking was in various business lots immediately south of the finish line. Full Marathon buses departed from 4 am – 5 am and Half Marathon buses departed from 4:30 am – 5:30 pm. Both races started at 6:45 am.

    As I like to arrive to races early, I was on the first bus heading up the mountain. The bus ride was blissfully uneventful. We arrived at the starting line with plenty of time to use the porta potties and stretch. While the air was crisp, it wasn’t nearly as cold as I expected. Over the next hour, buses continued to drop off runners. The porta potty lines grew longer and longer.

    The race started promptly at 6:45. Like other Revel races I have run, the National Anthem was not played. “Well that was anti-climatic,” a nearby runner stated when we realized that the race had suddenly started.

    The views in the first 18 miles were absolutely spectacular. The first 18 miles were the most scenic of the Revel races I have run. I was in love. There was a minor hill just after mile 2. Due to the high elevation, I started breathing a lot harder than usual. It took me a full mile to feel completely recovered from that hill. Once I was recovered, I went back to being in constant awe of the scenery around me.

    The volunteers were excellent. The aid stations provided water, Powerade, oranges, DoTerra muscle rub and Honeystinger gels (my favorite). One aid station also offered popsicles.

    Mile 18 – 23 was when I stopped enjoying the race. Mile 18 – 23 is an out-and-back. Past participants warned me that it would feel like it was uphill both ways. While it was only gentle rolling hills, it felt much worse. It is in direct sunlight. You are breathing in the exhaust from vehicles stopped in traffic. You are no longer surrounded by nature. The joy I felt running the first 18 miles completely dissipated and the wind left my sails. Many people claimed to have lost their BQ in this stretch. While I’m not fast enough to BQ, I likely lost a PR in this stretch.

    The final 3 miles were down Fort Union Blvd in Cottonwood Heights. While I was happy to be finished with the out-and-back, I felt like I was just trudging along at this point. The beauty of the first 18 miles was quickly becoming a distant memory.

    At the finish, there was cardboard-like pizza, donuts and soda in addition to the water, heavenly towels soaked in ice water and bananas given out in the finish chute. Massages were available. The beer garden served beers from Ogden Brewery. The red ale was ok, but the blueberry hefeweizen was delicious. I heard positive things about the other beers as well.

    Like all Revel races, the race offered free photos that were available online a few days after the race.

    Overall, I really liked this race. I loved miles 1 – 18. I hated miles 18 – 23. I was over it from mile 23 – 26.2. Now that I have run a marathon in the state of Utah, I wouldn’t run this race as a full marathon again. I would absolutely consider returning to run the half marathon though.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    TeriRunner REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I know a lot of people run very good times on this course, but I am not one of them. The downhill is just too aggressive -- and the out … MORE

    I know a lot of people run very good times on this course, but I am not one of them. The downhill is just too aggressive — and the out and back, misery. I’ve done this race twice, and once the course flattens out, it really heats up. (Also no the out and back, the course description talks about running along a golf course, but does not mention the gravel pit.) There are so many net-downhill, beautiful canyon marathons in Utah — I think Utah Valley and Ogden are superior courses.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    dungoggallery FIRST-TIMER '18

    this was a tough one. flew in from australia and was really excited to be visiting utah and running this spectacular course. stayed at one of the recommended hotels (crystal … MORE

    this was a tough one. flew in from australia and was really excited to be visiting utah and running this spectacular course. stayed at one of the recommended hotels (crystal springs) and enjoyed the hotel facilities. was a little surprised by the warm salt lake city weather. for some reason i thought it would be cooler. it wasn’t.
    the expo was one day only and easy to get to and get back out of. bib pickup etc was smooth and i enjoyed the race preview and course description. i also liked my choice of a race singlet.
    3:30am the alarm sounded and we needed to get to the hotel race shuttle downstairs by 4:15am. everything at the hotel was smooth and well organised. a small breakfast pack was given to all competitors.
    (i will also add the prerace pasta dinner had been good. simple and plentiful)
    the bus ride to the summit was in the predawn darkness and the excitement level was obviously high. you could feel the temperature change as we slowly climbed to the top. i added more clothes as the temperature dropped.
    we jumped out at the summit and there were runners everywhere. normal prerace procedure for my 13th marathon. get straight into a line for a toilet. in our race handouts we had been given throw away gloves and a space blanket. i had both of these on and another two or three layers to keep warm. then we just sat and waited till about half an hour before gun time and then started final preparations.
    threw my gear in the bag check truck and started my warm up. the gradient was very steep and sunrise didn’t seem far away. it was a little chaotic with runners trying to do their routines but wasn’t too bad. (i have been in many other races where there is absolutely no room to do anything)
    the race started and wow what a descent. 1000 feet in the first three miles. when we hit the main road we turned for a short sharp half mile climb and at over 9000 feet the oxygen is thin. my lungs were working overtime and i could already feel pain in my upper quads. we loop around a small mountain village and then it is all downhill from miles 4 to 18 and i mean downhill. i just had no idea how steep it was going to be and it is difficult to describe the loading this puts on everything. my feet, my knees, my hips. everything was hurting. i found this a very very tough race.
    i am an experienced marathoner and this was marathon #4 for 2018. i had raced extremely well in houston, rome and london and really thought i was going to spank this course and hopefully pb. i didnt. this course ended up spanking me and i have had my slowest post race recovery ever.
    from mile 19 – 22 there is an out and back section that returning runners had explained as rolling hills and a little boring. as long as it wasn’t downhill i didn’t give a shit. by that point in the race i was in agony. i had been on sub 3 pace till about mile 20, but from there it was just a matter of survival. i have never had a dnf, but this race took me right to the limit.
    miles 23 to the finish line weren’t great. slow moving traffic on both sides of the runners and lots of half marathoners finishing made it a little congested and i just wanted to cross the tape.
    a lot is made of the scenery, but for me it wasn’t the highlight i thought it was going to be. yes there were certainly spectacular views but i found many sections of the course so steep all i was concentrating on was landing my feet properly and not tripping over. i had a genuine fear of ending up face down on the road.
    post race everything was pretty normal. lots of nice volunteers handing out medals, drinks and some food. i didn’t think the food was great. a donut, a slice or two of pizza and a banana. after 26.2 i absolutely needed more nutrition.
    so how do i rate this race ? no easy answer i am afraid. i have written this review several weeks after arriving back home but my initial thoughts still remain.
    it was ok. i liked it, but i didn’t love it. no crowd support (which i knew). super steep downhill (which i knew). great views that we couldn’t really appreciate and a post race atmosphere that was a bit average despite the best efforts of the volunteers.
    this event delivered what it said it would, but i would not run another revel race. downhill racing might be for some people but not for me.

    (i consumed six SIS gels during the race and had no real issues on course other than plenty of pain. post race i lost one big toe nail completely and had several chunky blisters to contend with. i was seriously sore for a week to ten days)

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    OCSCFan May 08, 2019 at 10:17pm

    Really appreciate your thoughts! Sorry it wasn't as you expected.

    Really appreciate your thoughts! Sorry it wasn't as you expected.

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    MARY FIRST-TIMER '18

    What I will remember the most from this race is the painful recovery that took 4 days of limping around. My quads and calves were wrecked and I can't see … MORE

    What I will remember the most from this race is the painful recovery that took 4 days of limping around. My quads and calves were wrecked and I can’t see myself ever running another Revel marathon again.

    Though let me make it clear that Revel puts on an amazing marathon – Utah’s Big Cottonwood had excellent organization, communication, swag, and volunteers. It’s a point-to-point marathon and they took very good care of all the runners. I chose to stay at one of their recommended hotels and they provided a shuttle to the start of the canyon and a breakfast bag consisting of a bagel, fruit, granola bar and water. Once at the starting line, it’s cold so make sure you bring throwaway layers. The porta potties are plentiful but like at most marathons, there were still lines but not too long of a wait. Afterward, I checked my bag, threw away my layers and got into my pacing group. The race starts promptly at 645.

    The first 19 miles of the race is in the canyon. It is gorgeous and I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the scenery was. However, as amazing as the view was, this is not a marathon for runners who have never trained for a downhill. I had run 3 marathons prior to Revel and I bounced back from each one pretty quickly but not this one. The downhill takes a toll on your legs. I’m not experienced so I was trying to slow myself down on several miles. For the first 20 miles, I was actually on a BQ pace but once we got to the Utah streets, the temperature rise hit me hard. It was cool in the canyon and for several miles, it was actually raining lightly. But once we got to the out-and-back on Wasatch Boulevard, it was hot and sunny. Miles 21, 22, and 23 were a disaster for me. I watched so many people stop and start to walk. There’s nobody really there to cheer you on either so you really start to struggle. After I realized that this was not going to be my BQ race, I kind of broke mentally during these few miles and walked most of it. But once I finished the out and back, I started running to finish the race. Believe it or not, I had to stop and walk most of mile 24, which was a slight downhill. I would have loved to have it at the end of a marathon but by this time, my legs were so wrecked that I couldn’t run down without so much pain that I had to limp through that mile. Thank God, most of miles 25 and 26 were flat so I was able to finish the race with the last quarter of a mile sprint to the finish line.

    Post-race, I collected my medal, collapsed on the grass and waited to get a massage. My legs were in so much pain and they stayed that way for four straight days. The day after was even worse, that I actually eyed a wheelchair at the airport. I realized as great as this marathon was, I don’t think I have the leg strength to run another Revel marathon.

    Sidenote: Utah was beautiful. I did some sightseeing in Park City about 35 minutes away. The expo was small but I loved the swag, which included pancake mix and leg cramp pills, a godsend for me! This was a top-notch event and for runners who love downhills, this would be a great one for a BQ.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey Sep 23, 2018 at 10:43pm

    Congrats on toughing this out and getting it done, Mary! Your experience sounds eerily similar to my own at REVEL Mt Charleston this year. Much of the field was on… MORE

    Congrats on toughing this out and getting it done, Mary! Your experience sounds eerily similar to my own at REVEL Mt Charleston this year. Much of the field was on BQ pace until mile 21 when the course flattened out, the day heated up, and the last 5 miles turned into a long, hot slog. And like you my quads after that race were more hammered than they've been in — ever? On the bright side, the race served its purpose since it was awesome training for all the downhills at the Comrades Marathon. So if you're still looking to BQ, maybe consider capitalizing on your hard-earned quad power to run a more gradual downhill for one of your next marathons. In any case, keep running strong and I look forward to following along on your own 50 States journey! LESS

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    maymayjay FIRST-TIMER '18

    The expo was a little small, but had quality vendors. Everything ran really smoothly and I was in and out of packet pickup in about 5 minutes with lots of … MORE

    The expo was a little small, but had quality vendors. Everything ran really smoothly and I was in and out of packet pickup in about 5 minutes with lots of time to check out everything else they had to offer. Everything from transport to the start, pre-race announcements, aid stations, and amenities at the finish line were top notch. I feel like the staff was successful in making each runner able to just enjoy the feeling of being active in a beautiful place! Also included were free pictures from along the course and the capability to create your own personalized video. A fun plus!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    RickSawThat FIRST-TIMER '18

    Train for the altitude (starts at 9,700 feet) and prepare for the "out and back" at mile 18. After thinking you are about to crush your PR you get to … MORE

    Train for the altitude (starts at 9,700 feet) and prepare for the “out and back” at mile 18. After thinking you are about to crush your PR you get to the “Out and Back” at mile 18 a long slow climb which in some crazy way seems like a long slow climb on your way back. Anything gained in time is quickly negated. But don’t let this dissuade you, train for it and know it’s coming. I would highly recommend this race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    janerunswild FIRST-TIMER '15

    Big Cottonwood is known as a fast race, amenable to PRs. REVEL runs an organized race- the top/start had plenty of porta potties, and our bags at bib pickup included … MORE

    Big Cottonwood is known as a fast race, amenable to PRs. REVEL runs an organized race- the top/start had plenty of porta potties, and our bags at bib pickup included mylar blankets and gloves, which were perfect for early mornings on the top of a mountain. Coming from sea-level, I could feel the effects of being almost 10k feet high, but the downhill nature of the course outweighed some of the effects.

    True to the course description, the first 19 miles of the race were basically a steady downhill (with an exception of a steep hill at mile 4, which was at an elevation of roughly 8500 feet high- this was tough on the lungs to say the least). I maintained a 3:25-3:30 pace for this portion, and was determined to stay well ahead of the 3:35 pacer. A 3 hour 35 minute (or less) marathon finish was the time I needed to qualify for Boston.

    After the half-way point, I desperately wished that I had trained on downhill courses more frequently to prepare for this terrain. But despite the deep fatigue my legs were feeling from all of the pounding, I felt great and ran consistent 7:30-7:45 minute miles. At mile 19, my pace slowed up as the course became hilly. Hills at 5500 feet elevation were no joke. At one point I had to stop and stretch, and also just catch my breath. It was a very interesting feeling, being out of breath at this point even in the flat sections. I knew that I was far from home.

    At mile 23, I noticed the 3:35 pacer slowly creeping up to me and at that moment felt very emotional and overwhelmed. The pacer caught up to me at 24, and asked me how I was doing. I was honest and told her that I was very disappointed to see her. She said that she was running a minute or so ahead of a 3:35, that the rest of the race was downhill, and that she knew I had it in me to push myself. I know she had no idea, but her motivational lines helped me push through. At that point, I was determined to reach my goal and pushed as.hard.as.I.possibly.could. I crossed the line @3:33.06.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    oldguard88 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Toughest marathon I have ever run! I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I way underestimated the slope and the pounding on my quads. I thought I was … MORE

    Toughest marathon I have ever run! I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I way underestimated the slope and the pounding on my quads. I thought I was in decent enough shape to handle it and in fact wanted to qualify for Boston. The truth started to reveal itself early on at 7 miles when I felt my quads begin to ache and I knew this was going to be an “ok, I’ll settle for just finishing.” By 13 miles I was considering dropping out altogether. My quads were literrally shot. I talked myself into just maintaining what little I had, slowing down as much as possible, and trying to take in the scenery. The constant pounding was torture. With a lot of walking the last 6 miles I managed to finish. Lesson learned…respect the slope! Very nice post race party. Weather is awesome. People are great! Free photos too.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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