Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
5
(4 Ratings)  (4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.3
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
3.5
The Star Valley Half Marathon will be an event you won’t want to miss! Proceeds from the race go to benefit local families in need. With the amazing location and cool temperatures, Star Valley is the best place for a July run. This beautiful course begins in the Bridger National … MORE
Local Historical Weather (Jul 13):
  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
 
H (°F)  81  86  84  73  77
L (°F)  41  47  47  38  44
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Recent reviews

    cperdue FIRST-TIMER '22

    So they throw you on a bus and drive you to the start line. You then run 3km on a pretty decent downhill on a gravel road. It was a … MORE

    So they throw you on a bus and drive you to the start line. You then run 3km on a pretty decent downhill on a gravel road. It was a bit rough to go that steep downhill after standing out in the cold but what a great way to start!

    The course continues downhill all the way back to Thayne, Wyoming . It was a small race in a small down in the middle of nowhere but there were still around 300 people in the race.

    I would definitely recommend this Wyoming races for anyone trying to run in all 50 states!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    thestudadam FIRST-TIMER '22

    Before I jump into the nuts and bolts of the review I need to talk about why this race exists and who puts the race on. Jeremy Kunz was a … MORE

    Before I jump into the nuts and bolts of the review I need to talk about why this race exists and who puts the race on. Jeremy Kunz was a pillar of the local star valley running community. In 2009 while handing out water on the side of a relay race he was a part of in Utah he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. He left behind a wife and 3 children under the age of 5. In 2011 his family decided to hold a half marathon race in his hometown on the closest Saturday to his birthday each year (the 2nd Saturday in July). During the pre race ceremony they talked about how much he would have loved that a running party was being held in his hometown. This race is entirely put on by his family and friends. His brother gave me my bib #. A friend of his gave us my SWAG bag. His now 16 year old daughter was the master of ceremonies at the start of the race and gave a short speech about why the race is run. The whole town turns out to cheer people or volunteer in some way. The night before at dinner our waitress thanked me for coming and for running. When I wore my race shirt after the race around town people around town were also wearing race shirts and thanked me for participating. Normally when you finish a race the volunteers say congratulations, in this race they all said thank you. All of the proceeds from the race goes to help local families in need.

    Another less serious note about this race that I found interesting was the age of the participants. It was an extremely young race, over 50 of the 250 finishers were teenagers. Jeremy Kunz was involved with coaching the local cross country team and pretty much the entire local teams show up and runs along with former members returning from college on their summer break. By coincidence I rode the bus to the start and chatted with the defending champion, who won it last year at 18 and defended his title this year by running a stunning 1:09 half marathon. On a related note he will participating in the U20 world championships later this year.

    EXPO/PACKET PICK UP:
    I did go to the early packet pick up for this race (there is no expo to speak of), they offered packet pick up from 6-8pm at the elementry school in town that also serves as the finish line for the race. We drove into town just a little before packet pick up and first ate dinner at the only Italian restraunt within like 30 miles. Tootsies was a good meal and allowed me to say hi to lots of other out of town runners who were clearly carb loading before the race. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. Parking was plentiful and the school was easy to find. Bib pick up was extremely smooth, you don’t have an assigned # until you pick up your bib and shirt, then they just search your name on their list, hand you a bib from their pile and assign it to you electronically on the spot, very smooth and fast. They did also offer bib pick up between 5:15 and 5:45 the morning of the race at the school. The race starts at 7am, and the last bus leaves at 5:45.

    Parking/Access: Parking at the school was not allowed on the day of the race because the race finishes in the parking lot. There was plenty of parking at the adjacent church and park both of which were listed on the packet pick up information sheet.

    T-Shirts/SWAG: The medal for this race was decent, it is well made and sturdy and has the race logo on it which seems to be used by a lot of the businesses in the valley. It looks like but I wish it had something a little more unique to Wyoming. The ribbon for the medal however gets an A+ this year.
    It is one of the best looking that I have recieved. While the race is in the tiny town of Thayne it is one of several small cities in the Star Valley, almost all of the businesses and other things in the area have Star Valley in their name despite being in different towns. It isn’t the prettiest one on my medal rack but for a small race that is very inexpensive to enter they did a good job (see attached photo). The shirt this year was not a tech shirt (although I saw some people wearing some tech shirts from past years), it was a T-shirt (See attached). I generally prefer a tech shirt that I wear during the race but in the end I will probably get more use out of a T-shirt in the long run.

    Aid Stations: The aid stations were well stocked and spaced at 3, 6, 8.5 and 11 miles they all had Gatorade and water. They did not hand out any energy gels so bring your own but they did have Bananas at the last two aid stations. I didn’t hear anything about supplies running out at any time during the race. I was near the front so I was never really in a group, and most stations only had 3-5 people which was sufficient. The volunteers were really clear about who had water or Gatorade, and were happy cheerleaders for each runner who came through most of them saying thank you for running. If I could make one critique it would be to have a few more garbage cans 100 yards after the stations, as well as adding a station or two. This course is set up for a PR but I took it easy due to getting over an illness and a worry that the quickly elevating temperatures (highs in the 90s) and high elevation (8000->7000ft) would cause me to have hydration issues if I went too hard with so few stations.

    Course Scenery/Elevation Difficulty: The course starts at a campground up along the side of the Star Valley in the woods. The course is a pure downhill. The first 2 miles extremely so with some small rises. The first two miles are however on a dirt road which was not perfectly smooth and had some holes and ruts. A brave runner could make amazing time during the first two miles with minimal energy exertion but they would however risk rolling an ankle. I went fast but responsible, if I was more daring I could have saved a minute or two on my time. After about 2 miles you hit the paved roads and exit the trees and spend the next 11 miles slowly making long straights then 90 degree turns around Wyoming ranches. You could easily find yourself alone but certainly not bored because the views of the area were amazing. You are definitely exposed completely to the sun over the last 11 miles so be prepared with sunscreen depending on your pace. The race is run on an open course so the roads are not closed but traffic was absolutely minimal and caused zero issues, the few ranchers who lived in the area were driving slow and waving and yelling encouragement as they drove by. The open course also allowed my wife to park and then leapfrog me every other mile on the course to take pictures and videos, this could also be used to provide race aid to a friend/partner if desired. The race drops nearly 1000 ft over the course, over half of it during the first 3 miles so the last 10 miles feel pretty flat. The race is also at a very high elevation 7-8000 ft so you might want to make sure you handle elevation ok before you go out as hard as you can. Another thing that must be mentioned about the course was the mile markers, every marker along the road had a picture of Jeremy with friends, or mostly his family. There were pictures with his wife or his at the time very young children. It was hard to keep focused 100% on your running when each mile you saw a dad holding his 3 year old daughter or another similar photo. This again helped remind you each mile why you were running.

    Weather: 50 degrees at the start up on the mountain 70-80 degrees by the finish only 1.5 hours later. For finishers at the 3-3.5 hr mark temperatures were well into the mid 80s by late morning. Honestly pretty decent running weather with so little humidity when I finished but even while I milled around the finish area I could feel the temperature rising.

    Race Management: This Race was very well run overall for such a small race. I found their Facebook page to be the best source of info, their website has some info but isn’t extensive. Also FYI registration doesn’t open until like February on the race year. If you have any questions I found that sending the race a Facebook message was by far the best way to get information.
    They always responded to me quickly. Other things to compliment this race on despite only 250ish finishers (their biggest race to date), they had age group awards for every 5 year age group (carved wooden stars for first place and ribbons for 2nd and 3rd). I placed 2nd in my age group but didn’t realize they had awards so I left and missed my first chance to get to stand on a podium and have my picture taken. They had plenty of busses (Four) to take people to the start which meant no lines. They had port-o-potties at the finish to use before the bus and at the start, the lines seemed a bit long but moved quickly so I think they had the numbers correct (also it was in the woods so many male runners made use of the environment to shorten the lines). They had pace setters from 1:40/1:50/2:00 then every 15 minutes to the 2:45 hour time from a volunteer pace group that drove up from Utah. The time limit for the race is 3.5 hours but they offered an early start option for people who may have needed a little more time. They also hold a kids dash at the finish early in the day. The finish had plenty of the usual finish line fare (bagels, water, electrolytes, oranges). They also have free race Photos which they post on Facebook. Most years they hold a pasta dinner the night before the race, it hasn’t happened yet post Covid but they told me that plan to start it again in 2023.

    Overall I would say this race is a fantastic way to check Wyoming off your 50 state list. It is a well run race put on by an amazing family and volunteers. Wyoming doesn’t have very many large races and almost none of them are really easy to access by any direct flight. We picked this race due to its summer timing and proximity to Grand Teton National Park which we visited for several days after the race and then on to Yellowstone. I would recommend visiting those parks before or after the race. Independent of why this race was created and held I would still give this race 5 stars but knowing why they run made it an emotional as well as athletic experience for me that I won’t forget.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

    3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Jul 21, 2022 at 8:14pm

    Brilliant writeup Adam, and if I were looking for a Wyoming half this would be right up my alley... small race in a beautiful place with a compelling cause. So… MORE

    Brilliant writeup Adam, and if I were looking for a Wyoming half this would be right up my alley... small race in a beautiful place with a compelling cause. So glad you took the time to post this and to introduce the race to prospective runners who may not be aware of its origins. And I'm guessing your review will inspire a lot of folks to take a closer look at Star Valley. I'm always taken aback when locals thank me for running in their race, since I feel like it's them who's doing me the favor. And despite the heat, holes and elevation, you still managed a very respectable finish time. Congrats on a successful two weeks of hot-weather racing, and glad you were able to visit both parks after... you've seen some of the best the U.S. has to offer the past two summers! LESS

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    jwarnes91 REPEAT RUNNER '21

    The race is well-organized with a small-town feel. I've run it twice and am running it again this year. I always have fun and have met great people while participating. … MORE

    The race is well-organized with a small-town feel. I’ve run it twice and am running it again this year. I always have fun and have met great people while participating. The aid stations have plenty to offer, and there are several community members along the course cheering people on! (My favorite ones are the families sitting out on their front lawns with signs!) This race is organized in memory of a community member killed during a Ragnar race, so the mile markers have his picture on them, which always makes me emotional while also giving me an extra boost during the last few miles. It’s definitely a favorite race of mine and one I’ll continue to do for years to come!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    DonnaS FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race began in a small park going downhill for the first 2 miles. The rest of the course was past farms and green pastures. There were plenty of aid … MORE

    This race began in a small park going downhill for the first 2 miles. The rest of the course was past farms and green pastures. There were plenty of aid stations and a surprising number of people cheering runners on. The medal was ok as was the race shirt. We also got a draw string bag, water bottle, Hammer nutrition samples, and a sticker. Post-race food was rolls, mini muffins, bananas, orange slices, watermelon, water, and chocolate milk. This is a fast course and I got a PR. Wyoming was my 46th state for a half marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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