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Jan. 24, 2024

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is necessary for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first half-marathon, and your goal is simply to finish, or you are aiming for a PR, you must have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the course.

The head coach of REVEL’s Online Coaching Program, who has run a Boston Qualifier on all the REVEL marathon courses he has run, has prepared a detailed description of the Mt Diablo Half-Marathon course.

Managing the Course Based on Segments

A critical component of your race strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit? You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

The Mt Diablo Half-Marathon course can be divided into three sections:
Miles 1-2: Severe Downhill
Miles 3-10: Settle In
Miles 11-13.1: Coasting In

You can study the course yourself on the REVEL website. You can zoom in, use the interactive elevation chart, and get a feel for what lies ahead of you on race day. If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy. The half-marathon course is summarized below based on the segments described above.

Miles 1-2: Severe Downhill
Starting at just over 3,800’ elevation, the course drops 823’ from the start to mile 2. That is an average of 412' per mile, which is a significant drop.You will need to resist the urge to chase people if they pass you. Although you want to take advantage of gravity throughout this course by running “comfortably fast” on the downhills, you need to manage the early downhill drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along. You should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Miles 3-10: Settle In
Overall, you will drop 2,567' in miles 3-10. That is an average of 321’ per mile, which is remarkable. Compared to the noticeably fast – and steep – downhill miles from the start to mile 2, this section is a much more “comfortable” downhill.

This is the section where you can really settle into your race pace. The downhills are less sharp than the opening segment, and all of them lose between 262’ and 367’ per mile. At the same time, be wary of a sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then slow down. If you are tracking your splits every mile or every few miles at marked intervals, don’t be surprised to see that you are running well ahead of your goal pace.


Miles 11-13.1: Coasting In
Remember that the opening 2-mile segment loses an average of 412’ per mile, and the second 8-mile segment loses an average of 321’ per mile. This final segment loses an average of about 85’ per mile. This is still a net downhill per mile, but it is much less than the earlier miles. As the course begins to descend more gradually, you might notice that your pace is beginning to slow.

Pay close attention to your own level of effort. Whatever level of effort you feel on the opening downhill segments is your benchmark; duplicate that level of effort on the less downhill miles, but do not go harder. Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. If you feel yourself working too hard, then simply lower your level of effort. You should be coasting in for the final miles. Keep in mind that although you still lose 261’ total in the last 3.1 miles, that amount is minor compared to the average elevation loss from the start-up to mile 10; every mile from 1-10 loses more elevation per mile than the entire final 3.1 miles combined. The slowdown you will experience in the last 5K is expected.

Summary
The REVEL Mt Diablo Half-Marathon course loses 3,651' of elevation from start to finish. That's an average of more than 278'; per mile (-5.3% grade), making this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 13.1-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your "faster than normal" pace on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 30-time REVEL marathon finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course. His streak stands at 24 successful BQ efforts in a row at REVEL marathons.

Aug. 7, 2023

A course strategy – and overall race strategy – is a must for optimal performance on race day. Whether this is your first REVEL Big Cottonwood race and your goal is simply to finish, or you are a Big Cottonwood veteran aiming for a PR or BQ, you should have a well-planned strategy for how you intend to manage the course!

The head coach of REVEL’s Online Coaching Program, Coach Paul, has run a Boston Qualifying time at all of the REVEL marathons and has excellent insight on how to tackle the REVEL courses. Coach Paul has prepared a detailed description of the 2023 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half-Marathon courses. See his course preview below!

Managing the Course Based On Segments

A critical component of your strategy is the course profile itself. Where are the sharp descents? Where are the climbs? Where does the course “flatten” a bit? You want to plan your race with course segments in mind, and with an overall strategy for varying paces throughout. Your varied paces will be dictated by the elevation losses and gains, and you want to know before the race where those variations will occur.

Generally, the Big Cottonwood Marathon course can be divided into five sections:
Miles 1-3: The Steep, Speedy Start
Mile 4: The Loop
Miles 5-18: The Canyon Drop
Miles 19-23: Around Holladay
Miles 24-26.2: Flat 5K
Similarly, the Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon course can be divided into three sections:
Miles 1-9: PR Territory
Miles 10-12: Gradual Downhill
Mile 13-F: Flat Finish
You can study the courses yourself on the REVEL website. The online interactive chart allows you to zoom in and get a feel for what lies ahead of you on race day. If possible, you should drive the course before race day to get a feel for what the segments look and feel like. Knowing what to expect, and when, is helpful when preparing your course strategy.

The marathon and half-marathon courses are summarized below based on the segments described above.

The Marathon Course

Miles 1-3: The Steep, Speedy Start

Starting at over 9,600 ft elevation, most of the first 3 miles of the course are on Guardsman Pass Road and include several turns and switchbacks. Overall, this first 3-mile segment loses more than 900 ft of elevation. That is a significant elevation loss, and you will want to manage the drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace. Resist the urge to chase people as they pass you. While you want to take advantage of gravity, you should not feel as if you are running “too hard” or “too fast.” If you do, then you should ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace.

Mile 4: The Loop

You will leave Guardsman Pass Road where it intersects with Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, turn left, and start climbing towards the Brighton Resort where you will loop around the resort area and then head back toward the point where you began the loop. Over the course of The Loop, you will climb 130 ft to the highest point of the loop. This is a segment where you do not want to get caught up with the pace of other runners if they are passing you. You still have many, many miles to go, and you want to conserve your energy for the miles ahead. If you feel yourself working too hard, then simply lower your level of effort. Do not work extra hard in this mile trying to maintain a target pace. Climbing 130 ft at a high altitude is hard enough, so just keep moving to get past this mile.

Miles 5-18: The Canyon Drop

From mile 4 to mile 18, just before you exit Big Cottonwood Canyon, you will experience the fastest part of the marathon course, with an elevation loss of nearly 3,800 ft. There are a few small, short climbs here and there in this segment, but they are minor in comparison to the overall elevation loss. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself running well ahead of your goal pace throughout this section. The average elevation loss is 270 ft per mile. This segment is where the downhill profile of the marathon course will benefit you significantly. At the same time, be wary of the sensation of “running too fast.” If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then lower your level of effort. But be mindful that it is expected for you to be ahead of your goal pace during this long downhill segment of the race.

Miles 19-23: Around Holladay

Just before mile 18, you will leave Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and make a right turn into the parking lot for the Big Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride. The course runs along the back side of the parking lot and then enters the Big Cottonwood Creek Trail. For the next 5 miles, the course winds through trails, bike paths, and roads as you run north and west around Holladay. Much of the course is shaded in the segment. This 5-mile segment loses 556 ft of elevation. Although this is a -2.1% grade (averaging -111 ft per mile), it will feel slower compared to the preceding 14-mile segment where the average net downhill per mile was 270 ft. Don’t panic or become discouraged if you find yourself slowing down, or if it suddenly feels harder to maintain your pace. After the significant drop of the early miles, along with the typical late-stage fatigue that is common in marathons, your legs might feel heavy and you might feel as if you are working very hard to keep going. But the key will be to keep going.

Miles 24-26.2: Flat 5K

Past mile 23, the course flattens noticeably and has a gradual, 2-mile climb at miles 24-25. Mile 24 gains 24 ft, and mile 25 gains 20 ft. Also, the tree cover is mostly gone in these closing miles. Expect to slow down in the segment. Just keep your legs moving and accept that your pace will slow markedly. Mile 26 loses 40 ft, which is not much but will make it easier to slowly get back to your goal pace, or close to it. The final .2 loses 8 ft, which is essentially flat. All totaled, the course has a net downhill of only 4 ft from mile 23 to the finish, which is why this is called “Flat 5k” (although at 3.2 miles it technically is slightly longer than 5K). The good news is that you will start to encounter terrific crowds who will cheer you toward the finish line of the fast and beautiful Big Cottonwood Marathon!

Summary of the Marathon Course

The REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon course loses almost a mile of elevation from start to finish, dropping a total of 5,231 ft. Over the 26.2-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments. Although it is generally true that you never want to "go out too fast" in the opening miles of a marathon, remember that gravity is your friend, and you want to take advantage of the benefits of downhill running.

The Half-Marathon Course

Miles 1-9: PR Territory

Starting at almost 7,300 ft elevation, the half-marathon course drops 2,531 ft from the start to mile 9. That is an average of 281 ft; per mile (-5.3% grade), which is a significant drop. You will want to manage the early downhill drops by easing into your pace, settling in for the long haul, and letting gravity pull you along at a comfortably fast pace. If you are keeping tabs on your splits, don’t be surprised to see that you are running well ahead of your goal pace throughout this section. At the same time, be wary of the sensation of “running too fast”. If you feel out of control, or if you feel yourself working “too hard” while running downhill, then ease back a bit and aim for a “comfortably hard” pace. But be mindful that it is expected for you to be well ahead of your goal pace during this long, downhill segment of the race. Shortly after mile 8, you will leave Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and make a right turn into the parking lot for the Big Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride. The course runs along the back side of the parking lot and then enters the Big Cottonwood Creek Trail. For the next several miles, the course winds through trails, bike paths, and roads as you run north and west through neighborhoods. Much of the course is shaded in this segment.

Miles 10-12: Gradual Downhill

Miles 10, 11, and 12 together lose 344 ft; of elevation. Although this is a -2.2% grade (averaging -115 ft per mile), it will feel slower compared to the preceding 9-mile segment where the average downhill per mile was -281 ft. You can expect a short slowdown here due to the lesser elevation loss. You will need to “switch gears” to a slower pace based on even effort and should be prepared to run much slower than the first 9 miles of the race. Likewise, you really do not want to concern yourself with runners passing you if that happens. It is easy in a race to get caught up with the pace of other runners. You still have a few miles to go, and you want to conserve your energy for the closing downhill miles ahead. Pay attention to your breathing and heart rate. If you feel yourself working too hard here, then simply slow down.

Mile 13-F: Flat Finish

The final 1.1 miles of the course loses 41 ft of elevation, making it feel totally flat compared to the preceding 12 miles. However, there are no significant climbs, so you might feel comfortable locking in right at goal pace, if not slightly faster, for the finish. In this final stretch, the crowds of spectators will grow larger as you make your way toward the finish line of the fast and beautiful Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon!

Summary of the Half-Marathon Course

The REVEL Big Cottonwood Half-Marathon course loses 2,916 ft; of elevation from start to finish. That's an average of more than 220 ft; per mile, making this one of the fastest half-marathon courses you will ever run. Over the 13.1-mile course, you likely will surprise yourself with your speed on the downhill segments.

Paul Carmona is the Online REVEL Coach who has designed training plans specifically for REVEL downhill courses. He is a 29-time REVEL marathon finisher and has run multiple Boston Qualifiers on every REVEL course. His streak stands at 24 successful BQ efforts in a row at REVEL marathons.

Aug. 1, 2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 ONE MONTH TO REVEL BIG COTTONWOOD

We are thrilled to officially reveal the gorgeous medals for REVEL Big Cottonwood 2023 presented by Albion! This unique medal is sure to stand out in your collection with the intricate depiction of the famous "S" curve on the course, the majestic shield shape, and that epic black metal. We can't wait to put this around your neck in just over one month on September 9, 2023!

 REVEL Big Cottonwood Price Increase

This is your FINAL CHANCE to save on REVEL Big Cottonwood presented by Albion! Prices will increase one final time on August 9, 2023. Don't miss your chance to get the best price on registration and join us at REVEL Big Cottonwood's best year yet on September 9, 2023!

 

 REVEL BIG BEAR PRICE INCREASE

Prices for REVEL Big Bear will increase on August 16, 2023! REVEL Big Bear will be the final REVEL event of 2023 on November 18, 2023. This course is the fastest marathon and half marathon in all of California! Taking runners through the breathtaking San Bernadino National Forest into the foothills of Redlands, California, this fast and stunning race is one you can't miss! Register today to save!

 

 REVEL WHITE MOUNTAINS SPECIAL EDITION

By now we are sure that you have heard all about REVEL White Mountains, but have you registered yet? Remember, this race will be a special edition event! This means that it will only happen ONCE. Nobody likes to have FOMO and trust us this is one event you can't miss! Register for this gorgeous race which is sure to be New England's fastest marathon and half today! We can't wait to see you all on May 5, 2024 in Conway, New Hampshire

 BECOME A TRIPLE REVELER

Did you participate in one or both of REVEL's spring events? Then there is still time to become a Triple REVELer! Be sure to register for REVEL Big Bear and/or REVEL Big Cottonwood presented by Albion so that you can go home with the highly coveted and beautiful Triple REVELer Medal! Hurry, there is just over one month until REVEL Big Cottonwood presented by Albion, so register today!

 SHOKZ

Be open to pushing your limits with open-ear headphones. Shokz open-ear bone conduction headphones bring you:

✅ Greater awareness
✅ Connection to your audio and the world around you
✅ Open-ear comfort, nothing in and over your ear
✅ All-day power for any challenge 

 DÖTERRA

dōTERRA is excited to partner with REVEL again in 2023 and provide the fan-favorite Deep Blue(R) stations.  From fueling your body with doTERRA protein to providing a relaxing aroma with our Lavender essential oil, we want to be with you every step of the way. Want to learn more? Check out our dōTERRA booth at the REVEL Big Cottonwood expo and after the race.

 

 

June 7, 2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 REVEL ROCKIES 2024 REGISTRATION OPEN

Thank you to everyone who joined us at REVEL Rockies 2023. The REVEL Race Series team is thrilled to have had the largest number of finishers at the 2023 event in REVEL Rockies history!

We are excited to announce that registration for the 2024 REVEL Rockies Marathon & Half is NOW OPEN! The 2024 event will commence on June 1, 2024.

Join us next June in beautiful Denver, CO for REVEL Rockies 2024 and save $20 on your registration with code EARLY

 REVEL BIG BEAR PRICE INCREASE COMING SOON

Prices for REVEL Big Bear will increase on June 15, 2023. REVEL Big Bear will be held in Southern California on November 18, 2023. With a smooth downhill slope, this incredible course carries runners through the spectacular scenery of the San Bernadino National Forest.

Don't miss your chance to register for this gorgeous Southern California race at an excellent price! 

 

 SAVE BIG ON REVEL WHITE MOUNTAINS

The REVEL Race Series is thrilled to be coming to the East Coast for the first time ever in 2024 with REVEL White Mountains Marathon & Half! Right now you can save big and get $20 OFF on your registration with code EARLY

REVEL White Mountains will commence on May 5, 2024, in Conway, New Hampshire. This race will be a Special Edition event, meaning it will only happen ONCE! Whether you are looking to score a BQ or PR, run a REVEL Race at a lower elevation, or check New Hampshire off of your 50 states list, REVEL White Mountains is sure to be an incredible event! 

 MT CHARLESTON VOTED BEST MARATHON IN NEVADA

REVEL Mt Charleston was just voted Best Marathon in Nevada by RaceRaves! Thank you to everybody who voted for REVEL Mt Charleston and all of the REVEL Races! 

Are you ready to see what REVEL Mt Charleston is all about? Register today and join us on April 6, 2024, in Las Vegas, NV! As a thank you to all of you for voting, for a limited time you can use code NEVADASBEST for $15 OFF of your registration for REVEL Mt Charleston! Hurry, this code will expire on June 8, 2023.

 BECOME A TRIPLE REVELER

Remember that if you run three or more REVEL Races within a calendar year, you will become a Triple REVELer! If you participated in one or both of REVEL's spring events, be sure to register for REVEL Big Bear and/or REVEL Big Cottonwood presented by Albion so that you can go home with the highly coveted and beautiful Triple REVELer Medal! 

 GLOBAL RUNNING DAY

The REVEL Race Series would like to wish you a happy Global Running Day! Celebrate with us by sharing a post or story of your favorite REVEL Race memory to your Instagram or Facebook. Be sure to tag us @runrevel and use the #runrevel for a chance to be featured! 

To celebrate Global Running Day, TODAY ONLY, June 7, 2023, you can use code GLOBAL and save $10 off on your registration for ANY REVEL Race

 SHOKZ

Be Open to pushing your limits with open-ear headphones. Shokz Open-ear bone conduction headphones bring you:

✅ Greater awareness
✅ Connection to your audio and the world around you
✅ Open-ear comfort, nothing in and over your ear
✅ All-day power for any challenge 

 RAPID REBOOT

Rapid Reboot is offering 10% OFF on all recovery products for all Revel Rockies participants! Discount is applied at checkout. All pneumatic compression packages are eligible for purchase with HSA/FSA. Follow this link to claim your 10% off.

 

 

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May 10, 2023

 

Volunteer Coaches Needed

If you are interested in volunteering as a coach to help train the youth, please Apply. Coaches who complete the program receive a free entry to the REVEL Big Cottonwood Half Marathon. Duties include meeting twice per week with their team to follow the prescribed training program. No previous coaching experience is required; only a passion for running and a desire to help youth develop a love for running.

 

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