With a speedy course backdropped by stunning red rocks, the Snow Canyon Half Marathon returns

The Snow Canyon Half Marathon returns for its 15th year after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington County, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the city of St. George, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Shimmering red rocks stand regal as they await thousands of runners preparing to visit. Some of the athletes are masters of endurance. Others aspire to such heights. Each begins their 13.1-mile journey not entirely sure what the coming hours will bring, yet they all trot inexorably toward their goal.

In this 2014 file photo, runners smile as they participate in the Snow Canyon Half Marathon St. George, Utah, Nov. 1, 2014 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

A press release issued by the city of St. Georege announced the return of the Snow Canyon Half Marathon, one of the premier half marathons in the Western United States, after its 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Set for Nov. 6, the event, in its 15th year, beckons runners to navigate the swift and picturesque course that descends along state Route 18, meanders through Snow Canyon State Park and finishes near lava fields at Snow Canyon High School.

“This is among the most beautiful half marathons you will ever experience. The scenery will blow you away,” Recreation Manager Aaron Metler said in the news release. “Not only is this world-renowned race pleasing to the eye, but it is also mostly downhill. That leads to very good times.”

The Snow Canyon Half headlines a group of races with varying distances that can accommodate almost every age and ability. There is also a 5-kilometer run along with the Fun Run Walk N’ Roll for youngsters ages 2 to 18 — with distances of 1 mile, 1/2 mile and 200 meters — and an adaptive division for those of any age with disabilities.

File photo of the Snow Canyon Half Marathon finish line, Santa Clara, Utah, Nov. 3, 2018 | Photo courtesy of St. George Races, St. George News

Rated as one of North America’s best half marathons by Runner’s World and RaceRaves.com, and certified by USA Track & Field, the Snow Canyon Half descends approximately 1,800 feet from the start line.

In most years, 80% of the runners are from outside Washington County, creating a significant economic impact to St. George and throughout the region, according to the release.

“Outdoor recreation is a major economic driver to our city,” Metler added. “We have to cap the race at 2,500 runners and we anticipate hitting that mark this year.”

St. George Running Center, a long-time sponsor, will give prizes to the top 50 male and top 50 female finishers. Everyone who crosses the finish line will receive a medal.

Registration is open now. Runners can sign up here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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