Sorry it took me so long to respond to your questions. First, the elevation didn't bug me at all, I'm from Colorado and have lived most of my life above 5000 feet. So I don't know. There was a large group of runners from FL there last year, and they did very well. The elevation drop looks bad on paper, but it's nicly spread out over the distance. Even though I ran a PR, my legs weren't trashed at all. It's a gentle down hill and the course is just georgous.
Finding the race? I was looking for a fall marathon far enough away from my Karate nationals to allow my legs a chance to recover. So I went to the Runner's World Marathon race calender and started searching.Utah is an easy day and a half drive from where I live and the timing was perfect. Gave me about a six weeks to recover before nationals.
The race organization was also very good. The pasta dinner before the race was one of the best I've gone to. The course was well marked, and there was good crowd support, which was surprising condisdering that it was snowing the whole marathon. That was the one bad thing about Top Of Utah last year. It snowed the whole time. Considering that it had been 90 degrees the week before, the race staff did a great job. They had warming tents with heaters at the starting line and you could drop your sweats off at any of the water stations and get them back at the end. There was also hot chocolate at the finish - a real bonus.
This is the only marathon that I've done that I would be seriously interested in doing again, and I've done 7 marathong. I don't have the web site, but check out the calenders for the end of September. It's there.
Good luck and get better.
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